Students at World's Largest University Research Center Utilize New (ABB) Drives | Automation.com

Students at World's Largest University Research Center Utilize New (ABB) Drives

July 252005
Electrical engineering students at University of Wisconsin - Madison advance motor-control studies, utilizing latest drives technology, courtesy of donation from ABB

MADISON, WI, July 25, 2005 - WEMPEC, the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium, is now incorporating the newest drive technology available into five test benches that support the electrical engineering curriculum and studies of undergraduate and graduate students attending the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

The new ABB industrial drives, ACS800 units, were just delivered to WEMPEC, and students in the summer graduate program began incorporating them into new test benches immediately for use in Fall with returning students. Every bench will be outfitted to power a total of seven motors.

WEMPEC, formed in 1981, is the world's largest university research center dedicated to the study of electrical machines and power electronics. "Motor drives are a critical part of the research, curriculum and work," according to Dr. Thomas Lipo, professor and co-director of WEMPEC. "So providing students access to the most current technology available provides them the tools that are at work in the marketplace now."

Access to Technology, Ideas -
"It's a two-way exchange that benefits manufacturers like ABB, as well as this lab and the university," said Kalyan Gokhale, in presenting the drives. Gokhale, who is the head of Research and Development at ABB Inc., Low Voltage Drives, New Berlin, Wisconsin, noted that WEMPEC members receive research reports and "have access to faculty employees to discuss technical issues and cutting-edge research developments." Graduate students also work as summer interns at WEMPEC member companies, he said.

"We are delighted to receive the technology, and the timing segues right into the fall semester," said Dr. Bob Lorenz, professor and co-director of WEMPEC with Dr. Tom Lipo. "We know that the ability to offer students both a deep immersion in theory and lab work prepares them for electrical engineering jobs at companies like ABB," he said. "So the importance of having little-to-no distance between this school and the workplace is paramount in importance."

Participation in summer programs and national energy contests are additional ways WEMPEC introduces students to their peers around the country. "Our objective is to familiarize them with how learning here can translate directly to work and applications that rely on a thorough understanding of power electronics and how energy conversion works," Lorenz said. "They will work on the energy future."

Smart Energy Usage Via Precise Motor Control -
Adjustable Speed Drives (ASDs) are used in any application in which there is mechanical equipment powered by motors; the drives provide extremely precise electrical motor control, so that motor speeds can be ramped up and down, and maintained, at speeds required; doing so utilizes only the energy required, rather than having a motor run at constant (fixed) speed and utilizing an excess of energy. These benefits help motor users realize 25-70 percent energy savings, according to ABB experts.

The proprietary technology called Direct Torque Control, built into the industrial drives ABB donated, is an example of what WEMPC wants to introduce to students. "DTC delivers full torque to a motor at zero speed, and that is a remarkable capability when you need to control applications
such as rubber mixers or centrifuges," Gokhale said.

The Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium was initiated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January 1981. WEMPEC is comprised of a technology focus center at the university that is sponsored by companies that hold an interest in electric machines and power
electronics. These sponsors help support an active program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. With a mission to provide education, research and service, WEMPEC continues to serve as a model for programs dependent on a strong interaction between universities and industry. See: www.wempec.wisc.edu

ABB Inc., Automation Technologies, Automation Products, Low-Voltage Drives, is the world's largest manufacturer of electric motors and drives. In the USA, an integrated channel of sales representatives, distributors, and system integrators allow ABB, New Berlin, Wis., to supply a complete line of energy-efficient electric drives, motors and engineered drive systems to a wide range of industrial and commercial customers. Products manufactured include AC and DC variable speed drives for electric motors from 1/8th through 135,000 HP, and application-specific drive system solutions to meet diverse customer needs(www.abb-drives.com).

ABB (www.abb.us) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 112, 000 people. The company's U.S. operations employ about 9,000 in manufacturing and other facilities in 40 states.

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