The successful industrial application of flexible rotors supported on active magnetic bearings (AMBs) requires careful attention not only to rotordynamic design aspects, but also to electromagnetic and feedback control design aspects. This paper describes the design, construction and modeling process for an AMB test rig which contains a 1.23m long flexible steel rotor, with a mass of 44.9 kg and two gyroscopic disks. The rotor typifies a small industrial centrifugal compressor designed to operate above 12,000 rpm and the first bending natural frequency. There are four AMBs — two AMBs at the shaft ends to support the shaft with a combined load capacity of 2600N and two additional AMBs at the mid and quarter spans to allow for the application of simulated destabilizing fluid or electromagnetic forces to the rotor. Simulated aerodynamic cross coupling stiffness values are to be applied to the rotor through these two internal AMBs with the goal of developing stabilizing robust controllers. The unique design allows multiple support and disturbance locations providing the ability to represent a variety of machine configurations, e.g., between bearing and overhung designs. The shaft transfer function in lateral movement has been developed with finite element model and then verified by experimental frequency response measurements. Models for the power amplifiers, position sensors, signal conditioning and data converter hardware were developed, verified experimentally and included in the overall system model. A PID controller was developed and tuned to levitate the rotor and enable further system characterization.

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