Induction motors can be controlled in many ways. The simplest methods are based on changing the structure of stator winding. Using the so-called wye-delta switch, the starting current can easily be reduced. Another type of switch allows emulation of a gear change by the already-mentioned pole changing, that is, changing the number of magnetic poles of the
stator. However, in modern ASDs, it is the stator voltage and current that are subject to control. These, in the steady state, are defined by their magnitude and frequency; and if these are the parameters that are adjusted, the control technique belongs in the class of scalar control methods. A rapid change in the magnitude or frequency may produce undesirable transient effects, for example a disturbance of the normally constant motor torque. This, fortunately, is not important in low-performance ASDs, such as those of pumps, fans, or blowers. There, typically, the motor speed is open-loop controlled, with no speed sensor required (although current sensors are usually employed in overcurrent protection circuits).

In high-performance drive systems,

in which control variables include the torque developed in the motor, vector control methods are necessary. The concept of space vectors of motor quantities will be explained later. Here, it is enough to say that a vector represents instantaneous values of the corresponding three-phase variables. For instance, the vector of stator current is obtained from the currents in all three phases of the stator and, conversely, all three phase currents can be determined from the current vector. In vector control schemes, space vectors of three-phase motor variables are manipulated according to the control algorithm. Such an approach is primarily designed for maintaining continuity of the torque control during transient states of the drive system.

Needless to say,

vector control systems are more complex than those realizing the scalar control. Voltage and current sensors are always used; and, for the highest level of performance of the ASD, speed and position sensors may be necessary as well. Today, practically all control systems for electric motors are based on digital integrated circuits of some kind, such as microcomputers, microcontrollers, or digital signal processors (DSPs).

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