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Modular motor controller "more efficient than VSD"

01 February, 2007

Modular motor controller `more efficient than VSD`

Tests carried out for the US Department of Energy on a novel motor controller have shown that it is 2-10% more efficient than a popular variable speed drive. The tests, conducted by a test and research organisation called Advanced Energy, compared the performance of Raser Technologies` prototype FlexMod motor controller with an ABB VSD.

The modular Raser controller (above) uses proprietary adaptive tuning techniques to optimise motor performance based on the motor`s characteristics. Its modular design allows different power sections to be chosen to suit the motor. It could potentially be produced at a lower price than a comparable VSD.

Advanced Energy compared the performance of the controller and the VSD when driving 5hp (3.7kW) and 20hp (14.9kW) AC induction motors to produce efficiency maps at speeds from 300-1,800 rpm, and 25-125% of the rated torque. The photo below shows the 20hp motor test rig.

The tests showed that the Raser controller produced a 2-10% increase in system efficiency at different load points, and was particularly effective at lower speeds.

Raser was still optimising its tuning algorithms at the time of the tests, so the calculations were performed offline and then input to the controller. Advanced Energy recommends that future tests should be based on controllers with the algorithms activated.

Copies of the Advanced Energy report can be downloaded from Raser`s Web site

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