Active Front-end for Profensto, Flanders Make
About the project
Profensto is a research project with the objective of reducing the total cost of ownership of weaving looms, a prevalent and historic industry within Belgium, by adding energy storage components. The Triphase equipment was key for demonstrating one of their electrical storage concepts.
In weaving looms, subsequent acceleration and deceleration of inertial loads give rise to alternating energy flows. If the machine is supplied through an active front end, this alternating power, with typical frequencies between 5 and 20 Hz, is commonly injected into the grid. This approach, employing the grid for energy storage, generates high currents and a correspondingly low power factor.
An alternative strategy to deal with this alternating power is investigated. Instead of injecting it into the grid, it is stored on an adequately sized DC-bus. The active front end is programmed to provide only the average load power, hence minimizing grid currents and maximizing the power factor. Moreover, the active front end itself can be downsized and becomes cheaper, more than compensating for the added capacitor cost.
Solution Configuration and Execution
The AC/DC converter was used as a programmable active front-end, with the AC side connecting to a 3x 400 V grid, and the DC side generating a 600 - 800 V dc bus. By implementing a custom DC-bus control strategy, Profensto was able to buffer the high dynamic peak power drawn by the weaving loom on the DC bus. This significantly reduced the required current rating of the active front end and thereby achieved a near unit power factor and a current THD of 3 %.
5 kW programmable AC/DC converter, including:
3-phase IGBT converter
3-phase LCL filter
Voltage and current measurements
Real time control unit programmable in Matlab/SimulinkTM
Open-source control algorithm for active front-end operation of the AC/DC converter
Training on active front-end operation and tuning of its behaviour
Triphase enabled a validated Proof of Concept demonstration for Profensto by providing the platform and an open-source active front-end controller algorithm. This was delivered to Profensto as a turn-key system, ready to be connected to the weaving loom. This approach enabled Profensto to demonstrate their test output quickly, clearly and convincingly.
“The Triphase open platform was very easy to work with. The GUI and reports were excellent for demo purposes, making the results clear and convincing for the Profensto testing, POC and presentation of results.’’
Senior Research Engineer, Flanders Make vzw
About Flanders Make
Flanders Make is the strategic research centre in Belgium for the manufacturing industry. They conduct research in mechatronics, product development methods and production technologies. Their mission is to contribute to new products and processes that help realise the vehicles, machines and factories of the future.