Design, development, testing and control of an AC machine and its power electronics is a highly complex and time-consuming engineering challenge. The elapsed time from concept to product is largely dependent on the extent of optimization and pipelining during the development process.
A low-power model of the above mentioned system can be built under laboratory conditions, but it will have parameters differing from the ones of the original system. With current technology, instead of the previous low-power models, FPGA-based real-time Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulators should be used, which are able to describe and replace entirely the system under development: the power level circuits and the AC machine.
The advantage of this method is that a virtual environment can be created for the testing of each system component. This makes their interaction with the rest of the of the system observable, even if they are physically not available. Thus it is easy to complete the full testing of the hardware and software components. It is possible to simulate border states and extreme fault conditions securely and conveniently, which are otherwise difficult to create under real-world conditions, as the chance of their occurence is small or they can pose a threat to the device or to its environment.
The objective of my thesis was to design and implement an FPGA-based real-time HIL simulation for a system composed of an AC machine – in my case it was an induction motor – and its power electronics, which would be used for the simulation and testing of a new induction motor family developed in the Hungarian development center of Hyundai Heavy Industries, H-TEC. The model equations were solved by the FPGA, which got its contol signals from a control board developed by H-TEC. My goal was to reach a calculation frequency of 10MHz during the simulation, which means a 100 ns time step resolution.