You are on page 1of 3

White Paper: Arc Furnace Power Supply

Power Controller Applications

Arc Furnace Power Supply
Stephan Risse-Gerke, Dr.-Ing. Peter Wallmeier
AEG Power Solutions GmbH, Belecke

AbstractThis contribution explains the Thyristor Power
Controllers Application as power supply for arc furnaces with the
advantage of a digital and dynamic current source with high
system efficiency, high power factor (PF) and low harmonic
distortion (THD) without electro-mechanically adjustable
KeywordsPower Controllers, Arc furnace, Current source

The arc furnaces can be found e.g. in the Ceramic
production, in the manufacture of Quartz Crucible for the
pulling of semiconductor and PV silicon with the Czochralski-
Procedure. The typical industry plant electrical diagram is
shown on Fig.1. Every power supply, an AEG PS Thyrobox
F, is powered by a medium voltage transformer and has a pure
capacitive Var compensation on the secondary side of the

Fig.1. A typical system configuration.
One power supply feeds two arc furnaces alternately with a
maximum output current up to 2500Amps and a maximum
output voltage up to 400V. The operating area with the
maximum voltage and current ratings for the load is shown on
Fig.2. The power supply has an interlock function for the two
arc furnaces.

Fig.2. Operating area Thyrobox-F

The demands for such a power supply are numerous.
Beside a high power factor and a high efficiency, a low
harmonic distortion is an important challenge. A power supply
for an arc furnace with the typical strong nonlinear load curve
(Fig.3), where a small voltage change results a large current
change, requires a fast dynamic current source.

Fig.3. A typical strong nonlinear arc curve

One System consists of one control cabinet for the
measurement acquisition and the control of the arc furnace as
White Paper: Arc Furnace Power Supply

well as three power cabinets with the power electronics. An
overview of the three power cabinets, the control cabinet and
the Var compensation is shown on Fig.4.

Fig.4. System overview

In every power cabinet a choke is used with the four
thyristors forming a fullbridge. The choke takes the role of
energy storage according to

and impresses the

current in the DC pass of the fullbridge. By precise phase
angle control performed by Thyro-P digital controller devices
the choke current and in turn the output current is adjusted
with the thyristors. The power supply takes over the function of
a high dynamic current source. So the need of
electromechanically adjustable transformers is eliminated by
this application. This can only be achieved through a fast
measured value acquisition of the electrical parameters and a
fast dynamic control. The measurement of the electrical
parameters and the control of the current source are effected
by the Thyro-P Control Unit (Fig.5).

Fig.5. Thyro-P Control Unit
The arc voltage and current values are measured with a 14
bit measurement resolution. All 3,3ms (60), the full digital
control device records the current of the arc furnace and gives
the pulse patterns via fiber optics to the water cooled thyristor
stacks for all three phases. This guarantees a quick response
to changes of the arc.
With this architecture of the arc furnace power supply as
high dynamic current control, sinusoidal current consumption
with low harmonic distortion (THD) and flicker are possible

Fig.6. Sinusoidal current consumption without compensation

The best power factor, which is defined as the ratio of the real
power (P) to the apparent power (S), will be achieved at the
maximum current of the Thyrobox
-F. If the arc furnace
operates not at full load, the power factor is lower as current
shift relative to voltage. To increase the power factor in all
operating conditions over 0.9, the use of an adjustable var
compensation is necessary. The var compensation consisting
of thyristor switched capacitor banks control the power factor
on a maximum level by the reactive power (Q) compensation

Fig.7. Phasor diagram power triangle

The reaction time is very fast by using SCR switches. A circuit
diagram of the var compensation is shown on Fig.8. The var
compensation system is installed on the secondary side of the
medium voltage transformer.

White Paper: Arc Furnace Power Supply

Fig.8. schematic var compensation

With a Simplorer simulation model of the Thyrobox
-F (Fig.9)
the plant was simulated and the var compensation topology
optimized and parameters of the built unit determined.

Fig.9. Simulation model Thyrobox
-F with var compensation

The results of the power factor measurements on a field unit
are shown on Fig.10. With the capacitive var compensation the
power factor is increasing to be > 0.9. These values have been
seen over a wide operating range in the field.

Fig.10. Waveforms showing low THD and phase shift between voltage
and current

A result of this architecture is the high system efficiency
through the use of the lowest loss semiconductor elements
thyristors. With the ability to alternately supply two electric arc
furnaces with a power supply, the manufacturing capacity is
increased, at the same time the space of the industry plant is
optimized. Using a current source topology having sinusoidal
input current an extreme high power factor of > 0.9 can be
achieved by using simple capacitive var compensation. Finally
the Thyrobox
-F and the var compensation can be seen on
figure 11 and 12.

Fig.11. AEG Power Solutions Thyrobox

Fig.12. Var Compensation