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Oil- and contact-free drive for chiller compressors

13 September 2015

SKF has introduced a magnetic system that ensures an oil- and contact-free drive for centrifugal compressors used in chillers.

Combining a high-speed permanent magnet motor and active magnetic bearings with integrated controls, the magnetic system can operate with variable speed drives from various manufacturers to deliver energy savings of at least 10 percent. In addition, the system’s vibration- and nearly friction-free performance ensures quiet operation.

Electromagnets levitate the compressor shaft, allowing it to rotate without contact, avoiding the losses that occur with oil-lubricated bearings.

The system’s active magnetic bearings are capable of speeds in excess of 40,000rpm, and can accommodate instant and frequent start-ups and transient surge forces. An active control system tracks and maintains rotor position to within a micron-sized orbit up to 15,000 times per second.

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