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Using Technology to Save Energy in Motion Control Systems

IR's integrated power modules replace 20 discrete parts and provide a complete power stage for energy-efficient appliances and light industrial equipment driven by variable speed motors. Packaged in a single in-line package (SIP), the IRAM family is optimized for 400W to 2500W motor drives.

In his kickoff presentation in the plenary session at the Applied Power Electronics Conference in Austin Texas, March 7, Alex Lidow, Chief Executive Officer, International Rectifier, noted that motors consume over 51% of the energy in the United States. In many cases, these are single-phase induction motors and much of the energy is spent just rotating the motors and during acceleration or deceleration the energy consumption increases even further. He says, "If we could exchange all these motors in the world with variable speed motors, dc brushless motors, conceivably you could save about half of this energy used in motors – which is approximately 10% of all the world's electricity."

Unfortunately, he observes that improvements in efficiency essentially have to be done for free. This means that the system has to cost the same or the consumer will not buy it just for the energy savings. He suggests that engineers can save cost at the system level by eliminating mechanical items such belts, pulleys, and gears. By working with motor makers to reduce the cost of the motor and still provide the performance, the torque per amp the application needs, the increased cost of power electronics can be offset providing cost neutral, efficient products for motor controls in appliances and transportation.

Motor Conference
To learn more about improvements in motor controls, the 2005 International Electric Machines and Drives Conference (IEMDC) will be held in San Antonio, Texas on May 15-18. Co-sponsored by the IEEE's Industrial Application Society, Industrial Engineering Society, Power Electronics Society, and Power Engineering Society, IEMDC technical papers address the latest developments in design, analysis, materials
utilization, and optimization techniques for electrical machines, machine drive systems, and drive components. The conference's exhibit area is open on May 16 to 18. For more info go to

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