Principle of active magnetic bearings

Active magnetic bearings (AMBs) levitate the rotational part of the electric motor using electromagnetic forces. By levitating the rotor there is no metal-to-metal contact between the rotating and stationary parts. This significantly increases energy efficiency and reduces the maintenance costs of high-speed motors. The need for high shaft speed is one of the factors that call for magnetic bearing over more traditional bearing types.

The magnetic bearing system is levitating the rotational part of the machine. Levitation allows low-maintenance operation. Built-in sensors are ready for condition monitoring and enable predictive maintenance. Magnetic bearing technology helps customers to significantly increase their solutions’ system efficiency, reduce material consumption and minimize maintenance costs. Customer’s equipment lifecycle costs are reduced by 35% with the magnetic bearing solution.


Higher system efficiency 

The need to increase the energy efficiency of the industrial processes is growing due to both economic and environmental reasons. About 70% of the lifetime costs of industrial equipment come from electricity bills and maintenance costs. These costs are directly affecting end-users profitability.

In a number of industrial applications, high rotational speed increases overall process efficiency, provides reduced energy consumption and smaller size machinery. Other related benefits are easier transportation, installation and reduced material consumption. However, with higher rotational speeds friction losses are significantly growing. To eliminate those the magnetic bearing levitation is applied, which reduces the power losses. Thus, magnetic bearing enables higher running speeds and higher efficiencies compared to conventional bearings.

Active magnetic bearing (AMB) is a type of contactless and frictionless bearing. It uses actively controlled magnetic forces to achieve levitation. By levitating the rotor there is no contact between the rotating and stationary parts.    Active magnetic bearings working principle  The suspended rotor is magnetically levitated and its position is monitored and controlled by the AMB system. The electromagnetic...

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Maintenance-free system

Traditional bearings are one of the major sources of problems and downtime of high-speed motors. Wearing of the rotational part components is eliminated with the magnetic bearing solution. They enable the ultimate mean time between failures in the harshest applications. No mechanical contact means that magnetic bearing systems spin faster without need for lubrication. Active magnetic bearings enable 20 years of maintenance-free operation.


“No mechanical contact means that magnetic bearing systems spin faster without need for lubrication. Active magnetic bearings enable 20 years of maintenance-free operation.“



Oil-free Operation 

Most of the OEMs are using technologies that cannot provide the highest rotational speeds and cannot operate in the industries, where an oil-free solution is a compulsory requirement. SpinDrive’s active magnetic bearing is completely oil-free, which allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to enter rapidly growing markets and ensure contaminant-free operation.

Magnetic bearing technology is among the few offerings that can enable completely oil-free compressed air according to ISO 8573-1 Class 0. Magnetic bearing technology is also the only one that can do that without massive maintenance requirements.

SpinDrive’s magnetic bearing is one of the components in the OEM unit. The end-users purchase the required equipment from OEMs. For example, a car manufacturer requires oil-free air for the painting work at their assembly line. They purchase oil-free turbocompressor from the OEM. OEMs distribute, install and commission the equipment at the automotive manufacturer factories. SpinDrive’s active magnetic bearing works as a component inside the turbocompressor.


Condition monitoring 

Condition monitoring system with built-in sensors is constantly gathering data of the equipment status enabling predictive maintenance. SpinDrive’s magnetic bearing technology provides easy integration with the Internet of Things (IoT) services. It includes sensors and controller, which can be integrated into online equipment condition monitoring.

The analyzed operational data allows preventing customer’s equipment breakdown and eliminates associated costs. The software platform analyses the data from the machine. This allows monitoring the condition not only of the electrical machine itself but also the working tools connected to the rotor as well as the performance of the process. It learns with the number of the magnetic bearing system working hours and predicts the need to make maintenance more precisely with more available operating data.



Janne Heikkinen portrait

Author: Dr. Janne Heikkinen



Click the links to learn more about additional topics:

What is active magnetic bearing?

Magnetic bearings FAQ

Applications of active magnetic bearings

Customized design for active magnetic bearings