The active magnetic bearing is based on the use of forces created by a magnetic field to levitate the rotor without mechanical contact between the stationary and moving parts. A ferromagnetic ring fixed on the rotor “floats” in the magnetic fields generated by the electromagnets, which are mounted as two sets of opposing pairs. The current is transmitted to the electromagnetic coils through amplifiers.

The four electromagnets control the rotor’s position in response to the signals transmitted from the sensors. The rotor is maintained in equilibrium under the control of the electromagnetic forces. Its position is determined by means of sensors which continuously monitor any displacements through an electronic control system.

As in every control system, damping of the loop is provided by means of a phase advance command from one or more differenciating circuits of the position error signal.

The capability of modifying the electromagnetic force both in terms of amplitude and phase leads to the benefit of specific properties for the application, in particular:

- automatic balancing characterized by the rotation of the moving part around its main axis of inertia, and not around the axis of the bearings allowing operation without vibrations,

- adjustable damping of the suspension allowing easy passing of the critical speeds of the rotor,

- high and adjustable stiffness yielding maximum accuracy of rotor equilibrium position,

- permanent diagnosis of machine operation due to the knowledge of all rotation characteristics (speed, loads on the bearings, position of the rotation axis, eccentricity, out-of-balance, disturbance frequency).

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