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Ground-breaking work in the field of sensorless drives
A world-leading team of scientists from Aberdeen, who are at the forefront of international research to develop smart electrical drives and intelligent sensors, have been given a major funding boost.
Principal Investigator, Professor Peter Vas, and his research team from the Engineering Department at the University of Aberdeen are developing a new high-performance induction motor drive, which promises to have enormous potential applications in the domestic, automotive, military and industrial fields.
A research grant of £150,000 has been awarded by the Engineering and Physical Research Sciences Council (EPSRC) to the Department. The work involved with this project will be in collaboration with Heriot Watt University, who have also been awarded £148,000.
Professor Albert Rodger, Head of the Engineering Department, said that he was delighted with the research grant award.
“This grant is excellent news for the Department of Engineering and will ensure that we stay well ahead in the field of advanced sensorless drives. The proposed drive is expected to outperform even the best industrial drives. The range of applications for this type of drive is extensive. We have had collaborative research with Heriot Watt University in this area for some time. This new grant will provide a catalyst for a closer working relationship between two highly successful international research groups. The award of the grant also significantly strengthens the position of Scottish universities in the area of motion control.”
In the past 20 years a great deal of research has been focused on high-performance alternating current (ac) variable speed drives. As a result, two types of high-performance ac drives have been developed and implemented by industry. These are vector controlled drives and also direct torque controlled drives. Professor Peter Vas has been involved in the development of both of these drives. However, the present research work is aimed at the development of a third type, which outperforms vector and direct torque controlled drives.
Another main feature of the research work is that the new high-performance drive will be a sensorless drive, therefore, it will not contain any speed and/or position transducer.
Professor Vas and his research team have been at the forefront of sensorless drive developments and are considered to be world-leaders. The new sensorless drive will have advanced features, and it will be possible to operate it in the entire speed region for all loads. To date there is no industrial sensorless drive in the world that can be used at all speeds and for all loads.
Professor Vas added, “The range of potential applications for this new drive is enormous. It can be used for a number of applications, including automotive, aerospace, military, and domestic fields.”
The EPSRC has stated that the project is internationally leading and competitive. Professor Vas and the leader of the project at Heriot Watt are ‘leading international figures’ and the ‘work proposed is at the forefront of research in this area internationally’.
The research group for this project will work in collaboration with the recently formed European Sensorless Drives Consortium. Professor Vas is a Director of this group and there are many companies who are members, including several multinational giants from Europe and the USA. This consortium will promote a wide range of applications of sensorless and intelligent drives in the domestic, automotive, military and industrial fields.
The start date given for this research project is September 1, 2000.
Notes to Editors:
- Within the Engineering Department at the University of Aberdeen, Professor Vas and his research team have achieved a few ‘firsts’ in the world:
- This team has developed the first artificial-neural-network based sensorless induction motor drive.
- The first sensorless, high-performance crane drive has been developed at Aberdeen and this can operate in a stable manner under all load conditions.
- The development of sensorless high-performance AC drives (induction motor drives and synchronous motor drives) which can work at all frequencies and use a standard motor.
- The development of quasi-sensorless drives in which both the technology and terminology have been developed at Aberdeen.
Further information from: Angela Begg, Media Relations, on (01224) 272960.
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