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International Symposium on Power Electronics,

Electrical Drives, Automation and Motion

ANPC-5L Technology Applied to Medium

Voltage Variable Speed Drives Applications
F. Kieferndorf*, M. Basler**, L. A. Serpa*, J.-H. Fabian*, A. Coccia*, G. A. Scheuer**
ABB Switzerland Ltd
** Power Electronics and MV Drives, (Switzerland)
* Corporate Research, (Switzerland)

Abstract - A new medium voltage drive has been insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), have increased
developed based on the active neutral-point clamped 5-level significantly. This has permitted the extension of these
(ANPC-5L) topology with the option of transformerless
network connection. In the last decade three-level neutral- devices to medium voltage (MV) applications. However,
point clamped (NPC) converters have become the industry the use of fast switching devices under high voltage
standard in MV Drives. Although the three-level NPC generates high dv/dt on the converter output. In addition,
converter has proven itself in the toughest applications in the switching and conduction losses are also significantly
industry, the call for more efficient use of energy has raised increased limiting the power throughput and reducing the
the demand for converters to be used with standard
catalogue motors, both for retrofit and new installations. overall converter efficiency. In order to bring the
The option to avoid the additional cost of the input switching component stresses to acceptable values, new
transformer in such applications is also a great advantage. topologies of multilevel converters have emerged,
The structure of the converter will be described with an including five-level topologies. The ability to generate a
explanation of the multiple levels of redundancy available. higher number of output voltage levels can additionally
The necessary conditions for regulating the neutral-point
and phase (or floating) capacitor voltages will be illustrated. reduce the voltage and current harmonic content applied
The direct torque control (DTC) method is used in the to the load when compared to three-level topologies.
inverter control. The synchronous frame current regulator Typically, five-level structures are obtained as a
used for rectifier control allows for full four-quadrant natural extension of existing three-level topologies such
operation on the network side. The modular mechanical as the NPC converter or the floating-capacitor (FC)
design philosophy will be displayed along with the salient
technical features: rectifier and inverter operating converter [2]. Additional semiconductors and energy
waveforms, protection concept, and ride through behavior. storage elements are incorporated into the classical three-
Finally, experience in pilot installations will be described. level converters to produce the extra levels. For both
Index Terms -- multilevel systems, motor drives, medium topologies, however, practical issues appear which make
voltage, overvoltage protection, short circuit protection, them less acceptable for application in industry. For
direct torque control, transformerless active rectifier. example, if all components are maintained at the same
voltage rating, the required higher number of clamping
diodes and capacitors increases cost and complexity.
Another important aspect is the increased difficulty of
The three-level neutral-point clamped (NPC) converter regulating the DC link capacitor voltages of the NPC and
[1], using the integrated gate commutated thyristor the flying capacitor voltages of the FC. In the five-level
(IGCT), has become the standard in medium voltage NPC the DC link is subdivided into four equal voltage
drives in the last decade. This configuration has proved to levels by using a split bank of four capacitors instead of
be very successful in demanding applications with fast two as in the three-level approach. In the FC the number
torque requirements and high power with overload. These of floating capacitors is increased from three to ten going
applications call for specially designed motors (inverter from the three-level to the five-level form [3]. The large
grade motors) that are more expensive than standard number of redundancies in this case demands an
catalogue motors. However the majority of motors are elaborate control technique.
used in pump, fan and compressor applications with These difficulties are avoided in the cascaded H-bridge
requirements that allow the use of standard catalogue multilevel topology [4], which is characterized by series
motors. These applications normally greatly benefit from connections of single-phase H-bridge converters.
being speed controlled and this has raised the demand for However, the use of this strategy is limited in some
a new type of inverter that is compatible with the applications due to the necessity of isolated dc power
standard catalogue motor design. The requirements fall sources. Typically this entails the use of diode rectifier
into three major areas: a) common mode voltages that can front ends coupled to relatively complex input
lead to bearing problems, b) motor harmonic content, transformers. This can be acceptable at high power levels,
leading to overheating of the motor and c) voltage rise but in the lower power MV range the cost of these
time (dv/dt) affecting the motor insulation lifetime. transformers becomes prohibitive. A further limitation is
Over the same time period the voltage and current that the power flow can only be controlled in two
ratings of fast power semiconductor devices, such as the quadrants. Other variants of this topology have active

978-1-4244-4987-3/10/$25.00 2010 IEEE

rectifiers [5] to allow four-quadrant operation, but still stage (Cell 2 and Cell 3). Moreover, unlike classical five-
require a costly transformer. level topologies, the ANPC inverter splits the DC link
into only two capacitors and requires only a single phase
capacitor per phase. To ensure equally spaced steps in the
output voltages the phase capacitors are charged to one
forth of the total DC link voltage.
Consequently, the costs, volume and control
complexity are reduced. An additional important feature
that should be noted is the presence of devices with
different blocking voltage ratings. In particular, the Cell 1
devices, connected to the split DC link, are rated for half
of the DC link voltage, while the Cell 2/Cell 3 devices are
rated for a quarter of the DC link voltage. In practice, this
Fig. 1 Transformerless ACS 2000 drive configuration with input means the Cell 1 devices are comprised of two series
reactor, single line diagram, showing the 3-phase rectifier and inverter connected IGBTs giving in total 12 equally rated devices
units with the shared DC link.
per phase leg.
Recently, ABB introduced a new multilevel topology
[6] to overcome some of the above mentioned limitations
while achieving all the advantages of multilevel
converters. The 5-level active neutral-point clamped
(ANPC-5L) topology is a two step extension of the NPC + Snp1 S21 S22
three-level configuration. First, the NP diodes are Vdcu

complimented by antiparallel active switches as in [7], +

second an additional capacitor per phase (the phase Snp2 S32 S31
capacitor) is strategically inserted between the series +
connected output switches. This technology has now been
developed into a new low power MV drive, the ACS S4
This drive combines the ANPC-5L topology with high
Fig. 2 Simplified circuit diagram of an ANPC-5L phase leg.
voltage (HV) IGBT technology. In addition, voltage The DC link is shared by all 3-phases.
balancing of series connected IGBTs is also achieved.
The transformerless configuration of the drive, shown in Five output voltage levels are achieved from eight
Fig. 1, consists of an input filter combined with a distinct switching combinations, indicated by the
compact common mode (CM) choke connected to the combination of the switching functions of S22, S21 and
active front end (AFE) rectifier. This Direct-to-Line S1. One can note that the switches S1 and Snp2 are
(DTL) configuration can be used whenever the supply operated in a complementary way to Snp1 and S4.
voltage is within the standard input range of the converter Another important factor is the allowed transitions
(6-6.9kV). The AFE provides unity power factor to the between states presented in Fig. 3.
utility as well as low harmonic distortion meeting the
IEEE-519 and IEC 61000-2-4 specifications with only a TABLE I PHASE STATES OF ANCP-5L CONVERTER WITH
small input filter to attenuate the switching harmonics. EFFECTS ON PHASE CAPACITOR AND NP
The use of an AFE also enables four-quadrant operation Cell 3 Cell 2 Cell 1 Output Phase Effect on Effect on Switching
allowing regeneration of power back to the utility during Cph Vnp
Level Output Vector
braking operation of a motor. S4 Snp2 Snp1 S1 S32 S21 S31 S22 Voltage i>0 i<0 i>0 i<0
In this paper the characteristics of the topology will 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 2 V 0 0 0 0 V0
1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 V/2 + 0 0 V1
first be reviewed along with a discussion of the 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 V/2 + + V2
implemented control methods. In the following sections 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 + V3
0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 + V4
some features of the new drive will be discussed with 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 +1 V/2 + + V5
experimental waveforms. 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 +1 V/2 + 0 0 V6
0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 +2 V 0 0 0 0 V7


The list of switching combinations in Table I also
A. General operation shows the presence of redundant states which generate
The ANPC-5L inverter presented by one phase leg in the same output voltage level referred to the DC link
Fig. 2 produces five distinct output voltage levels by neutral-point (NP). For instance, the voltage level V/2
combining the three-level characteristic of the input stage can be generated either by the switching state V5 or V6.
(Cell 1) with the two-level characteristic of the output Nevertheless, they cause an opposite effect on the
floating capacitor voltage, due to the different conduction

paths selected by the switches. For a positive output to V/2 , the switching state V2 results in mid-point
phase current, for example, state V5 discharges the phase current flow, while V1 is connected to the negative
capacitor while V6 charges it as demonstrated in Fig. 4. potential. Thus by properly choosing the redundant phase
A similar behavior is observed for the voltage level V/2 states with knowledge of the output current, the phase
produced by the states V1 and V2. Depending on the capacitor voltages and the NP voltage can be maintained
direction of the output phase current, these states have the within a specified margin of their nominal values. Since
ability to charge or discharge the phase capacitor. the phase capacitors are of lower capacitance value
compared to the DC link capacitors they are given a
higher priority in the balancing logic.
For a three-phase system, the level of flexibility of
controlling the output, mid-point and phase-capacitor
voltages is quite large. On the other hand the complexity
is significant as well. The number of distinct output
voltage vectors increases from 18 in a three-level
structure to 61 in a five-level structure. Furthermore, due
to the presence of redundant vectors, the number of 3-
phase switching states increases to 125 as shown in the
space vector diagram of Fig. 5. As an illustration consider
the zero voltage vector labeled 0 in the diagram, there are
five distinct 3-phase combinations possible. For each of
the vectors on the smallest hexagon labeled 1, 33, 65, 97,
Fig. 3 Phase states and allowed transitions for the ANPC-5L. 129 and 161 there are four possibilities. The 3-phase
switching states are labeled according to the voltage level
of each phase (R S T) where the output voltage levels V,
+VDC V/2, 0, V/2 and V are numbered from 2 to 2,

NP Vdc/2 PH



NP Vdc/2 PH

Fig. 5 Vector diagram and numbering scheme for 5L converters.

In the specific case of the ANPC-5L, the number of

possible distinct states is further increased to 512, due to
V5 the redundant phase states for the levels 1 (V/2), 0 and
Fig. 4 Redundant phase states for the voltage level Vdc/2 or +1 of the 1 (V/2). The voltage vector 13, for example, consisting of
ANPC-5L converter, also shows switches containing two devices in two redundant 3-phase vectors, [2 1 1] and [1 2 2],
can be produced by six distinct phase state combinations.
To enumerate, the 1 levels in the first redundant vector
It can also be noticed that the redundant states have [2 1 1] can be realized with four different
differing impacts on the mid-point potential depending on combinations of the states V1 and V2, and the level 1 in
the switching state of the input stage. In order to achieve the second redundant vector [1 2 2] with the state V5
an output voltage equal to V/2, the input stage can be or V6. Hence, multiple combinations that effect the
connected either to the positive potential V (V6) or phase-capacitors and mid-point potential can be applied
directly to the NP (V5). For the output voltage level equal while maintaining the same line-to-line voltage.

In order to take advantage of all this flexibility, the bounds the redundant phase state which minimizes the
controller needs to find a proper combination of 3-phase error is chosen. Thus, based on the status of the NP
switching states to produce the voltage vectors to regulate voltage, the phase capacitor error and the level of
the desired output quantities and phase states to balance redundancy available, an actual switching transition is
the mid-point potential and phase-capacitor voltages. executed by the modulator.
B. Inverter control Direct Torque Control C. AFE Synchronous Reference Frame PI Control
The inverter side of the converter uses Direct Torque The chosen control method is vector control
Control (DTC) based on multilevel hysteresis bands to synchronized to the network frequency. The primary
control the machine torque and flux. The details of 2- purpose of the AFE vector controller is to maintain the
level DTC are explained in [8], therefore only the main DC link voltage level under all conditions. For this
differences involved in the multilevel variation, shown in purpose a DC bus voltage PI controller is employed as
Fig. 6, are described here. As the torque error (Mref-Mact) the outer loop. The AFE uses a phase locked loop (PLL)
crosses each hysteresis boundary the level crossed is to synchronize with the supply frequency. The PLL
indicated by an integer which is related to the size of the generated angle is then used in the dq-transformations for
hexagon in the vector diagram of Fig. 5 with +1 the inner current PI regulators. Here the d-axis current is
indicating the smallest and +4 indicating the largest. used to control the real power (i.e. Vdc) and the q-axis
Negative values indicate reverse rotation. Additional current controls the reactive power. Thus flexible reactive
inputs to the optimal voltage vector selection table are power control is possible permitting compensation of the
also needed: the flux magnitude error and the sign of the supply network voltage and therefore avoiding reactive
phase currents and an algorithm to calculate the needed power penalties.
sector location of the stator flux vector. This allows the For highest efficiency, unity power factor operation
use of symmetry and mirroring to reduce to overall size (zero reactive power => iq* = 0) can be realized.
of the lookup table. Regeneration of motor braking energy back to the utility
is also inherent to an AFE further reducing unnecessary
energy loss. To improve the dynamic performance of the
controller there is also the possibility to feedback the
power consumed by the inverter and motor load. The
modulator for the rectifier is based on a 5-level carrier
based PWM method as described previously in [6].

Fig. 6 DTC controller for a 5-level Drive.

Multilevel converters with a split DC bus additionally

need hysteresis bands around the NP voltage error. The
function is as follows, if the NP error is within the inner
band, nothing is done, the calculated optimal voltage
vector for flux and torque is forwarded to the modulator.
If the NP error crosses the first band, if possible a vector
is selected to balance the NP with a normal Flux or
Torque switching. Once the NP error crosses the second Fig. 7 800kW 6kV transformerless ACS 2000 drive showing
band an additional switching must occur to keep the additional CM filter cabinet on left.
voltage in bounds.
In the specific case of the ANPC-5L topology the III. MECHANICAL DESIGN
voltage error of the phase capacitors must also be taken The transformerless ACS 2000, shown in Fig. 7, is
into account at each vector selection. To keep the error in designed to maximize uptime based on a modular

construction philosophy. Components are sized to assure IV. TESTING INFRASTRUCTURE
the expected lifetime and easy front side access is The ACS 2000 has been tested in a back-to-back
provided for all critical components. The drawer design (B2B) configuration. For such a configuration two ACS
of the phase modules facilitates quick and safe 2000 drives are installed: the DUT (device under test) and
replacement in case of faults. In the picture the phase a load inverter. Both drives are supplied from a common
module drawers are located in the far right cabinet and three-phase network connection and are connected to
the CM filter is in the far left cabinet with an integrated their respective electric machines which are coupled on a
fan. The interfaces are standard for both the DTL and common shaft. One practical result of this
external transformer configurations [9]. The converter interconnection is that only the losses in the drive system
and terminal cabinets are also identical for both must be provided by the supply. In addition both drives
configurations. (DUT and loading inverter) are ACS 2000 drives making
it possible to investigate both motoring and regenerating
modes simultaneously. Long-term B2B tests were also
done to establish the high reliability of the drive.

Fig. 9 Input CM choke and harmonic filter


Compared to the drive configuration with an external
transformer [9] the input filter design must be modified.
Two benefits of an input transformer are the following: it
is a perfect CM filter and it has leakage inductances that
decouple the filter capacitance from the grid. These
effects are reproduced by the new filter design
sufficiently to meet the respective grid standards
mentioned previously. The modified input filter is shown
in Fig. 9. The standard input filter inductance Lifu is used
Fig. 8 ACS 2000 phase module mechanical construction details. to replace the decoupling inductance of the transformer.
The CM choke (Lifu_cm) is sized to reduce the low
A key component of the modular concept is the phase frequency harmonics (mainly 3rd) to acceptable levels.
module shown in Fig. 8. The module comprises the main
components in a phase leg of the converter as shown in 6000
Current and Voltage at Supply PCC

Fig. 2, including the power semiconductors, the gate unit 150

and the phase capacitor. Additionally, an interface board 100
ARU phase voltage (V)

to the upper level control as well as current and voltage 2000

ARU current (A)


measurement equipment is included in each module. This 0 0

allows a simple interconnection to the drive as only a -2000


power connection and a fiber optic link has to be -100

established. The current-carrying connections to the DC -150

link bus bars of the drive are accomplished by contact -6000

0.3 0.305 0.31 0.315 0.32 0.325 0.33 0.335 0.34
plugs. Fig. 10 Voltage and current of drive input showing unity power
The combination of the above mentioned factor operation (ARU is the same as AFE).
characteristics allows the end user to easily replace a
module within minutes. This means that, even in the VI. INPUT AND OUTPUT PERFORMANCE
unlikely event that a phase module needs to be
The rectifier performance is demonstrated in Fig. 10
exchanged, the availability of the drive can be kept at a
showing unity power factor operation of the drive. The
high level.
five-level inverter used in the ACS 2000 delivers a nine-
level phase-to phase voltage to the motor. Typical voltage

waveforms are shown in Fig. 11. A typical current uses ABBs thyristor crowbar concept which further
waveform is shown in Fig. 12. It is clear that the new minimizes the risk of damage resulting from a failure.
five-level inverter produces an output that is quite close
to sinusoidal. The result meets the requirements to drive cl-aru +DC cl-inu

motors designed for direct on line (DOL) connection with

no need for derating.
Converter phase to NP voltage +

voltage (kV)


0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03 0.035 0.04

Converter phase to phase voltage
Fig. 13 Thyristor crowbar circuit placement in the dc link also
10 showing the rectifier and inverter side clamping circuits.

The thyristor crowbar protective circuit is shown in
voltage (kV)

Fig. 13 in relation to the DC link capacitors and the
-5 clamping circuits for the rectifier and inverter. In case of
a failure (e.g. short circuit, DC link overvoltage etc.), the
crowbar thyristors are fired, shorting the DC link. The
0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03 0.035 0.04 capacitor energy is than safely dissipated through a

Fig. 11 Voltage waveforms from measurements, top 5-level

carefully predefined conduction path. As a result, the
waveform (phase to NP), bottom 9-level waveform (phase to IGBT semiconductor modules are protected against
phase) . explosions and electric arcs are prevented in the drive. In
addition, no fuses are required in the phase modules, only
Adding further switching levels would significantly three standard fuses are required at the drive input (Fig.
increase the complexity of the drive without delivering 9) to ensure disconnection from the grid during the
proportional benefits. In particular, the reliability of the protection firing procedure. This requirement eliminates
drive would be degraded due to the higher parts count. the need for special installations at the customer site.
Thus, the developed drive configuration presents the The ACS 2000 has inherited the fuseless protection
optimal solution for a 6 kV converter today. concept that has been established in other ABB MV
drives. In this manner the proven protection concept of
Converter output current
200 protection firing is applied to an IGBT converter.
current (A)


The multilevel ANPC-5L topology combined with the
0.1 0.11 0.12 0.13 0.14
0.15 0.16 0.17 0.18 dynamic performance of DTC can prevent a trip of the
Fig. 12 Output current waveforms from measurements showing drive even during main power outages of multiple
very sinusoidal waveforms produced by the drive. seconds. Operation can also be continued in case certain
auxiliary supplies fail for a limited time. The maximum
sustainable duration of a power outage depends on the
VII. PROTECTION CONCEPT load system, the machine and the actual operation point
In the past, one of the arguments against IGBTs has before power outage.
been their susceptibility to overload conditions and the The ride-through functionality of ACS 2000 keeps the
damage it can cause to the converter. Protecting the drive in operation and prevents a trip when the input
converter against explosions required the installation of (supply) voltage fails. During ride-through operation, the
fuses in each power cell. voltage of the DC link is kept at a specified level to
In recent years many efforts were made to increase the maintain the magnetization of the machine. For this
explosion withstand capabilities of IGBT modules. In purpose, energy from the rotating mass of the motor and
addition to the improvements that have been made in the the load is fed back through the inverter in order to
semiconductor devices and packaging, the ACS 2000 compensate the losses and maintain the DC link voltage.
The ride-through mode can be maintained as long as the

rotating mass has sufficient energy to supply these needs. where it replaced a 630 kW cascade drive that was
When the main supply voltage returns the machine can be controlling the speed of a slip-ring induction motor on a
immediately accelerated back to the desired reference clinker cooler exhaust fan.
Rectifier Ridethrough performance
Voltage Industries Applications
60 6000

Grid voltage magnitude (V)

Cement, mining and Conveyors, crushers, mills,
minerals fans and pumps
Input current(A)

40 4000 Chemical, oil and gas Pumps, compressors, extruders,

mixers and blowers
Current Metals Fans and pumps
20 2000
Pulp and paper Fans, pumps, refiners, vacuum
pumps and chippers
0 0 Power generation Fans, pumps, conveyors and
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
time(s) coal mills
Water Pumps
Other applications Test stands and wind tunnels

By controlling the clinker cooler exhaust fan, the drive
DC link voltage (V)

keeps the pressure in the kiln hood constant. It does this
Inverter by regulating the fan speed that draws cold air through
8000 the clinker cooler in relation to the hot air that is being
7500 drawn through the kiln.
7000 In this case the new drive was chosen by the Jura
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
time(s) Cement Factory because of the simple installation,
Inverter Ridethrough performance
100 commissioning and operation of the drive. In addition the
Speed ACS 2000 can control the speed over the full range from
0%-100% compared to the previous installation which
Speed/Torque %

only operated from 30%-100%. The energy consumption

of the ACS 2000 was measured during a full production
0 Speed year. Energy savings of 25% were realized compared to
the replaced drive system. The fact that the ACS 2000
offers all the advantages of a Voltage Source Inverter
0 1 2 3
4 5 6 (VSI) such as high and constant power factor and state-
Fig. 14 Measurement of ride-through mode of the Active Front End: of-the-art features such as an AFE for reduced harmonics
(upper) DC link voltage, (middle)and the inverter (lower). provides further benefits.
Since this is a general purpose drive for standard
applications, installation and commissioning can be
Fig. 14 shows the field measurements performed at a carried out rapidly, with hot commissioning taking only
pilot installation at Voestalpine Stahl GmbH in Linz, one day.
Austria, where the ride-through mode was tested during a
grid power outage of 1 second. In the top pane of the X. CONCLUSIONS
figure the grid voltage is seen to drop to zero and the In this paper a new four-quadrant MV drive using a
input current drops to zero at the set threshold of input patented power converter topology is described. It has
voltage. In the bottom pane of the figure the inverter side been designed for the low power segment of the general
behavior is shown. The motor torque begins to regenerate purpose drives market in order to meet the increasing
energy at the same time the grid voltage drop is detected demand for drives which can be used to raise the
to maintain the DC link voltage. When the grid voltage efficiency of applications where standard, low cost DOL
returns the torque is very quickly reversed to motoring machines are used. The new drive features a
mode and the speed begins to increase again. transformerless network interface for specified input
voltage levels. In the place of the transformer is a much
smaller and less expensive combined CM choke and
The ACS 2000 is designed for diverse fields of input filter. The basic characteristics of the ANPC-5L
application in various industries within the general topology have been described as well as the implemented
purpose drives market as indicated in Table II. control methods. The salient features, such as ride
A. Reference Project: Pilot Installation Experience through capability afforded by DTC and the protection
concept, have been exhibited with hardware
During the development process a pilot unit was measurements of deployed pilot units.
installed at Jura Cement Factory in Wildegg, Switzerland

The authors would like to acknowledge the
contributions of current and former colleagues in the
development of this technology: P. Barbosa, N.
Celanovic, M. Winkelnkemper, F. Wildner, C. Haederli,
P. Steimer, J. Steinke, and many others at MV Drives.
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