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Industry Forum

by Eiji Yamamoto, Hidenori Hara, Takahiro Uchino, Masahiro Kawaji, Tsuneo Joe Kume, Jun Koo Kang, and Hans-Peter Krug

Development of MCs and Its Applications in Industry

he matrix converter (MC) is an ac-to-ac direct power conversion system that can generate variable-voltage, variable-frequency output. The MC is fully regenerative except for nonregenerative, reduced switch-count type. Its environmentally friendly nature has attracted power electronics engineers and researchers. Through continuous R&D efforts, Yaskawa Electric Corporation has commercialized low-voltage and mediumvoltage MCs. In addition to unique technologies that differentiate MC from other conventional drives, this column also describes some new technologies developed through commercialization. General features of low-voltage and medium-voltage MC products and their applications are also introduced. An MC is a direct power conversion system that can generate variablevoltage and variable-frequency output from the ac power source. The topology presented here is fully regenerative and has a sinusoidal input current with a unity power factor. Figure 1 shows the main circuit of an MC. An MC system consists of an input LC filter and nine bidirectional switches without large dc-link components. The switch symbol in Figure 1 represents a bidirectional switch that typically consists of two antiparallel devices such

as RB-IGBTs or series-connected IGBTdiode pair. IGBTs with reverse blocking capability have advantages of lower power loss and smaller size over conventional series-connected IGBT-diode pair. A voltage clamp circuit is used to protect the bidirectional switches from excessive voltage. These switches control the output voltages and frequency as well as input currents by a suitable pulsewidth modulation (PWM) technique, which keeps the input current continuous with low harmonics. Since the introduction of the MC concept by Venturini in 1980 [1], this technology has been widely studied [2][14]. Through continuous R&D efforts, Yaskawa Electric Corporation became one of the first companies to have successfully commercialized the MC product. In this column, the control method of low-voltage and medium-voltage MCs is first described. Next, their specifications are introduced and their features are compared with the conventional drives. Finally, typical applications where advantages of the MC help fulfill the required function are described.

voltage and input current in threephase to three-phase direct conversion system for the low-voltage MC. Then, the topology and control techniques for a medium-voltage MC are explained. Control of Low-Voltage MC The characteristics of an MC are strongly dependent on its control method. Since an MC has no energystorage elements, its input and output strongly interfere with each other. The input current varies according to the change in the output voltage and current. Therefore, the input power factor and current distortion of the MC depend on the load condition and operating point. With an adequate control technique, the input currents can be controlled independent of the output. A number of control methods have been reported [15], [16]. Our modulation method is based on what is described in [15] and [16]. Depending on the control methods, the characteristics are different. The control methods used for the product offered by Yaskawa Electric Corporation are described in this section. The input and output voltages are defined as shown in Figure 1. Consider an input phase angle where Ea > Eb > 0 > Ec. This leads to Ea Emax, Eb Emid and Ec Emin. Similarly, Vmax is the output maximum voltage, Vmid is the output middle voltage, and Vmin is the output minimum voltage.

Control Principle
There are various control algorithms for the MC that depend on the system configuration. This section first explains the control techniques of output

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MIE.2011.940249 Date of publication: 25 March 2011



Voltage Clamp Circuit

S11 S21 S31 Ea Eb Ec Ii_a Ii_b Ii_c S12 S22 S32 S13 S23 S33 Input Filter Bidirectional Switches = OR VU VV VW IO_U IO_V IO_W M

FIGURE 1 The main circuit of an MC.

Figure 2 shows the PWM waveform of the two-phase modulation methods for one PWM cycle (Ts). It is assumed that switches S13 and S23 in Figure 1 are always turned off and S33 is always turned on. In Figure 2, dEmax is the input line-to-line voltage between Emax and Emin, and dEmid is that between Emid and Emin. dVmax is the output line-to-line average voltage between Vmax and Vmin, and dVmid is that between Vmid and Vmin. The output voltage is defined by the average value in one switching cycle. The average output line-to-line voltage in each switching cycle is determined based on the input voltage information as follows: dVmax Vmax Vmin 1 (2B dEmid C dEmax ), (1) Ts dVmid Vmid Vmin 1 (2E dEmid F dEmax ): (2) Ts By selecting suitable values for the time intervals B, C, E, and F, a desired PWM output voltage can be obtained.

Ts A S11 S21 S31 Emax Emid Emin D S12 S22 S32 Emax Emid Emin dVmid dEmid dEmax E F E D dVmax dEmid dEmax B C B A

FIGURE 2 Two-phase modulated PWM voltages of the MC. (S13, S23: off, S33: on, Emid > 0.)

Equations (1) and (2) indicate that the output voltages dVmax and dVmid can be controlled by intervals B, C and E, F, respectively. Here the ratios

between B ( E ) and C ( F ) are not necessarily restricted. This degree of freedom is used to control the input current for a given output current.


Multiwinding Transformer



3 3,300 V




Primary : 20 Lead : 20 Lag



FIGURE 3 System configuration of a series-connected multilevel MC.

It can be assumed that the output currents are continuous and constant during one PWM cycle owing to the motor inductance. Under these conditions, the input currents can be written as follows: Iimax Iimid 1 ( CI omax FI omid ), Ts 1 (2BI omax 2EI omid ), Ts (3) (4)

2B 2E Iimid : C F Iimax


input voltage so that the input current distortion is minimized. Topology and Control of the Medium-Voltage MC The Yaskawa medium-voltage MC employs a series-connected multilevel topology. It uses a three-phase input/ single-phase output MC (SPMC) as a basic component called the cell. As shown in Figure 3, multiple numbers of SPMC cells are connected in series to establish one phase of Y-connected output with necessary voltage. A multiwinding transformer supplies the power to each cell. The output voltage of the cell is designed to be 635 V. Connecting three cells in a series, as shown in Figure 4, yields a line-neutral voltage of 1,905 V, which corresponds to a lineline voltage of 3,300 V. The series-connected multilevel MC has the same features as the low-voltage MC. The control

Hence, it becomes possible to control the input current allocation. Each time interval can be obtained as follows: 1 1 A Ts (2B C ), 2 2 1 dVmax B a Ts , 2 a dEmid dEmax C dVmax Ts , a dEmid dEmax (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11)

where the input current that flows into phase Emax is Iimax, the current into phase Emid is Iimid, and the current into phase Emin is Iimin. Similarly, the output current corresponding to Vmax is Iomax, current corresponding to Vmid is Iomid, and current corresponding to Vmin is Iomin. By defining the input current distribution factor a, it is possible to control the input current allocation. Each time interval can be obtained as follows:

1 1 D Ts (2E F ), 2 2 1 dVmid E a Ts , 2 a dEmid dEmax F dVmid Ts : a dEmid dEmax

These intervals are set according to the instantaneous value of the detected


signals from the controller to SPMCs are supplied through optical cables. The medium-voltage MC employs the same PWM method described for the low-voltage MC. Here is a detailed description of the PWM signal for the SPMC. Figure 5(a) shows how the PWM signals are created for the system with three SPMCs in series. Voltage reference signal and PWM trigger signal are commonly provided to all the PWM modulators. The input voltage for each SPMC is fed to the corresponding PWM modulator as a reference for the voltage amplitude and phase angle. The PWM modulator generates PWM signals based on these signals. Figure 5(b) shows the PWM signal waveforms for each SPMC. Figure 5(c) shows a composite signal corresponding to the resulting phase U voltage.

635-V Output

U1 U2 U3 V3 W3 W2 W1 1,905-V/Phase 3,300-V/Line to Line



FIGURE 4 Topology of the multilevel MC and output voltage relationship.

PWM Trigger Voltage Reference Input Voltage: Ein3 PWM Generator PWM Generator PWM Generator (a) U3 SPMC

Input Voltage: Ein2


Input Voltage: Ein1


Product Specifications and Features

As described earlier, two different types of MCs, 1) three-phase input/ three-phase output direct MC for low voltage and 2) series-connected multilevel MC for medium voltage, have been commercialized. Specifications of Low-Voltage MC (Varispeed ac) Figure 6 shows the external view of the low-voltage MC (varispeed ac), employing the circuit structure shown in Figure 1. Standard specifications of varispeed ac are summarized in Table 1. The product lineup has two voltage classes, 200-V class ranging from 9 to 63 kVA and 400-V class from 10 to 114 kVA. The control method has V/f control and vector control with or without a position sensor. When the vector control is selected, torque control is possible. Specifications of Medium-Voltage MC (FSDrive-MX1) Figure 7 shows the external view of the medium-voltage MC. FSDrive-MX1 is composed of a control panel, multiwinding transformer panel, and main circuit panel. The power cells are stacked in the main circuit panel. Standard specifications of FSDrive-MX1

U3 1 0 1 U2 1 0 1 U1 1 0 1 0.00

Time (ms) (b)


3U 2U 1U 0 1 U 2 U 3 U 0.00 Time (ms) (c) 20.00

FIGURE 5 (a) Block diagram of PWM signal generation. (b) PWM signal waveforms for SPMCs. (c) Composite PWM signal corresponding to the total voltage in one phase (U U1 U2 U3).

are shown in Table 2. It has 3.3- and 6.6-kV class, and the rated output ranges from 200 to 6,000 kVA. It occupies only one half of the footprint of

that occupied by a conventional drive system. FSDrive-MX1 has some unique features worth noting. First, the controller


9/17 kVA, 200 V 10/19 kVA, 400 V

33 kVA, 200 V 36 kVA, 400 V

63 kVA, 200 V 67/114 kVA, 400 V

FIGURE 6 An external view of varispeed ac.


Output rating 200-V class 400-V class Input power factor Cooling system Speed control Torque control 963 kVA


10114 kVA 0.95 or higher Forced air cooling by fan V/f control, sensorless vector control Four-quadrant control 150% to 150%

and SPMC are connected by optical fibers for secure insulation. Next, the same standard power cell can be used both for the 3.3-kV class by connecting three cells in series or the 6.6-kV class by connecting six cells in series. In general, an MC requires an input LC filter to reduce PWM component in the power-supply side. In FSDrive-MX1, the reactor is eliminated by using the inductance of a multiwinding transformer. In general, the output voltage of the MC is limited to 0.87 of the input voltage. In FSDrive-MX1, the secondary windings of the transformer are phase shifted by 20 with respect to each other. By adopting the phase shift in secondary windings, voltage utilization in three cells and six cells in series can be improved to approximately 0.95. Figure 8 shows the output voltage waveforms of a 3.3-kV class of drive with and without the phase shift of secondary windings. These waveforms also show that the three-in-series system has 13 levels in line-to-line voltage, which is very close to a sinusoidal wave. Comparison Between PWM ConverterInverter System and the Low-Voltage MC (Varispeed ac) Table 3 shows the comparison of the voltage-source PWM converterinverter system and the low-voltage MC (varispeed ac). Varispeed ac is the same as PWM converterinverter system in power factor (input current waveform) and regeneration capability. Varispeed ac is superior to the PWM converterinverter system in reliability (lifetime), size, and efficiency. The highest reliability is related to the electrolytic capacitor. The size is related to input filter. The overall installation area and weight of varispeed ac is only 55% and 62% of the PWM converterinverter system, respectively. The efficiency is greatly improved from 92.7% to 96.9%. It is quite a high value for an ac drive system with regeneration capability. The reason for a high efficiency is that the conduction, switching, and reactor losses are decreased.

FIGURE 7 External view of FSDrive-MX1 (1,600 kVA, 6,600 V).


Wind Turbine Generator System Varispeed ac has been applied to the wind turbine generator systems. Figure 9 shows an external view and its system configuration. It is driven by a 200-V, 22-kW squirrel-cage induction generator and an MC. Compactness of the turbine design is suitable for installation on the rooftop of buildings and even in an environment as severe as the polar region. Since varispeed ac is an all-in-one acac converter unit containing an input LC filter, it leads to the best combination in creating a compact power generation system. Figure 10 shows the grid-side waveforms and current harmonics and total harmonic distortion (THD) of the MC. Low THD value assures a high-quality power system. External Elevator for Building Construction Another example of varispeed ac application is a building elevator system. It is used for carrying materials and equipment onto each floor of buildings under construction. Figure 11 shows its external view. Two 400-V, 16-kW squirrel-cage induction motors are driven by one MC, hoisting a gondola up and down. A low torque ripple at low speed and the regeneration functions are important features for application to this kind of vertical transportation. The torque ripple is closely related to the commutation sequence between bidirectional switches in the MC. The commutation between switches should be actively controlled under two constraints; 1) avoiding an input line-to-line short circuit and 2) avoiding output open circuits. To satisfy these constraints, multistep commutation strategies are generally needed. As a result, the commutation time becomes longer than the conventional voltage source inverter (VSI), leading to higher output-voltage error. The voltage error causes voltage/ current distortions and torque ripple. Authors proposed an idea to effectively compensate this voltage error [17]. In this method, relation
Output rating 3.3-kV class 6.6-kV class Input power factor Cooling system Speed control Torque control 2003,000 kVA 4006,000 kVA 0.95 or more Forced air cooling by fan Sensorless vector control Four-quadrant PWM control 150% to 150%

Line-to-Line Output Voltage

7.5 5 2.5 0 2.5 5 7.5

Imaginary dc Link

Time (5 m/div) (a) Line-to-Line Output Voltage (p.u.) 7.5 5 2.5 0 2.5 5 7.5 Time (5 m/div) (b) FIGURE 8 Output voltage waveforms of medium-voltage MCs (three-in-series system). (a) Without phase shift and (b) with phase shift of the secondary windings.

Imaginary dc Link


Power factor (input current distortion) Regenerative capability Reliability (lifetime) Size weight

Unity at rated load (less than 5%) Excellent Moderate Large (large input filter) Installation: 100% Weight: 100%

Unity at rated load (less than 5%) Excellent High (no electrolytic capacitors) Moderate (small input filter) Installation: 55% Weight: 38% High 96.9%


Moderate 92.7%


Rotor Speed Sensor Brake


Generator Controller

Grid Utility Interconnection (b)



FIGURE 9 (a) External view and (b) system configuration of wind turbine generator systems.

of magnitude in input voltages is taken into consideration in addition to the direction of the output current. Figure 12 illustrates the test results for torque ripple of the MC with and without voltage-distortion compensation. Here, the four-step commutation with 2-s steps is employed and the switching frequency is 12 kHz. Relatively large sixth-order torque ripple of 6.5% at 10 Hz in Figure 12(a) was reduced to below 1% in all operating ranges when the compensation is activated, as shown in Figure 12(b).

Skin-Pass Mill As an application of a medium-voltage MC (FSDrive-MX1), skin-pass mill in steel process is introduced here. The skin-pass mill consists of pay-off reel, skin-pass mill stand, and tension reel. Figure 13 shows its overview and system configuration. Broad speed range and high acceleration torque control are both needed for the forming process. A 3,300-V, 3,000-kVA MC was applied to pay-off/tension-reel drive. Capabilities of low-speed continuous operation and regeneration as well

as the low input current harmonics are suitable for this application. In the applications like skin-pass mill, low speed operation with heavy load lasts for a long time. It is well known that, in a VSI system, zerofrequency output is the most severe operating condition from the viewpoint of inverter cooling, because output currents are concentrated in particular IGBTs. In some cases, to cope with this problem, a higher power rating may be needed. There is no such concentration in an MC because the current is distributed even at dc output, as shown in Figure 14.

An MC is a direct ac-ac converter that has benefits of high reliability, small size, and high efficiency over a conventional PWM converterinverter system. This article introduced the Yaskawa MC product specifications, applications, and techniques that helped commercialization of a low-voltage and medium-voltage MC. The 9114 kVA (200 V and 400 V classes) for a lowvoltage MC and 2006,000 kVA (3.3 kV, 6.6 kV) for a medium-voltage MC have thus far been commercialized. Three typical applications of an MC were also introduced along with the related technology that helped to achieve desired results for each application. The application of an MC is still expanding to other fields in industry. Authors are continuing their efforts

(a) 100% Harmonics (%)

(b) Motoring Regenerating


0% 1 5 7 11 13 17 19 Harmonic Order (c) 23 25 THD

FIGURE 10 Grid-side waveforms and current harmonics and THD of the 33-kVA MC. (a) Motoring and (b) regenerating modes (upper side: grid-side voltage 250 V/div. and 5 ms/ div.; lower side: grid-side current 100 A/div. and 5 ms/div.). (c) Harmonics and THD. Note: Although the wind turbine is primarily concerned with regeneration, and the motoring characteristics of varispeed ac are also shown.


in improving performance and expanding the product lineup.

Yaskawa MC products adopted the basic principle that was proposed by Prof. Jun Oyama of Nagasaki University in Japan. The authors express their sincere gratitude to Prof. Jun Oyama.

Eiji Yamamoto received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, in 1991. He joined the Research Center, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kitakyushu City, Japan, in 1991. He moved to the Development Center from 1997 to 2002, the Inverter Drives Division from 2002 to 2009, and the System Engineering Division, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Yukuhashi City, Japan, from 2010. He developed the first commercially produced general-purpose MC in 2005. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Japan. His interests include ac motor drives and various power topologies for inverter applications. Hidenori Hara received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Nagasaki University in Japan, in 1995, 1997, and 2006, respectively. He joined the Development Center, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kitakyushu City, Japan, in 1997. In 2008, he moved to the Electrical Engineering Section, EV Power Train Business Promotion Department, Technology and Development Division, Yaskawa Electric Corporation. He is a member of IEE Japan. His interests include ac motor drives topology for EV power train applications. Takahiro Uchino received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Kagoshima University in Japan, in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He joined the Inverter Drive Division, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Yukuhashi City, Japan, in 2005. He is engaged in product maintenance and new development of MCs. Masahiro Kawaji received B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Shibaura Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan, in 1988 and 1990,

FIGURE 11 External view of a building elevator system.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Torque Ripple (% p-p)




6 4 Output Frequency (Hz) (a) 2f 6f


Torque Ripple (% p-p)

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0


6 4 Output Frequency (Hz) (b)


FIGURE 12 First-, second-, and sixth-order torque ripple in an MC-driven induction machine. (a) Without and (b) with distortion compensation.


Continuous Current Flows U V W

Current Distributed by Commutation U V W

Circulating Mode

Pay-Off Reel

Mill Tension Reel

Conventional VSI


FIGURE 14 Current concentration at a low-speed operation.

FIGURE 13 External view of the skin-pass mill and system configuration.

respectively. In 1990, he joined Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kita kyushu City, Japan, and engaged in system engineering for metal processing line and cold-rolling mill at System Engineering Center, Yaskawa Electric Corporation. In 2010, he was transferred to work in the MV Drive Engineering Section, Yaskawa Electric Corporation and engaged in applied engineering for medium-voltage drive equipment. Tsuneo Joe Kume received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, in 1960. In the same year, he joined Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kitakyushu, Japan. From 1966, he was on a leave of absence to pursue further study at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering in 1968 and 1970, respectively. After returning to Yaskawa Electric Corporation, he was engaged in R&D projects for variable-frequency inverter drives as project leader/manager. He developed the first commercially produced general-purpose transistor PWM inverter in 1974 and the first vector-controlled PWM inverter in 1979. Since then, he has been continuing his career in the field of power electronics for motor drives both in Japan and the United States. He is an active member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan (IEEJ) and a Life Fellow of the IEEE. Jun Koo Kang received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical

engineering from Seoul National University, Korea. From 1988 to 1997, he worked in the R&D Center of LGIndustrial Systems (later LG-OTIS) and developed general-purpose drives and elevator drives. In 1999, he joined the Corporate R&D center of Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Kitakyushu, Japan, where he worked as a manager in the Mechatronics R&D department. Since 2003, he has been working at Yaskawa America Inc., Illinois, as a chief engineer. His research interests include power electronics, induction and permanent magnet machine drives, power quality issues, and wind power applications. Hans-Peter Krug worked ten years in the field of electrical constructions after finishing his apprenticeship as an electrician. Then, he worked in a planning office for high-voltage sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-insulated plants. In 1984, he started as an application engineer for electrical drives. Since 1996, he has been working with Yaskawa Electric Europe as an application engineer. Currently, he is responsible for high-power drives and drives with special topologies.

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