If you work in technology and work in regions with different electrical systems, you most likely use a frequency converter. However, where did this device come from, and how has it adapted to modern needs and sensibilities? We’ve compiled a brief history of the frequency converter from its humble beginnings to how we utilize it today.

Earliest Patents

While certain patents for what could be seen as a frequency converter date back to the 1940s, many consider the first actual application of the technology to be in 1968. A Danish company called Danfoss launched the VLT5 as one of the earliest proper frequency converters. Danfoss continues to operate in Denmark as of 2022 and provides high-quality energy and water products.

Japanese Developments

Part of the history of frequency converters comes from different countries operating under different electrical hertz. While some countries have changed from 50 Hz to 60 Hz throughout history or vice versa, one of the most unique countries regarding these frequencies is Japan, which utilizes 60hz in the west and 50hz in the east. The primary reason for this difference is due to the eastern and western regions purchasing different generators in the 1800s.

Japan has four major frequency converter stations between these two regions, the oldest being the Sakuma Dam from 1957. There’s also the Shin-Shinano Frequency Converter from 1977, the Minami-Fukumitsu Frequency Converter from 1999, and the most recent of the four is the Higashi-Shimizu Frequency Converter Station from 2003.

Modern Uses

In the modern era, industrial frequency converters serve many essential uses in commercial and industrial fields. One of the most noteworthy applications is converting frequencies for aerospace travel, which allows for 400 Hz conversion, enabling planes to fly without suffering mechanical issues. Between solid-state and rotary converters, the technology continues to advance and provide untapped potential utilizing different patterns of electrical frequencies.