Due to the convergence of several key technologies, direct driven (i.e. gearless) turbomachines have become established solutions for specific applications. Magnetic bearings are a key element enabling such machine topologies, which has led to increased interest and also understanding of manufacturers and end customers of this technology. Whereas the key benefit of magnetic bearings — contactless levitation — is well known, the fact that using magnetic bearings turns a classic turbomachine into a state-of-the-art mechatronic system with a host of additional possibilities is still not widely accepted. This paper presents the applications, advantages and benefits of enhancing a basic magnetic bearing system by a measurement function that makes full use of magnetic bearings’ built-in instrumentation.

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