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5, OCTOBER 2001

Letters to the Editor________________________________________________________________

Sensorless Control of Induction Motors by Artificial putation and fault tolerance characteristics due to distributed network
Neural Networks intelligence. Many neurons or processing elements are interconnected
to form a parallel neurocomputing network. Each element or neuron is
J. R. Heredia, F. Perez Hidalgo, and J. L. Duran Paz a very simple processor that carries out the pondered sum of its inputs
and applies them to a function (linear, sigmoidea) to generate an output
that is sent to another neuron. The most usual type of ANN is the feed-
Abstract—In this letter, we propose a voltage-source inverter control forward multilayer one, where no information is fed back during the
working in the open loop of an induction motor measuring the stator cur-
rent and using an artificial neural network. This technique has the mission recall process. Feedback signals are used only during the training of
to estimate the speed and torque of the rotor without using sensors. With the neural network. Generally, the backpropagation method is used for
this, a simple and cheap method of control is obtained, with as much pre- adjusting the neural network weights during the training. This process
cision and robustness as other more complex ones. requires a high consumption of time since the algorithm takes a long
Index Terms—Artificial neural networks, induction motors, sensorless time to converge to the desired error, but this phase is usually made of-
control. fline.
By using an ANN, it is possible not to depend on aproximate models
since the net learns with the complete model [3]. The use of a neural
network to estimate the speed consists of an association of some inputs
It is well known that induction motors are displacing dc motors in (stator currents, voltage, and frequency) with some outputs (speed and
many applications where the latter are normally used. This applications torque). In this case, for each set of inputs there is a set of outputs. To
are those that require a good speed regulation. Induction motors are ma- accomplish this operation, the net will have to be trained in a first phase.
chines relatively cheap and robust since, for their construction, neither It is not necessary to carry out this phase in real time and to give the net
slip rings nor collectors are needed. These features are very interesting all the possible inputs–outputs combinations since it has the capacity
in the applications where a speed control is required. The control of in- to generalize results starting from a limited set of inputs–outputs. Once
duction motors is possible thanks to advances in the production and de- the phase of training has been accomplished, the net is prepared to
sign of power electronic devices as well as to the improvements reached estimate the speed for any set of inputs.
in the control of this devices. There are different control strategies as
During the training, we have experimented with different architec-
well as different types of drivers used depending on the desired power,
tures and learning methods. The objective is to find a compromise be-
robustness, and control degree of the machine.
tween the convergence speed and the target error. The most significant
Most of the drivers used in industrial applications are based on scalar
points to keep in mind when defining the structure and operation of the
(V/Hz) control using voltage-source inverters (VSIs). They are used in
neural net are mainly the choices for the inputs and the outputs. Some
applications where great speed precision is not required (pumps, fans,
simple elevators, etc.). For other applications of high precision and inputs should be chosen that determine completely the state of the asyn-
resolution, scalar control in a closed-loop mode and, more and more, chronous motor; also, for each input there will be only one output. The
vector control, is used. The scalar control VSI in open loop has the inputs in the motor must be easy to measure, so that the necessary hard-
disadvantage of not being precise since it only varies the relationship ware to control the machine will be simplified.
V=f (voltage/frequency) of the input without having information of the It is well known that the higher the load of a motor, the more current
rotor speed and torque. it consumes, and vice versa. Therefore, a variable that can be appro-
The object of this work is to improve this control type (VSI in open priate to detect the state of the motor is the stator current I1 . This pa-
loop) by means of artificial neural networks (ANNs). With this, we try rameter defines the load of the motor perfectly (resistant torque) and,
to get an easy and cheap method of control with as much precision and so, combining the variables (V1 =f1 ) with I1 , it is possible to determine
robustness as others working in closed loop [1], [2]. the operation point of the motor (speed and torque) independently of
The scheme control proposed consists of estimating the torque and the load. It is necessary to highlight that (V1 =f1 ) and I1 are values that
speed of the machine without using tachometers or measurement of are relatively easily obtained during the operation of the motor. The
torque while the machine is working. The ANN receives the current and first value is obtained from the VSI drive and the second by means of
voltage/frequency relationship of the stator as inputs and it is trained for a current transducer based on the Hall effect. With all these consider-
a collection of loads. The answer of the net will generate the estimate ations, the ANN will have the stator current and V=f relationship as
of the speed and torque. inputs and the speed and motor torque as outputs. The final structure
of the ANN used is that of a feedforward net with three layers, the first
II. ESTIMATION OF THE SPEED BASED ON ANNS one formed by two neurons (inputs I1 and V1 =f1 ), the second one by
ten neurons to reach the objective of the stipulated error (<1003 ), and
The neural network technique is based on a learning process [3]. the third one by two neurons to give the speed outputs and estimated
Neural networks have the advantages of extremely fast parallel com- torque.
The way of training the ANN consists of taking training data cor-
Manuscript received January 22, 2000; revised April 1, 2001. Abstract pub-
lished on the Internet July 31, 2001.
responding to the whole range of motor operation. For example, if the
J. R. Heredia is with the Departamento de Tecnología Electrónica, Univer- motor is loaded with an specific load, we should vary the frequency
sidad de Málaga, 29013 Málaga, Spain (e-mail: juan from 0 Hz until a maximum frequency with small increments. We will
F. Perez Hidalgo and J. L. Duran Paz are with the Departamento de then obtain a data vector containing the speed and stator current. We
Ingeniería Electrica, Universidad de Málaga, 29013 Málaga, Spain (e-mail:; will use this vector to train the ANN. The last operations will be car-
Publisher Item Identifier S 0278-0046(01)08788-3. ried out for different loads. To cover the whole range of operation of

0278–0046/01$10.00 © 2001 IEEE


Fig. 1. Block diagram of the control using the speed and torque estimated by ANN.

Fig. 2. Response of the motor. (a) Response for a constant load and for a speed target of 1000 r/min. (b) Response for different loads and speed (1000 and 800
r/min). (c) Response of the motor to a Foucault brake and the speed error.

the motor, we will choose a significant group of loads that allows the III. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
ANN, once it has carried out the training, to generalize for all the pos- A block diagram of the control using the information estimated by
sible loads and speeds. the ANN is shown in Fig. 1. The control model proposed has been

carried out on an induction machine of 220 V and a power of 600 W. PDI control. Finally, in Fig. 2(c) is shown the control response for speed
The control strategy has been implemented using the tools of Matlab variations, using a Foucault brake as a load. The most interesting con-
(toolbox for neural nets) and using a data acquisition card as inter- clusion of all the tests carried out is that the motor response and the one
face between the PC and the system formed by a power inverter and estimated by the net are quite similar, and there is nearly no error in the
the motor. The network has been trained with 20 different loads and a steady state. That shows the capacity that the model has to generalize
range of speed of 0–1500 r/min. A later implementation of the system and to adapt itself to situations not contemplated in the training phase.
using a microcontroller (H83644 by Hitachi) to implement the ANN, The main advantages of controlling an induction motor with ANNs are
and an analogical circuitry to carry out the proportional integral deriva- the following: 1) more accurate models without having to use approx-
tive (PID) control, has allowed the extraction of information about the imations; 2) the neural network learns the real motor behavior, more
calculation times that are around 200 ms to carry out the estimate of the accurately than the approximate one; and 3) once the learning is ac-
speed and torque. A big improvement would be to carry out an analog complished, in the operation phase it is only neccesary to make sums
implementation of the whole system, using operational amplifiers as and multiplications to estimate the speed and torque, and they can be
summers; the resistances would be the weights of the net; in this case made in real time.
the calculation times will be around some microseconds. Concerning
the sampling times, they will be limited by the conversion speed of the REFERENCES
analog–digital converters and, in the case of a completely analog solu-
[1] M. T. Wishart and R. G. Harley, “Identification and control of an induc-
tion, for the response time of the system. Results are very satisfactory tion machine using artificial neural network,” in Conf. Rec. IEEE-IAS
as we can see in Fig. 2(a)–(c). They all show the rotor and estimated Annu. Meeting, Toronto, ON, Canada, Oct. 1993, pp. 703–709.
speed by the ANN when the speed reference changes. Fig. 2(a) repre- [2] B. Burton et al., “Implementation of a neural network to adaptively iden-
sents the motor response for a speed of 1000 r/min and a constant load, tify and control VSI-fed induction motor stator currents,” IEEE Trans.
Ind. Applicat., vol. 34, pp. 580–588, May/June 1998.
belonging to those that were used in the training phase. Fig. 2(b) shows [3] P. Vas, W. Drury, and A. F. Stronach, “A recent developments in artifi-
the same as Fig. 2(a), but for speed changes and loads without previous cial intellegence based drives—A review,” in Proc. PCIM’96, 1996, pp.
training; overdamping shown in Fig. 2(b) is due to the motor inertia and 580–588.