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Synchronous reluctance motor technology: industrial opportunities, challenges and future direction

Synchronous reluctance motor technology: industrial opportunities, challenges and future direction

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In recent years, the desire for high efficiency and high torque density electric motors without permanent magnet (PM) materials for the industrial, as well as the specialist product sectors, has increased significantly and has developed into a hot research topic. This article discusses a re-emergent type of AC electrical machine, the synchronous reluctance machine. Current EU legislation aims to tackle global energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the synchronous reluctance motor is discussed in this article – Its potential to become the future industry standard for high efficiency, low cost, high output industrial drives for fan, pump and mill type industrial applications is explored. The author will be brought up to speed with synchronous reluctance technology, presented with both its advantages and disadvantages with the suitability of the technology for industry application being discussed and a comparison made with respect to competing technologies – the traditional induction machine and the modern PM machine. Current and future research trends are outlined and a simple engineering case study is also presented as an indication of the energy saving potential of this type of machine. This article aims to inform students, engineers and key-decision makers in industry about this exciting technology.

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