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Recently, adjustable-speed ac drive systems have been employed successfully for blowers, pumps, table rollers, etc., in steel plants instead of the more conventional dc drives. In processing lines many drives require speed and tension control. To confirm the suitability of an ac drive for tension control, the tension reel of an existing pilot processing line has been equipped with an adjustable-speed ac drive. An ac drive system for tension reel control, its characteristics, and performance are described and compared with a dc tension control.