A primer of Tecnotion Linear Motors

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1 A primer of Tecnotion Linear Motors TECNOTION B.V. PO BOX AA ALMELO THE NETHERLANDS Document nr Version 2.1 Issue Date: September 2008

2 Contents Co Contents Contents...1 Introduction Basic Principles The magnetic circuit The Linear Motor Three Phase Motor Iron Core Linear Motor Ironless Linear motor Linear and rotary motors compared The positioning system Linear motor system Practical considerations...22 DOCUMENT NR

3 Intro I Introduction Linear motors (LM) enable linear movements at high speeds with great accuracy. Most linear motors are used in the machine construction industry and for production automation purposes. In this leaflet the following information can be found: The basic physical principles of linear motors. The 3 phase linear motor considered. A comparison of standard electric (rotary) motors and linear motors. The positioning system A brief description of a linear motor system and some practical considerations. A brief description of both Tecnotion s ironcore and ironless series of linear motors. This leaflet is the first of a series of Three, concerning Tecnotion s Linear Motors. The series consists of the following titles: - A Primer of Linear Motors - Installing Iron Linear Motors - Installing Ironless Linear Motors For further information and support, please contact: TECNOTION B.V. Telephone: +31(0) PO Box 23 Fax: +31(0) AA Almelo The Netherlands DOCUMENT NR

4 Chapter Ch 1. Basic Principles Figure 1: Attraction and repulsion A very well known physical phenomena is the attraction force between a magnet and iron objects. We also know that a magnet influences another magnet nearby. When two permanent magnets are placed in opposition, they will apply a force to each other. Dependent on the position of the poles, they attract or repel each other. Equal poles are repellent and opposite poles are attracting. A linear motor is propelled by similar magnetic thrusts. Besides permanent magnets here also variable magnets are involved. In these so-called electromagnets the variation of the magnetical poles is enabled by using winded copper wire, i.e. a coil, in stead of a permanent magnet. Figure 2: Physical resemblance of permanent magnet and electric coil It is known that a metal wire, winded around a core and conducting an electric current, acts like a magnet. Among others, the produced magnetic force of an electric coil depends on DOCUMENT NR

5 1. the amperage of the current, 2. the number of windings, and 3. the kind of core material. Figure 3: Electromagnetic exiting of a constant and a commutating magnetic field Generally iron is used as core material. It has some very good characteristics for conducting the magnetic field. In fact the iron core can be considered as a magnet itself. In the case of a direct current the core behaves like a permanent magnet. In addition, reversing the phase of the current makes the magnetic poles switch. So an alternating current excites a commutating magnetic field. DOCUMENT NR

6 Chapter Ch 2. The magnetic circuit Comparable to electric circuits we can consider magnetic circuits as well. Below, an elementary magnetic circuit has been drawn. It consists of an iron yoke, with a permanent magnet and an airgap in it. Flux Airgap Pe rm a ne nt magnet Iron Figure 4: Elementary magnetic circuit Let s compare this magnetic circuit with an electric circuit. In this comparison, the magnetic flux is identical to the electric current. The magnetic flux density B can be compared to the electric current density J. A permanent magnet in the circuit can be considered as a fixed tensionsource, like the voltage-source of an electric circuit. Having a high internal resistance this source drives the flux through the circuit. In the considered circuit, the iron of the yoke has a very low resistance and can be used as a magnetic conductor. A difference with the standard electric conductor, copper, is that iron shows saturation. This saturation occurs near a certain flux density (about 2.0 Tesla). Above this value, the magnetic resistance of iron increases rapidly. Air, copper and non-magnetic materials have a high magnetic resistance. Magnetic resistance of a circuit can be determined by the sum of thicknesses of - magnets, - air, and - non-magnetic material DOCUMENT NR

7 Coil Figure 5: Elementary magnetic circuit A coil wound around a magnetic conductor can be considered as a variable tension-source (controlled by coil current), driving the flux through the circuit. In this way coils can be used to make adjustable (electro-) magnets which can be switched and controlled by varying the electrical coil current. Just like a rolling mass the magnetic flux is subject to some kind of inertia. It takes some voltage time to change current and flux, just as a certain time span of force is required to change the velocity of a rolling mass. This effect is known as self-inductance. REMARK: When a permanent magnet and a coil are combined in a magnetic circuit the counterfield of the coil against the permanent magnet flux can damage (demagnetize) the permanent magnet. This is not very critical at room-temperature, but the risk increases dramatically at temperatures above 60 C. DOCUMENT NR

8 Chapter Ch 3. The Linear Motor Keeping in mind the basic priciples of magnetism as mentioned before, we can consider a simple model of a linear motor. Figure 6: Moving principle 1 Suppose we have a movable but non-rotating magnet which can only be moved in a straight horizontal line. Now this magnet is positioned above two fixed magnets as shown left in figure 6. Because of the attracting and repelling thrusts, it will move towards the magnet with the opposite pole pointing upwards. The movement stops when the magnet is positioned right on top of it. Now, changing the poles of the upper magnet, would make the magnet move back to the right. This can be obtained by using a coil as upper magnet, see figure 7 Coil Pe rm a ne nt magnet mounted on a plate Thrust No Thrust Figure 7: Moving principle 2 DOCUMENT NR

9 Figure 8: Linear motor, schematic cross section In a linear motor several coils are mounted in a slide, or coil unit. The slide is movable over a bottom plate. On the entire distance this plate is covered with permanent magnets. The plate, included with the magnet assembly, is called the magnetplate. The length of the magnetplate determines the reach of the linear motor. One of the two main types of linear motors discussed in this leaflet has coils with an iron core. The other main type has an ironless core. Each of the types has its specific qualities. The coil poles are often called the teeth (see figure 9). The coils are supplied with an electric current. As indicated before the slide is thrusted by changing the current phase of each coil. The speed of change allows control of the velocity of the slide. In addition, the amperage of the current is linked to the moving force. So, in- or decreasing the amperage allows control of the motorforce. Slide or coil unit Cross section Coil Bottom view Figure 9: Coil unit with three coils, schematic DOCUMENT NR

10 Chapter Ch 4. Three Phase Motor Different techniques can be applied in order to get an accurate and smooth motion of the slide. The permanent magnets are fixed on the magnetplate, so the phase of the magnetic force of each magnet is invariable. For the coils on the other hand the phase is adjustable. The slide is propagated by commutating the phase of the current. Providing each coil with a suitable phase displacement is one of the appropriate techniques for linear motors. Another point of concern is the position of the teeth in respect to the permanent magnets. Figure 10: Erroneous positioning and phasing In order to find out the right way of positioning and phasing let s first consider the obvious wrong way, schematically depicted in figure 10. Place the teeth in the same pattern and mutual distance as the permanent magnets. In addition, provide the coils with equally phased current. It won t cost the reader a lot of trouble to find out that the slide won t move at all under these conditions. Figure 11: Positioning and phasing for a 3 phase linear motor The principle of the three phase linear motor comes to meet the demands of right positioning and phasing. In figure 11 the teeth are equally positioned in the slide with a ratio 3 to 4 compared to the magnets of the magnetplate. As a result three different groups of teeth can be distinguished. Tooth 1 will continuously have a comparable position as tooth 4. Tooth 2 and 5 are also comparably positioned as well as tooth 3 and 6. Smooth and accurate motion is now obtained by providing a three phase rotary current to the coils, one phase to each group. The phase DOCUMENT NR

11 angle depends on the position of the slide. More in detail, three stages of the motor s motion can be represented as follows: Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Figure 12: Stages of the 3 phase linear motor s motion In the first stage the teethgroups 1/4 (north) and 2/5 (south) are active in generating thrust. After a move to the right, teethgroup 2/5 cannot contribute anymore. The phase has to be changed to null. Now, at stage 2, teethgroups 1/ 4 (north) and 3/6 (phase changed to south) generate the thrust. According to this hand-over-hand scheme the motor can travel over longer distances, depending on the length of the magnet plate. DOCUMENT NR

12 The required current through the coils is a rotary current. Usually this is represented as a clock- or counter clockwise running arrow in a XY-graphic. Y 1. c. 3. α. X 2. Figure 13: Graphical representation of the coil s current. In figure 13 arrow 1 is related to the current in coilgroup 1/4. As the commutation angle a changes, the position of arrow 1 alters, as well as its projection on the Y- axis. This projection (c) depicts the magnitude and the direction of the current, from which can be derived that the current is related to the sine of the angle a. Arrow 2 and 3 are successively related to coilgroups 2/5 and 3/6. The differential commutation angle between two successive coils is fixed. It differs 120. So the the different coilgroups are synchronously powered. An extended outline of this representation is given in table 1. As you can see here the differential commutation angle between two successive stages as depicted in figure 12 is -60. In this difference the coil s current is related to its position on the magnet plate. So it is necessary to know the relative position of the coils with respect to the permanent magnets in order to obtain the required thrust. Therefore a linear motor must be magnetically aligned. There are three methods to obtain this information at start-up: 1. Is to use an absolute position encoder. 2. Measure the magnetic field with Hall-sensors fixed with the coils. 3. Determine the position by exiting the coils with test currents and measure the motors reaction wake-and-shake. This requires the motor to move freely. DOCUMENT NR

13 Stage Phase 1 (Current Coils 1&4) 1 Phase 2 (Current Coils 2&5) Phase 3 (Current Coils 3&6) etc etc etc etc Table 1: Phase of the coil s current at different stages of the motion. Final remark: It will be clear that the coil unit of a 3 phase linear motor houses a threefold of coils. One of the distinctions between the various types of motors concerns the amount of triple coils. DOCUMENT NR

14 4.1. Iron Core Linear Motor Figure 14: Ironcore coil unit with magnetplate, example TL This type of motor has a low magnetic resistance. The ironcore and the magnet closing plate are excellent flux conductors, so only the magnets and a single airgap contribute to the resistance in the circuit. Due to this low resistance the ironcore motor s operation invloves a strong flux, yielding high forces and an excellent efficiency. That makes this type a real workhorse with the following main features: high peak force density, high continuous force density, and relatively low heat dissipation. Coil Airgap Figure 15: Ironcore linear motor, schematic cross section This motor type shows however attraction force of roughly twice to triple the maximum thrust force. This attraction force has to be withstand, for instance by bearings, while maintaining the correct airgap between coilunit and magnet plate. DOCUMENT NR

15 A second effect of the ironcore is cogging. Unless careful balancing, the ironcore has always preferred positions with respect to the magnets. Moving the ironcore along the magnet track, gives a slight feeling of moving over an old-fashioned washing board. Actually cogging is no problem for most of the applications because it can entirely compensated by a sophisticated feedback loop. Because of the high flux, the motor has a considerable induction. This is convenient for smoothing the current and allowing an economic amplifier, but it requires appropriate voltage for very sudden force changes. With this type of linear motor there can be reached speeds of up to 10 m/s. DOCUMENT NR

16 4.2. Ironless Linear motor Figure 16: Ironless linear motor, example UL In stead of a magnet plate the ironless motor is applied with a magnet yoke, comparable with a sandwich of two magnet plates. The ironless coil unit moves freely through the yoke s groove. Figure 17: Ironless linear motor, schematic cross section In comparison with the just described ironcore motor the characteristics of the ironless type is mainly influenced by the dissimilar magnetical resistance. In this type the resistance is formed by the magnet height, two airgaps plus the coil s thickness. This results in a relative high magnetic resistance causing a low magnetic flux. Therefore this type is characterized by: a moderate peak force density, a low continuous force density, and more heat dissipation compared to the ironcore. Especially the continuous force of such a motor is much lower than that of an ironcore. First by the higher heat dissipation, second by the worse heat conduction to ambient. DOCUMENT NR

17 On the other hand, because the design is balanced and the coil section contains no magnetic material, the motor has no attraction force at all, and there is absolutely no cogging. The only force generated is the thrust force. Because of the high magnetic resistance, the coil s inductivity is relatively low allowing high rates of change for very quick movements and very quick reactions to disturbance forces. These characteristics make that this motor is very dynamic, and achieves very short settlingtimes and high speeds. Due to this ability of quick changes, the motor requires also a quick and accurate controller and amplifier for obtaining accurate control. A disadvantage of this type is that the sandwich requires a double row of magnets making the magnetyokes rather expensive compared to the ironcore types. DOCUMENT NR

18 Chapter Ch 5. Linear and rotary motors compared Figure 18: A rotary motor opened up and laid out flat It will be notified that a linear motor is based on the same physical principles as the normal rotary electric motor 1. In fact a linear motor is a rotary motor opened up and laid out flat (see figure 18). Hereby the rotor is transformed into the magnettrack. The torque has become a linear force and so the rotary movement has changed to a flat movement. Because of its flat topology the main advantage of the linear motor is apparent. It generates a direct linear movement. Whereas a rotary motor needs some kind of transmission to provide a linear motion, the linear motor directly provides it. 1 Meant here is an electric motor with a wired rotor and sliding contact, whereas the stator consist of permanent magnets. DOCUMENT NR

19 The direct drive results in some significant advantages. Accurate position control and response is possible at submicron level. A linear motor provides a smooth and controlled motion. No velocity ripple. In comparison with standard rotary motor systems a high velocity and acceleration performance is obtained. This is due to the high ratio of peak force to motor inertia. Except for the side bearings there is no contacting surface. Friction is negligible, virtually no wear. The only limitation on travel displacements is the length of the magnet track. Since the track can be extended with more magnet plates this limitation mostly is virtual. In the case of added length there are no speed limitations nor is there a higher inertia or lower dynamic stiffness. DOCUMENT NR

20 Chapter Ch 6. The positioning system Linear motor applications require a sophisticated position and velocity feedback. A linear encoder and a servo controller are taken up in the positioning system. The position of the slide is detected by a ruler-probe combination. The linear encoder returns this information to the servo controller. Figure 19: Feedback, delay-time and accuracy To have some impression of the positioning system a superficial comparison could be made with the speed control of an automobile. The information of the traffic sign (1) is detected and interpreted by the driver (2) and translated into an adjustment of the gas pedal (3). This results in an adjustment of the motor force (4) and consequently of the rotation speed of the wheels (5). The actual speed information is returned to the driver by the speedometer (6). As long as the desired speed is not gained this specific loop back situation is maintained. What a linear motor system concerns the measurement unit could be compared with the driver s visual system. The measurement probe detects the position and the linear encoder translates it into the right position information. The input ports of the servo-controller act like the eye-nerves. Here the position information is returned to the drivers brains, the very servo-controller. In the controller this information is processed and translated into an appropriate voltage signal to the linear motor, comparable with the gas pedal movement. Because the linear motor needs a powerful input this signal is provided by an amplifier. A bigger amplifier supplies a larger peak force, just like a more powerful car engine produces more horse powers. Comparable with car dynamics the acceleration of a linear motor depends on the ratio of the amplifier power and the total moving load. It should be notified that the voltage signal to the linear motor is provided in the form of pulses with a fixed switching frequency and a fixed voltage. So the pulse width is the parameter to be regulated. DOCUMENT NR

21 The position information provided by the probe is incremental. So the linear motor has to do without the absolute position of the slide. Especially when starting a motor operation this could be problematical. Therefore the slide is activated to some minimal test movement. This earlier mentioned magnetic alignment supplies the positioning system with the required information. DOCUMENT NR

22 Chapter Ch 7. Linear motor system Overview Cable chain Shock damper End switch Bearing Magnet plate Measurement ruler Measurement probe Rail Coil unit Figure 20: Ironcore linear motor system, example A linear motor usually is part of a bigger system. This system enables controlled movement. A complete linear motor system consists at least of the following parts: A mounting frame A magnet track build up out of at least two magnet plates. A set of linear guides that support the slide and its load. A positioning system consisting of a servo controller, a measurement ruler and probe for position detection and a linear encoder for position feedback to the servo controller. A coil unit, water cooled if needed. This slide carries the functional load. Safety end dampers and switches to stop the movement in case of malfunctions. In the next paragraph some practical considerations concerning these items will be discussed. DOCUMENT NR

23 Chapter Ch 8. Practical considerations A PART OF A TOTAL MACHINE CONCEPT A linear motor of Tecnotion is not a system on itself. It should be build within a total machine concept or a working unit. Depending on the application a choice has to be made between different systems. Therefore it is important to know the specifications of both the total machine concept and the linear motor types. The machine should meet all the applicable CE requirements. MOUNTING FRAME: SOLIDITY AND STABILITY For two main reasons the mounting frame has to meet special requirements. The propelling peak forces of a linear motor are high, so the frame needs sufficient dynamic stiffness. Because of the accuracy the frame should be insensible to shocks and vibrations. Usually the magnet plate is horizontally fixed to the base of a machine or working unit. The slide will bear a functional load, Figure 21: Ironcore linear motor system such as a measurement unit or a laser cutter. Because of this load, the cabling and optional cooling lines the ratio of peak force to motor inertia could be influenced a little. It will be obvious that a vertical position of a linear motor system demands special considerations. If desired contact Tecnotion. DOCUMENT NR

24 RAILS AND BEARINGS To assure a free movement of an ironcore motor the slide has to be provided with bearings that run smoothly on two rails, or with air bearings. The rails are mounted aside the magnet plate. In addition this construction ensures the right air gap between the coil unit and the magnet plate. For the sideward positioning of the coil unit to the magnet plates a small tolerance is acceptable. When using Ironless linear motors, there is much more freedom in the construction then when using ironcore because the ironless motors show no attraction force. Many applications can do with one single ball-bearing rail. As long as mechanical contact is prevented the position of this bearing relative to the motor axis is indifferent. More important is the position of the motor with respect to the centre of mass. A large distance can cause rotational oscillations. Figure 22: Several types of linear motors HEAT DISSIPATION Heat dissipation is a very important issue both for ironcore and ironless motors. Important but difficult as well. Every linear motor produces heat. There are some aspects to consider: The heat is particularly produced in the coils. It spreads through the coils to the aluminium frame and from the coil unit surface to the sled, the air and - partly - to the magnet track. Heat flow causes temperature differences. The heat has to flow as easily as possible to ambient, in order to keep operational temperature low. If possible, the route of the heat conduction should be traced. Temperature differences might lead to expansion of materials. This can be unacceptable for accuracy or other reasons. Sometimes, without cooling an unacceptable heat up of the coil unit could occur. This could result in lower performance, thermal safety stops and even damage to your motor system. High temperatures might also disturb electronics. The DOCUMENT NR

25 allowed temperature increase for your application, especially for the coil unit, should be determined. Generally, the heat flow can be optimised by the following measures. By using a heat sink compound when mounting the coil unit, by directing ventilation in the air gap between the magnets, by applying air- or water-cooling channels in the mounting surface of the coil unit. All coil units are fitted with a temperature sensor. ACCURACY The accuracy of the positioning system is crucial, since the linear motor is supposed to be controlled at submicron level. For instance the accuracy can be influenced by heat expansion of the coil unit, by vibrations and shocks from the surroundings or by a lack of stiffness of the mounting frame. Generally the main restriction for the accuracy arises from this lack of stability. Like most mechanical systems a linear motor deals with mechanical resistance, elasticity and inertia. Because of the feedback of position and velocity it also deals with measuring accuracy and certain delay times. For instance the controller has to deal with some delay because of processor and update times. Accuracy could also be limited by the fixed pulse frequency of the servo-amplifier. Of course the linear ruler and the measurement probe should meet the desired accuracy. This requires a sophisticated ruler-probe combination. The probe should be mounted as close as possible to the working point of the complete moving unit (slide + load). The probe sends signals to the linear encoder, whereby the encoder has a resolution time. At last the linear motor itself is an electromagnetic device. It deals with resistance and self-inductance. This implies that the current in the coils always lags behind the provided voltage signal. Since the magnetic force is directly linked to the current this means that the motor force also lags behind. Applying a servo controller with a sophisticated current regulator could minimize this lag-effect. All these items affect the accuracy of the linear motor, its small signal behaviour. SERVOCONTROLLER Tecnotion linear motors can be combined with most common types of 3 phase AC servo controllers, provided that - the servo controller can co-operate with a high resolution linear encoder, - the servo controller can perform the magnetic alignment at startup. BRAKING AND DAMPING High velocities are gained at short distances. In normal conditions dynamic braking is provided by a reversed electromagnetic force. However, for short DOCUMENT NR

26 runouts braking and damping could be necessary. In certain conditions, for instance a loss of electrical power, this could be critical for safety. Figure 23: Ironcore motor, sledge, bearings and ruler, detail MAGNETIC FLUX AND DISTANCE Just like a rotary motor a linear motor is propagated by an electro-magnetical force. Magnets produce a so called magnetic flux, which can be considered as the density of the magnetic field. This counts for the permanent magnet as well as the electromagnetic coil. The magnetic field is densest in the direct vicinity of the magnetic pole, typically several thousand Gauss. This flux usually diminishes rapidly when measured at some centimetres from the magnet pole. Since the magnetic force depends directly on the magnetic flux, it is important to keep the gap between coil unit and magnet plate small. The gap can vary a little without loosing much performance. COGGING The permanent magnets produce an attraction force to all magnetic materials in the vicinity. When the coil unit contains such materials, f.i. the iron core, the motor force could be influenced. Because of the separate positioning of the magnets on the magnet plate, the magnetic field is not homogenous. So, dependent of the position of the magnets the motor force will be disturbed. Such position dependent disturbance could make the slide cog. Tecnotion sophisticated design meets with the problems of cogging. CAREFUL INSTALLATION Installing a linear motor should be done very cautious. Read the installation manual carefully. Installation only by qualified personal. Special attention should be given to the strong magnetic field in the vicinity of the magnet plates. These plates should be handled with care and with proper tools. Beware of the fact that materials or clothes get jammed between magnet plate and iron objects. For mounting and dismounting purposes magnetic field neutralizing protection plates are to be used. Carefully follow the installation instructions of the applied servo controller and DOCUMENT NR

27 linear encoder. Electronic wiring, such as the sensor cable, should be shielded or combined to twisted pairs in order to reduce the influence of EMI. Figure 24: Ironless linear motor system (UC3) DOCUMENT NR

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