Magnetic bearings 18-6

Most of us have seen an application of magnetic bearings in watt-hour meters used by electric utilities to monitor  home power consumption. This same principal can be used to support the rotating shaft in a centrifugal pump application.

Designs using permanent magnets have not been proven practical. The only successful magnetic bearings use a continuous power input and an active control system to hold the load stable.

In a typical application, two radial magnetic bearings support and position the shaft in the radial  directions, and one supports and positions the shaft along the axial direction (thrust)

An active magnetic bearing (AMB) consists of:

Advantages of magnetic bearings:

Disadvantages of magnetic bearings:

Current magnetic bearings are heavy and costly. Companies like Avcon, Waukeshaw and SKF are working on smaller and less costly designs to tap into the huge rotating equipment field.

With the pumping industry as competitive as it is, It’s going to be some time before we see them in conventional pumping applications.

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