From Artificial Lung Ventilation to Drones: SUSU Improves Electric Motor Drives

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Nowadays it’s impossible to imagine modern land, air, and space transport without electric motor drives. The researchers of the Aircrafts and Automatic Units Department of South Ural State University under the guidance of Professor Sergey Voronin, Doctor of Engineering, are developing new algorithms of vector control for electric motor drives, creating small devices for heart-lung machine, and powerful electrical machines for medicine, transport devices, and industry.

Engines with Permanent Magnetic Excitation

As with any technology, there are various technical requirements for electric drives. The main requirements are as follows: ensuring maximum efficiency, minimal dimensions, and the largest possible range of speeds and starting moments.

Sergey Voronin: “If we can create a large starting moment, then it is difficult to ensure great speed. Thanks to vector control algorithms, we can ensure the speed of a valve motor with excitation from permanent magnets to be higher than the speed of the ideal no-load run, which seemed impossible just 10-15 years ago.”

New Method of Vector Control

Vector control is a regulation by angle and amplitude of two vectors – the field of the stator and the rotor. Since the emergence of microprocessor controllers, the possibilities for implementing these algorithms became limitless. The main idea of vector control is to control not just the supply voltage, but the phase as well. In other words, the size and angle of the spatial vector are controlled.

“Our research team has suggested a new simpler method of phase control. Unlike the complex, traditional method, we propose the regulation of the angle directly between voltages in vertical synchronous motor (VSM), connected to the current of the stator and the rotor field. By measuring this angle, we can calculate all the necessary dependencies. As a result, we obtain approximate, simple relations which are easy to regulate using a microprocessor. This makes it possible to create an exact model, which can be tested on electric drive prototypes,” Sergey Voronin says.

Ideas for Manufacturing and High-tech Medicine

The developments of South Ural State University researchers have already found application in industry. For example, a fundamentally new structure of a starter-generator was created for the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. Another example is an engine which is built into aorta of a heart and lung machine. In partnership with Ural Electromechanical Plant we are developing an engine for the artificial lung ventilation. Researchers use 3D-printing to fulfill their projects and create electrical winding from light alloy, for example, for drones.

Data obtained by the South Ural researchers was presented at the International Conference on Industrial Engineering, Applications and Manufacturing, ICIEAM 2017 – Proceedings, and, as a result, an article was published in the conference papers included into Scopus citation database.