Motor Not Turbines Drive Heavy Equipment


High-speed rotating shafts present challenges for engineers, particularly in heavy equipment that draws many megawatts of power. Examples include pumps and compressors for oil-and-gas operations, industrial spindles, and aerospace subsystems. Such machines, which can have shafts that weigh several tons and run at 10,000 rpm or more, are prone to extreme vibrations, excessive heat, and catastrophic failure should any mechanical parts go too far out of alignment. Instead of using steam or gas turbines for such applications, it is possible to consider an electric motor, magnetic bearings, and a variable-frequency drive. This approach promises precision control, greater energy efficiency, and smoother operation.