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IGBT Power Amplifiers for Active Magnetic Bearings of High Speed Milling Spindles

Jing Zhang Nicolas Karrer

Laboratory of Electrical Engineering Design The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Gloriastrasse 35 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract Active magnetic bearings (AMBs) used in high speed milling spindles require high dynamic performance and high reliability. In this paper, a new power amplifier using insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) is described. A threelevel pulsewidth modulation (PWM) scheme and a dead-beat current controller are used to reduce the switching frequency and current harmonics. The experimental results with the newly developed IGBT amplifier show that the total power losses are obviously reduced without any negative influence on the dynamics of the control system.

Fig. 1 Basic c&struction of an AMB INTRODUCTION The high-speed cutting technology can considerably improve the efficiency of cutting processes by increasing the cutting speed. This technology has brought about new requirements regarding machine tools and their driving mechanism. For example, milling operations require high performance milling spindles with extremely high rotational speed and great stiffness. To meet these requirements, high speed milling spindles with active magnetic bearings (AMBs) can be used [ 11. AMBs generate magnetic forces which lift the shaft of a motor and suspend it without any contact. The rotor is therefore able to run at a high speed. The forces are related to the electric current in the coils. In a conventional Ah4B as shown in Fig. 1, there are two counteracting electromagnets. In order to get a good linear behavior of force control, a preload is developed through a bias current. Equation (1) gives the linear model of the magnetic force produced in an AMB. In this model, the resulting force on the shaft is proportional to the control current I applied to both magnets. The dynamic performance and the stiffness of an AMB depend mainly on the maximum force slew rate or the maximum current slope that is limited by the maximum voltage of the amplifier and the inductance of the magnet coil. In the transient state, the amplifier must provide an output 4 ] . voltage high enough to obtain the desired force slew rate [ In the steady state case, however, the output voltage of the amplifier is required only to overcome the voltage drop across the copper resistance of the coil and to maintain the desired current. In high-speed milling spindle applications, in order to obtain a large stiffness, the required voltage in the amplifier is much higher than the voltage drop across the resistance of the magnet coil. The power amplifiers used for AMB applications may be classified into linear, switching and hybrid amplifiers. The power losses of a linear power amplifier in steady state are proportional to the supply voltage and are almost equal to the maximum output power. Therefore, they are not suitable for AMB applications used in a high-speed milling spindle. A hybrid amplifier is the combination of a switching power amplifier and a linear amplifier [2][3][7], which contains the advantages of both linear and switching amplifiers. The construction, however, is fairly complicated and the advantage of the linear amplifier will abate when the frequency of force disturbances is high. In the design regarded here, only switching amplifiers are considered. The requirements for such an amplifier are the following: Wide power bandwidth in order to keep the high force slew rate and good dynamic performance. Low current harmonics for low power losses. Proper switching frequency, so that the normal IGBT elements may be used. Low cost and high reliability, which is always important for the AMB system, since up to ten power amplifiers are needed for a typical application. In a normal switching amplifier for AMBs, it is a contradiction to reach high current slope and low current
596

where ki and k, are the parameters of an AMB. A magnet coil in an AMB is an inductive load supplied by a power amplifier. The voltage equation is

where U is the voltage, I the current, L the inductance and R the resistance of the magnet coil and U, is the induced voltage, which is proportional to the displacement velocity of the supported shaft and is generally very small compared to the voltage drop across the inductance and hence, neglectible.
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harmonics at a certain switching frequency. To limit the current harmonics to an acceptable extent, the switching frequency must be increased. For this reason, high-speed power switches have to be used. In the application discussed in this work, conventional amplifiers based on high-speed bipolar transistors and power loss free snubbers operate at a frequency up to 1OOkHz. In this paper, a newly developed switching amplifier is introduced, in which a three-level PWM-scheme is used so that the switching frequency and current harmonics can be reduced. In order to improve the reliability and reduce the cost of the whole system, IGBT devices are used in the newly developed switching amplifier. The introduction of IGBTs in the early 1980s has brought a visible change in the trend of power electronics. The IGBT is a voltage-controlled power device like a MOSFET, but its power rating is comparable to that of a bipolar power transistor. The advantages are high switching speed, low power drive, immunity against the second breakdown failure. IGBT can be easily protected against short-circuit failure and integrated gate drive circuits are availible. These characteristics make IGBTs very suitable for the AMB application. OPERATION OF A SWITCHING AMPLIFIER The power circuit of the switching amplifier is shown in Fig. 2, which consists of two IGBT switches and two diodes arranged to form an H-bridge with the bearing coil. The transistors are the only switches that may be actively controlled. There are four switching modes as shown in Fig. 2. In Fig. 2(a), the two transistors are closed and form one pair of switches that allow the current to be increased. In Fig. 2(b) and (c), only one transistor (S1 or S2) is closed, forming a freewheel path with one Diode (D2 or Dl). In this case, the current is constant if the resistance of the magnet coil is neglected. In Fig. 2(d), the diodes become conducting when the coil voltage is greater than the DC-link voltage. In this case, the energy flows from the magnet coil back to the DC-supply and the current decreases. The switching mode of the amplifier is given by a pulsewidth modulator inside the current control loop of an AMB.

PULSEWIDTH MODULATION In a conventional switching amplifier used in AMBs, the two switching modes in Fig. 2(a) and (d) are employed to control the current in the magnet coil. In these amplifiers, one of two-level PWM-schemes is adopted [ 5 ] , for instance the delta modulation scheme. In such a modulation scheme, the two transistors are closed or opened simultaneously. The voltage across the magnet coil in each switching period is kud as in Fig. 3 (a). In this case, large current harmonics are produced. If the voltage drop across the resistance is neglected, the amplitude of the current ripple in a steady state is given by

Ai =-

T~ 2L

(3)

where u d is DC-link voltage, T, is the switching period. In order to limit the amplitude of the current ripple to an acceptable extent, the switching frequency has to be increased. In the proposed switching amplifier, the four switching modes of the power circuit in Fig. (2) are employed to modulate the current in the magnet coil. To control the switching state of the two transistors, a three-level PWMscheme is used. The switching control signals, the output voltage and the current are shown in Fig. 3(b). With a threelevel PWM-scheme, the voltage across the magnet coil will be positive, negative DC-link voltage or zero according to the requested value in each period. There is also no limitation of a short pulse. The amplitude of the current ripple depends on the time constant of the magnet coil and the switching frequency. The amplitude of the current ripple is given in the steady state by,

(4)

where I is the coil current at the operating point, Uo, is the voltage drop across one of the power elements and z=UR.

D2

udf2Tl
(4
~

D l j l

i.

ud+$

;e
(c) Z

D2

(4 (b) Fig. 2 Power circuit of an amplifier used in an AMB and the equivalent circuits for various switching modes

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U"

/ I

> t

10
1

Ai
0
-ud

( 4

- t

A1

A2

Fig. 4 Relations between the amplitude of current ripple and the switching frequency by a two-level PWM "----" and by a three-level PWM Ud=310 V, L ~ 2 mH, 0 R =1 SZ, E=2 V, 1=4 A
'I-"

(b)
Fig.3 PWM-schemes (a) two-level PWM-scheme (b) three-level PWM-scheme Because the amplitude of the current ripple is independent of the DC-link voltage, the stiffness of an AMB can be raised by the increasing of the DC-link voltage without increase in current harmonics. The simulation results of the relations between the amplitude of current ripple and the switching frequency with the three-level PWM-scheme and two-level PWM-scheme are given in Fig. 4. Another advantage is that the switching frequency of an IGBT element is half the output pulse frequency. This means, the switching frequency of the power elements is halved for a required dynamic performance of an AMB compared with the conventional power amplifier using two-level PWM schemes. CURRENT CONTROLLER The power amplifier controls the current in the coil according to the value requested by the position controller. For the application of a high-speed milling spindle, it is required that the current controller possesses good dynamics and static performances. The switching power amplifier with the three-level PWMscheme can be considered as a time-discrete plant. The current controller can be designed as a dead-beat controller. The current control loop is shown in Fig. S. With this linear controller, no extra harmonic current is generated in contrast, for example, to the behaviour of a traditional bang-bang current controller [SI.

Fig. 5 Current control loop of the switching amplifier It was assumed that the resistance in the magnet coil and the induced voltage Ui , due to motion, in ( 2 ) are negligible and the displacement of the supported shaft is zero. Provided that the current error AI* is compensated within one period, the following equations is obtained.

Then

Here, Kp and K, are the gain constants of the current controller and amplifier. T is the sampling period of the discrete system, which is equal to half the switching period T, in the three-level PWM scheme. Lo is the inductance of the magnet coil when the shaft is at its equilibrium position (x=O). Such a gain of the current controller in (6) is referred to as an optimal gain: Kp,opt Taking into account the shaft movement, the coil inductance varies with the displacement of the shaft. The change of the inductance has a negative influence on the stability and the dynamic performance of the current control. Equation (7) is the transfer function of the control loop with varying inductance.
(7)

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The pole of the system is

If L10.5L0, the pole will be outside of the unit circle and the system will be instable. In practice, the range of the displacement is limited by the catching bearings and the inductance varies from 0.7 Lo to 1.4 Lo if there is no saturation effect. Within this range, the current controller is stable. The influence of the variable inductance on the dynamic behavior of the current controller with a constant gain Kp,o,,r is shown in Fig. 6. Instability may occur when the magnet is highly saturated while lifting the AMB. In the application of a high-speed milling spindle, the shaft is held in the central position and the influence of the variable inductance can be neglected. On the other hand, it is possible to realize an adaptive current controller with a position feedback signal. Transient time/Sampling period

71

I
0.6

0.8

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.6

ULO Fig. 6 Influence of variable inductance on the dynamics


In reality the coil resistance is not zero. This resistance will affect the accuracy of the current control. In the equivalent circuit of a magnet coil in Fig. 7, there are a copper resistance RcUand an equivalent resistance of iron power losses RFe.As RF,>>RC~, the accuracy of the current control is dependent on the copper resistance, R=Rcu. The mean error of the current control can be given as,

switching behavior of the power transistors, which are proportional to the switching frequency and the total switching energy losses of the IGBTs. The switching frequency of a power transistor is limited by its switching losses. A highhpeed IGBT element is designed to have a smaller total switching energy losses compared to a normal IGBT. However, its forward conduction voltage is higher, which results in larger conduction power losses. As the PWM-scheme proposed in this paper allows lower switching frequency, the total power losses of the IGBTs in the power amplifier with this PWM-scheme can be reduced. The power losses on the electrolytic capacitor are associated with the series resistance (ESR) and the AC component of the current through it. This power loss produces heat in the electrolytic capacitor, which affects its lifespan. The AC component of the current is mainly caused by the switching of the power transistors. In the application of AMBs, the magnet coil is almost a pure inductance. In the steady state, the current keeps constant. In the DC-link of a switching amplifier, however, the current will periodically charge and discharge the capacitor when the two-level PWM-scheme is used to control the power transistors. The effective value of the AC current components is equal to the amplitude of the current in the magnet coil. When the three-level PWM-scheme is used to control the power transistors, the power amplifier would work only in the modes (b) and (c) in Fig. 2 and there would be no current flowing from or into the capacitor in the steady state if there were no power losses. In reality, the AC components of the capacitor current are also reduced considerably with the three-level PWM-scheme. The power losses in an AMB consist mainly of the copper losses of magnet coil and iron losses of the magnet. The former is proportional to the square of the current and may only be reduced through the reduction of the resistance of the magnet coil. The latter are produced by the eddy current and

R cu

T N=-I z
This error is associated with the ratio of the sampling period to the time constant of the magnet coil. If the sampling frequency is high enough, the error can be kept very small. POWER LOSSES IN AMPLIFIERS AND AMBS The power losses in the switching amplifier can be divided into conduction losses, switching losses of the power devices and the loss in the electrolytic capacitor in DC-link[6]. The conduction losses are caused by the forward conduction voltage drop of the power transistors and diodes. The switching power losses are produced by the non-ideal

Fig. 7 Equivalent circuit of a magnet coil magnetic hysteresis in the magnet. In these power losses, the eddy current loss caused by the current harmonics is associated with the design of the switching amplifier. This loss is proportional to the square of the product of the amplitude of the current harmonic and its frequency, approximately. As shown in Fig. 4, this product is almost independent of the switching frequency and hence, the eddy current loss can not be influenced by the switching frequency. However, the product may greatly be reduced with the threelevel PWM-scheme. If the amplitude of the current harmonic is assumed to be that of the current ripple, it can be estimated from the relation of the amplitude of the current ripple to the

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switching frequency in Fig. 4 that the eddy current loss produced by the current harmonics in the switching amplifier with the three-level PWM-scheme is smaller than 1/1000 of that in the switching amplifier with a two-level PWM-scheme. IMMUNITY AGAINST FAILURE In a high-speed milling spindle, the reliability of the power amplifiers is very important since ten amplifiers are used to control AMBs in five axes. It is necessary that the switching amplifiers have an immunity against failure so that there is enough time for the system to brake the rotor rotating at a high speed and protect the mechanical elements in the AMBs, when a transistor breaks. Because the current in a magnet coil of an AMB flows only in one direction, it is possible to use only one power transistor to control the current. However, if the transistor breaks down, the current in the magnet coil will be out of control immediately, either rising to very large or falling down to zero. For this reason, the one switch circuit is not recommended for the AMBs in a high-speed milling spindle. In the power circuit in Fig. 2, two IGBT devices are used. Although such a switching amplifier is more expensive, it has a higher failure immunity. If one IGBT device in the circuit breaks down, the amplifier will mainly work in the mode (b) or (c) in Fig. 2 with the compensation of the current controller and the current can be kept constant in a period of time. The position of the rotor can be controlled with another magnet of the two counteracting ones and the rotor will not fall onto the emergency bearings immediately. In the practice, the time of this situation can be designed so long that the rotor can be slowed down to a reliable low speed. EXPERIMENTAL RESUITS The newly developed IGBT power amplifier was tested in the laboratory. The rating values are 8 A / 310 V and the switching frequency is 20 kHz. The test result of the relation between the power losses and working current of one IGBT amplifier and a magnet is shown in Fig. 8. Pvl is the total power losses in the amplifier and in the magnet. For the comparison, the relation of the power losses Pv2to the working current of an IGBT power amplifier with the same power circuit, but controlled with the delta modulation and at the switching frequency of 50 kHz is also given in Fig. 8. The newly developed IGBT power amplifiers have been tested in the practical system of a high-speed milling spindle (35 kW/40,000 rpm) consisting of AMBs for five axes, which were driven by the switching amplifiers with the delta modulation and switching frequency at 100 Wz. The frequency responses of the AMB with the two different types of amplifiers are presented in Fig. 9. In both systems, the position controllers were the same. The dynamic performance of the system is almost not affected by the introduction of the new switching amplifier with the dead-beat current controller and the three-level PWM scheme. However, the switching frequency and the power losses of the whole system are greatly reduced.

CONCLUSIONS A three-level PWM-scheme is employed in the newly developed IGBT switching amplifiers of AMBs used in a high-speed milling spindle. With this PWM-scheme, the current harmonics are independent of the DC-link voltage and be reduced significantly. At the same time, the switching frequency is also reduced to half the output pulse frequency, which makes it possible to use normal IGBT elements without special snubbers. Moreover, the power losses on the power switches and electrolytic capacitors are obviously reduced with the three-level PWM-scheme.

Losses I W
60

501 40

/ ' : . . .
2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10

z
1

I (A)

fig. 8 Power losses in one amplifier and AMB

1 oo IO' 10 ' I o3 f (JW Fig. 9 Frequency response of AMB-system, - supplied by IGBT amplifiers with a three-step PWM and a switching frequency of 20 kHz ------ supplied with switching amplifiers with the Deltamodulation and a switching frequency of 100 kHz

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REFERENCE [ l ] G. Schweitzer, H. Bleuler and A. Traxler, "Active Magnetic Bearing", Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zurich [2] Flavio Cerruti, and etc. "High Efficiency and Low Cost Power Amplifiers and Transducers or Active Magnetic Bearings", The 4nd International Symposium on Magnetic Bearing, Aug. 1994, ETH Zurich, pp365-370 [3] J. Wassermann and H. Springer, "A Linear Power Amplifier with Current Injection(LAC1) for Magnetic Bearings", The 4nd International Symposium on Magnetic Bearing, Aug. 1994, ETH Zurich, pp.371-

37 6
[4] E. Maslen, P. Hermann, M. Scott, R. R. Humphris, "Practical Limits to the Performance of Magnetic Bearings: Peak Force, Slew Rate, and Displacement Sensitivity", Journal of Tribology April 1989, Vol. 111 pp. 331-336 [5] F. J. Keith, E. H. Maslen, R. R. Humphris, R. D. Williams "Switching Amplifier Design for Active Magnetic Bearings", The 2nd International Symposium on Magnetic Bearing, July 12-14, 1990, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 211-218 [6] T. Bardas, T. Harris, C . Oleksuk, G. Eisenbart, J. Geerligs "Problem, Solutions and Applications in the Development of a Wide Band Power Amplifier for Magnetic Bearings", The 2nd International Symposium on Magnetic Bearing, July 12-14, 1990, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 219-227 [7] C . Bader, Deutsche Patent-Offenlegungsschrift P 21 37 249, 1975

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