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Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines

Paper ID 1386

Comparison of high-speed induction motors employing cobalt-iron and silicon electrical steel
Matthias Centner, Rolf Hanitsch, Uwe Schäfer Berlin Institute of Technology; Chair Electric Drives Einsteinufer 11, 10587 Berlin, Germany Tel: (+49)-30-31422403, fax: (+49)-30-31421133 e-mail:,,
Abstract-This paper presents the design of 20kW cage rotor induction machines operating at speeds above 20.000 rpm employing different kind of electrical steels. One machine is designed using cobalt-iron laminations of 0.2mm thickness. For the second machine 0.35mm silicon electrical steel of low-loss grade has been used. Both machines are compared in terms of the materials influence on lamination layout, mechanical behavior and thermal loading. Measurements of both machines underline the presented facts.

120 p / W/kg 80 40 0 0

● 1,0 T ▲ 1,5 T —— Vacoflux - - - - M270-35A



High-speed electrical machines offer many advantages, especially concerning over-all system aspects such as high power density or reduction of mechanical components. It is well known, that these machines also offer many challenges to the machine designer, especially concerning economic aspects. The designer has to balance the high power density, the effort to reduce the loss generation and the effort of loss removal. Regarding the excessive iron losses compared to standardspeed machines, the choice of the lamination material will mostly affect cost and effort of the whole drive. From the electromagnetic point of view, the choice is quite simple: Use a highly saturable (low magnetizing current!) and thin material with high specific electric resistance (low eddy current losses!). From economical and mechanical point of view it is contrary: Thin laminations require a lot of stamping time, and highly saturable material usually is expensive, due to costly alloy-materials (e. g. cobalt). II. ELECTRICAL STEELS The properties of the used electrical materials are summarized in table 1. Fig. 1 depicts specific losses vs. frequency of iron-cobalt steel Vacoflux 50 [3] and silicon steel M270-35A [4] supplied by material manufacturers. Vacoflux 50 is expected to have a very high saturation fluxdensity and due to a lamination width of only 0.2mm low losses at high frequencies. The main drawbacks are the complexity of the manufacturing process (stamping and laser cutting problems with thin laminations, elaborate annealing process) and very high costs. The M270 material is coated with a selfbonding varnish. The Vacoflux material has an organic C3 coating. The use of selfbonding-varnish on Vacoflux is not recommended.


600 900 frequency / Hz


Fig. 1: Losses vs. frequency @ 1.0T and 1.5T

Vacoflux 50 M270-35A conductivity 2,27 1,81 (MS/m) 30 ~35 heat conductivity W/K/m) density 8120 7650 (kg/m³) 350 520 tensilestrength (N/mm²) creep limit 250 390 (N/mm²) Table 1: Properties of Electric Steels

III. MACHINE DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE EVALUATION To account for the influence of electrical steel properties on machine parameters and performance, a combination of analytical and numerical methods [1], [2], [3] was developed and has been implemented in a special software tool. The outer machine dimensions, shaft height, winding type and rotor cage and (closed) rotor slot layout were fixed, mainly for practical reasons (availability of materials and tools). Starting from overall requirements mentioned in table 2, about one-hundred machine variants were calculated to determine the loss-optimal configuration for each material. The rotor size mainly is restricted by mechanical material properties: The diameter is limited by the tensile strength (with some safety margin) of the copper end rings. Table 1 compares

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because the magnetizing current rises as well and the power factor is reduced.006 38.3 … 0. that loss-optimal machines in both configurations are very similar. On each machine the electrical input power was measured and losses have been separated by calculation.1 Table 3: Machine Performance Vacoflux 265 190 0. Fig. both machines are identically constructed. which leads to the assumption of identical mechanical losses.real (A) 60 40 20 0 0 50 100 -i1.imag (A) M270-35A 150 200 In both cases the laminations were laser-cut.Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines the strength of the employed materials.3mm. both designs finally operate at a current density as low as 4A/mm2. Description Power Supply frequency Number of poles Supply voltage Vibration”). The high saturation flux density of Vacoflux material was better utilized by decreasing the stator yoke depth and thus saving material and weight. The rotor length and shaft diameter are chosen to guarantee a subcritical operation of the drive.real (A) 60 40 20 0 0 50 100 -i1. The stacking factor is somewhat higher in the case of M270-35A steel.6 T Table 2: Design Variables Name. 100 80 i1.5 … 1.006 36. 2: Stator current locus of machine with different steels It is interesting to notice. While the core made of silicon steel M270-35A could be stacked and glued due to the presence of selfbonding varnish the Vacoflux core had to be fixed by screws. Fig. hydrogen atmosphere). Other possible design goals were minimal rotor losses or low winding temperature.5 mm Stator current densities 4 … 8 A/mm² Airgap flux density 0. Additionally sound and vibration measurements as well as thermal observations have been carried out. calculated iron losses are much lower compared to the silicon steel configuration. 500 Hz 2 230 V. Table 3 compares calculated performance data of both machines. For safety. a glass fiber bandage with a highly temperature persistent adhesive has been added to the rotor surface. switched @ 13 kHz Rotor diameter x length 70mm x 100mm Stator diameter 150mm Material M270. similar yoke depths were used here though. IV. reducing the mechanical airgap by 0. keeps yoke flux density at acceptable values of ~1T.imag (A) 150 200 Mechanical losses were not included into the optimisation process because their calculation was considered to be unreliable. MEASUREMENTS Both machines were coupled and tested in a back-to-back configuration. CONSTRUCTION Vacoflux 50 100 80 i1. The wide stator yoke. Vacoflux Airgap 0. V. Bearing in mind its high density. The use of selfbonding varnish on the Vacoflux material is not recommended (by the manufacturer) because the varnish could lead to mechanical stresses in the laminations which in turn lead to polarization degradation. The reduction of iron losses in the Vacoflux configuration results from lower specific losses of the material and from reduced stator yoke flux densities due to lower stator slot height. For the sake of manufacturing.81 0. Copper losses Iron losses Power factor Rated slip Rated current M270 263 328 0. After annealing the Vacoflux material becomes very soft. [2] Range 20 kW max. Nevertheless.77 0.3 The machines presented here exhibit minimal total losses and thus highest efficiency. Furthermore. the strength of annealed Vacoflux 50 material is comparable to hard pressed copper. While the silicon steel already had been final annealed. The loss-optimal Vacoflux machine does not profit from the about 20% higher airgap-flux density compared to the loss-optimal silicon steel machine. the Vacoflux material was annealed after cutting at recommended conditions (~800°C. which leads to problems for further mechanical processing in the region of the rotor slot bridges. 2 shows the stator current locus with marked rated current of the calculated machines with Vacoflux 50 and M270 steel. respectively. Since iron losses are dominating. which was chosen mainly for mechanical reasons (see section “Sound and 2 .

4 shows the magnetizing characteristics of both machines. iron and friction losses are determined. To gain an idea about additional losses due to flux pulsations a test coil has been put around a stator tooth. respectively. From a no-load test. magnetizing current A. In both cases the rotor and stator cores have been shrunken on the shaft and in the housing. a mechanically rigid construction is vital. Though after cutting the Vacoflux laminations the mandatory annealing process has been carried out carefully. The sum of the noload losses agrees perfectly with the exactly measurable total no-load losses of the coupled machines. rotor bar current density Fig 4: Stator flux-linkage vs. This also is the reason for deviations at lower rotor current values. In the case of closed rotor slots as used in both designs. 3 . 6. especially for highspeed machines. The magnetizing characteristics of both machines are almost identical. 6 are determined according to procedures described in [2]. The latter value is in phase to the magnetizing current and thus has to be vectorially added to the pulsations caused by rotor current. While in the case of the machine with silicon iron laminations the agreement is very good. 5 compares the segregated core losses of both machines. Fig. According to Fig. 5 include fundamental wave iron losses as well as additional load and no-load iron losses and 0. One possible reason for this might be the sensitivity of the material to mechanical stress. In both cases magnetizing data were taken from the material data sheet.Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines M270-35A M270-35A Vacoflux 50 Vacoflux 50 Fig 3: Total leakage inductance vs. Electrical measurements The measured leakage inductance in both cases corresponds to the calculated values. the rotor leakage inductance depends strongly on the saturation of the leakage path.5% additional losses (according to IEC 60034 standard). However. there are significant deviations in the case of Vacoflux 50 material. Fig. The value at 0A is the fluxpulsation value due to airgap reluctance variations. The core-losses in Fig. The magnitudes of pulsating tooth flux density are displayed in Fig. Losses have been measured according to the segregated-loss method described in IEC 60034-2 standard. The calculated values in Fig. which occur due to shrinking of the cores. A further segregation of these losses is hardly possible. the material does not exhibit the promised high saturation flux density. Friction losses show a quadratic dependency of speed. 3 the frequency dependency is low compared to the influence of the bar current density.

the degree of insulation has still been inferior to the insulation provided by the selfbonding-varnish on the silicon-steel sheets.the much thinner Vacoflux material reveals its lower losses not till then ~300 Hz. the main problems in high-speed machines arise from radial forces due to the fundamental wave. leading to higher induction and thus higher loss values. Fig. The resulting efficiency curves for both machines are shown in Fig. too. 7: Efficiency vs. 7. One reason for this is the coating on the Vacoflux laminations which seemed to have not withstood the annealing. power and freq. Though there is a good agreement in calculated and measured flux pulsation values. no electrical contact between sheets was measurable.contrary to the expectations based on manufacturers material data (compare Fig. 3. 1) . that . 8 depicts spectra of both machines. Necessarily. Sound and Vibration measurements Besides high loss density and cooling. mech. Though there was a sensible burr at lamination edges caused by the laser cutting process. where drive noise and housing vibrations mainly are caused by induction wave harmonics [6. A reason for the turnaround of the loss ratio at about 300 Hz is the lower slope of the Vacoflux loss curves at high frequencies (Fig. the uncertainty of loss-values for additional as well as fundamental-wave losses still remains. Although both lamination sides had been coated. The natural mechanical frequencies of the motor have been measured by applying an impulse force to the housing and measuring elongation at end plates and the casing. rotor current Fig. so it was decided to use an additional layer of silicone-based enamel on each Vacoflux sheet. machine vibrations and machine noise are problems in high-speed drives. 4 . This uncertainty manifests itself in much higher measured loss values (Fig 5) compared to the calculated values in Tab. frequency of both machines Vacoflux 50 Fig 6: Stator-tooth flux pulsation vs. due to floating of varnish during curing. B. the stacking factor is slightly reduced. Reduced iron losses in the Vacoflux machine lead to a slightly higher degree of efficiency at a frequency above 300 Hz. Furthermore it is remarkable.Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines M270-35A Fig 5: Iron losses vs. 7]. In opposite to drives in the standard speed range. 1) – mainly effecting additional iron losses.

This is simply due to the fact that the core is built of more and thinner laminations which are held together by screws. The fluctuations on the rising temperature edge result from filtering of the heavily distorted signals due to inverter feeding. Shaft vibrations freq. Chiefly this affects the end winding at the air-outlet. Fig. but the individual impression reflects the measured spectra: The machine with Vacoflux laminations emits more noise and reveals more shaft vibrations. Both machines are through ventilated and were connected in parallel on one fan. Thermal measurements Fig. Additionally strong vibrations occur in the range of housing frequencies. The stator-winding temperature in the slot in both cases is equal to the winding-end temperature at the air-inlet. 9 shows shaft vibration frequencies occurring at certain motor speeds for both machines. The measuring was done recording noise and vibration at certain frequencies. The measuring setup was not suitable for precise absolute level analysis. 10 and Fig. time at 400Hz full load 5 . Motor’s natural frequency spectrum Fig 9. At motor speeds up to 100 Hz the noise caused by inverter switching harmonics (~13 kHz) is dominating. bonded core. C. At a certain speed the according frequency and its multiples are excited. Thus the temperature in the Vacoflux machine is higher since the flow-rate is reduced because of the glass fiber bandage on the rotor.Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines M270-35A M270-35A Vacoflux 50 Vacoflux 50 Fig 8. motor speed Furthermore the shaft vibrations and machine sound have been measured during operation. Temperature rise vs. while the other machine has a stiffer. M270-35A Fig 10. (and ordninals) vs. PT100 temperature sensors have been placed in each phase in a slot and in the winding-ends. 11 show the result of temperature-rise runs for both machines. This makes evident that in both cases the iron effectively removes heat. At higher motor speeds a tone frequency of twice the supply frequency is dominating.

CONCLUSION Two machines operating at speeds above 20. the remainder by natural convection on the housing surface. Crete Island. the other was built using cobalt-iron Vacoflux 50. Seinsch. Berlin: VDEVerl. R. pp. Aachen. a conclusion may be drawn: In cases where material and manufacturing costs outrank highest machine efficiency. Hanitsch. In opposite to that the silicon iron M270-35A is relatively cheap. 6 . M. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] M. Laser cutting and stacking of 0.6 April 2006. E-Mail. 1992. Both machines have been calculated and optimized using methods and a software-tool developed by the author. S. Vacoflux 50 Fig 11. and R. 505. D. and Menzel Elektromotoren for resin. Proc.2mm laminations requires highest accuracy during manufacturing. Japan. Nevertheless. 1950. Greece.000 rpm”. calculated and measured.000 rpm have been designed. While numerically calculated machine parameters and flux pulsations agree very well with measurements. from the measurements a conclusion regarding the comparison of the used materials may be drawn. Vacuumschmelze. Centner. mechanical and thermal measurements have been carried out. Both materials are well suited for the application in highspeed machines with high efficiency.Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines Fluidic estimations resulted in only about 65% of losses being removed by forced air. E-Mail. On both machines electrical. time at 400Hz full load VI. 2006. manufacturing and exploitation of its magnetic properties. easy to handle and in combination with the self-bonding varnish very good to process. Jordan. Centner. 2007. H. the silicon-iron in combination with selfbondingvarnish may be the preferable choice. Oberfelderscheinungen in Drehfeldmaschinen: Grundlagen zur analytischen und numerischen Berechnung. ACKNOWLEDGMENT Thanks to D. Kemper (C. O. "Impedance calculation for die-cast rotors". ICEM 2006. W. Pieper (VAC Hanau) for data and advice on Vacoflux handling. H.. 2006. purely based on analytical theory and manufacturer’s data. Efficiency would have clearly improved when the machine was operating on the calculated magnetizing-curve in Fig 4. Stuttgart: Teubner. with the cobalt-iron material being superior to the silicon-iron. ICEMS 2006. Unfortunately here the magnetic properties of the Vacoflux material lag behind the manufacturers data. 2007. Specific Loss Values Vacoflux 50 0. “Design considerations for die-cast rotor induction-motors operating at a speed of 30. Temperature rise vs. calculated iron losses as well as friction losses differed strongly from pre-calculated values. in CEM Proceedings 4 . The measurements revealed the merits and limits of calculation methods.2mm. Nagasaki. From the thermal point of view both materials are equivalent. Proc. Essen: Girardet. “Mechanical issues and additional losses of high-speed induction motors”. Summarizing. Wälzholz GmbH) for the supplied M270 steel with bonding varnish. Geräuscharme Elektromotoren: Lärmbildung und Lärmbeseitigung bei Elektromotoren. Germany. Arcelor. Possible reasons were named above. 169 ff. Hanitsch. Additionally problems with the coating occurred. CD M. Material data M270-35A. One machine was built using silicon iron M270-35A. 2-5 September 2006. Centner. The Vacoflux material is demanding in terms of cost.