Major improvements in LSM technology over the last decade have made electro-magnetic propulsion a more viable solution for manufacturing and transportation industries. LSMs now use better and less expensive power electronic components and faster and more versatile digital signal processors with motor control features. MagneMotion's motor configurations have been optimized using more advanced research and design tools. LSMs are well suited to many types of industrial applications. Permanent magnets (specifically NdFeB magnets) have also become less expensive, and have a higher electro-magnetic energy product.
For a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) to work properly, the control system must accurately track the position of the moving element in order to properly synchronize the moving field current in the stationary frame (stator). If synchronization is lost or interrupted, the motor slips and loss of propulsion can occur. This situation is most likely to be encountered by an LSM when external sensors are used to handle motor synchronization. If a sensor becomes dirty or misaligned or if fog, smoke or other line-of-sight obstructions are present, the system will experience problems.
MagneMotion has developed a position sensing technique unique in the industry and is the subject of an international patent application. A transducer attached to the moving element induces a signal into the motor winding (stator) which is picked up by the motor control system. This induced signal enables the control system to determine the exact position of the moving element to within a fraction of a millimeter (fraction of a centimeter for larger systems) and commutate the motor accordingly. Because the sensing is done through the motor stator winding there is no reliance on external sensors. There is no reason why the system should ever experience synchronization problems unless the motor stator winding is physically damaged, in which case no motor will operate properly.
In addition, the control system has built in diagnostics to identify and flag problem components for rapid repair or replacement. The system architecture has redundant functionality where adjacent modules are continuously polling one another for potential problems and can circumvent and compensate for malfunctioning components. This will prevent the kind of difficulties encountered by the operators of some linear motor-powered systems in identifying and correcting fault conditions.