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Electric Drives and Electromechanical Systems

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Electrical drives play an important role as electromechanical energy converters a wide range of applications, for example machine tools in manufacturing industries, photocopies, CD player, electric windows in the car, prosthetic hands and other medical devices; some are obvious other not so, until the they fail. It is critically important that the correct drive is matched to the application with due regard to its requirements. 

With the recent developments in power semiconductors and microprocessors with signal processing capabilities, the technology of the modern drive system has changed dramatically in recent years. However, the selection of a drive system relies on a systems approach – without which, it is highly probable that either the mechanical, electrical or electronic elements will not be fully considered. 

A complete drive system consists of many different components, hence this book has been structured to present a logical discussion, on a wide range of topics relating to selectionof the completemotor-drive system. It does not, however, extend to a detailed consideration of control and electromagnetic theory; if the reader wishes to pursue this path many excellent books are available, some of which are highlighted in the bibliography. 

The structure of the book is as follows. Chapter 1 gives a brief overview of the problems that need to be solved, with particular emphasis on a wide range of electromechanical applications, including machine tools, robotics and related high performance applications.

 Chapters 2 and 3 concentrate on the problem of motor-drive selection, and give an insight into the decisions required during this procedure. It is hoped that this will lift the veil on what is thought by many to be a black art, or on what more commonly falls into the gap between the responsibilities of electrical, electronic, and mechanical engineers.

 Chapter 3 concludes with suitable algorithms to size a wide range of applications. Chapter 4 considers the types, selection and installation of velocity and position transducers, the correct selection of which will have a significant impact on the overall performance of the system.

 In order to illustrate the various points in the chapters, use has been made of a range of numerical examples, and hopefully these will show how the theory can be applied. While the initial chapters concentrate on the mechanical aspects of a drive application, the second part of the book concentrates on the main classes of drives, which are available, and are used, to drive the applications discussed in Chapter 1.

The technologies considered include: the brushed motor (Chapter 5), brushless motors (Chapter 6), vector controlled induction motors (Chapter 7), and the stepper motor (Chapter 8). In addition a of motor-drives fall outside this rather arbitrary classification system, and these are considered in Chapter 9.

 It should be recognised that some of the larger drive systems have been omitted, due to the application domain being restricted to small or medium sized applications. Within each of theses chapters there is a review of the relevant theory, and an examination of the specific drive and control requirements. 

Finally the book concludes with Chapter 10, which briefly reviews the theory and architecture of current controllers, including the programmable logic controller (PLC). Due to the increasing reliance on decentralised control within many application domains, a review of network technologies and their current standards are presented. The production of a book such as this is not a solitary affair although it tends to be at times.

 I must acknowledge the help and assistance given by my colleagues in industry and academia; finally I would particularly like to acknowledge my wife Lucy and my daughter Emma for their continued support throughout the writing period.