Title of Invention  THERMAL OVERLOAD PROTECTION 

Abstract  A thermal overload protection (1) for an electrical device, particularly an electric motor (M), measures (10) a load current supplied to the electrical device (M), and calculates (16) the thermal load on the electrical device on the basis of the measured load current, and shuts off (S2) a current supply (L1, L2, L3) when the thermal load reaches a given threshold level. The protection comprises a processor system employing Xbit, preferably X=32, fixedpoint arithmetic, wherein the thermal load is calculated by a mathematic equation programmed into the microprocessor system structured such that a result or a provisional result never exceeds the Xbit value. 
Full Text  THERMAL OVERLOAD PROTECTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0001] The invention relates to thermal overload protection for pro¬tecting electrical devices, and particularly electric motors, from overheating. [0002] Electric motors are utilized in several applications for driving various moving parts. An electric motor often has an associated control unit for adjusting and monitoring the operation of the electric motor, the speed of rota¬tion, for example. [0003] An electric motor may temporarily operate also overloaded, but if it becomes overheated as the loading continues, this may result in dam¬age to the motor. Damage to the isolation of the stator coiling caused by over¬heating is the most critical. [0004] Various solutions are known for protecting an electric motor against thermal overload. One known solution is based on 1..3phase meas¬urement of the motor current and on modelling the heating of the motor by us¬ing an RC equivalent circuit. The oldest and most common technical imple¬mentation is a bimetallic relay (thermal relay) coupled directly or via a current transformer to the main circuit. [0005] A known solution is a thermal safety switch arranged inside or in connection with the motor, the switch tripping after a given temperature limit and interrupting the current flow through the electric motor. A more ad¬vanced version is an electronic unit that measures the temperature of the elec¬tric motor with temperature sensors and triggers a shutoff of the motor. This alternative manner is directly based on temperature detection with various sensors. The problem is the difficulty of placing the sensors correctly. Such a protection reacts relatively slowly. [0006] In numerical protection, data is processed in a numeric for¬mat, i.e. digitally. Analogical measurement data are converted with an A/D converter into digital. The actual measurement and protection functions are implemented by means of a microprocessor. The thermal overload protection measures the root mean square (rms) values of the phase currents (load cur¬rents) of a motor or another object to be protected (e.g. a cable or a trans¬former), and calculates the temperaturedependent operating time. This ther¬mal operating time may be accordant with standard IEC 602558: wherein t = operating time T = time constant lp = load current before overload I = load current lb = operating current (maximum allowed continuous current) [0007] The thermal time constant x is determined as the time re¬quired of the object to be protected to reach a temperature 6, which is a given portion (e.g. 63%) of a steadystate temperature 9S, when the object to be pro¬tected is supplied with constant current. The operating current lp is the highest allowed continuous current, which also corresponds to the highest allowed temperature, i.e. the steadystate temperature 9S. This highest allowed tem¬perature is the trip level. Alternatively, the relative value of the thermal load on the object to be protected relative to a full (100%) thermal load can be calcu¬lated from the phase currents. The trip occurs when the relative thermal load reaches a 100% value. [0008] Numeric thermal protection is thus associated with heavy calculation requiring an efficient processor and fast and expensive peripheral circuits, such as memories. Prior art solutions have employed an efficient processor having also an inbuilt mathematics processor, a floating point unit (FPU) or a corresponding unit for performing realtime calculation within a de¬termined time. An efficient processor having library functions emulating a float¬ingpoint number unit has also been used. Implementations also exist wherein the algorithm is implemented with ASIC circuits, whereby they cannot be reprogrammed afterwards. Consequently, changes cannot be made to such a singlepurpose circuit, but a new circuit is always required if the operation is to be changed. Implementations also exist wherein the current is meas¬ured/calculated, the warmingup is calculated, measurements are repeated etc., in a sequence. Such an implementation does not ensure fully realtime protection (no continuous measurement), but enables the use of a less efficient processor. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0009] The object of the invention is thus to provide a method for thermal protection of electrical devices and an apparatus for implementing the method, allowing the calculation associated with the protection to be lightened and the technical requirements of the processors and peripheral circuits to be lowered. The object of the invention is achieved with a method and system that are characterized in what is stated in the independent claims. Preferred embodiments of the invention are described in the dependent claims. [0010] The invention is based on programming a mathematical equation or algorithm and its operands that calculate the thermal load such that they are suitable for an Xbit, preferably X=32, processor system employ¬ing fixedpoint arithmetic in such a manner that the result or provisional result never exceed the Xbit value when the program is run in the processor system. The measured current is preferably scaled into a unit value to a range of 0 to Y, wherein Y represents Y/100% of the nominal current, and preferably Y=65000, whereby the calculation is independent of the actual current range. [0011] The invention enables the calculation of the thermal load with a less efficient processor and less memory, which, in turn, lower the power consumption, production costs and physical size of the device. The calculation can be implemented with a simple and transferable code, which does not re¬quire a mathematics processor or mathematical libraries. However, the thermal load can be calculated with nearly the accuracy of a 64bit floatingpoint num¬ber calculation, even if the processor used 32bit fixedpoint arithmetic. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES [0012] In the following, the invention will be described in more detail in connection with preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is an exemplary block diagram illustrating the overload pro¬tection according to an embodiment of the invention, Figure 2 is an exemplary signal diagram illustrating the operation of the device of Figure 1; and Figure 3 is an exemplary flow diagram illustrating the operation of the device of Figure 1. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0013] In Figure 1, a thermal overload protection is coupled be¬tween an electric motor M or other electrical device to be protected and a threephase mains current supply L1, L2 and L3. S1 is a main mains switch, e.g. manually controlled, and S2 is a release switch controlled by the overload protection and controlled with a trip signal TRIP. The overload protection 1 measures the current load of each phase L1, L2 and L3 of the mains current supply of the motor M with a current measurement unit 10, which is based on current transformers, for example. In addition, the overload protection 1 may comprise a measuring unit 11 for measuring phase voltages. Further, the over¬load protection 1 preferably comprises a user interface, i.e. a humanmachineinterface (HMI) 12, with a display 13 and a keyboard 14. Furthermore, the overload protection 1 may comprise a data communication unit 15 connected to a local area network (e.g. Ethernet), a bus, a field bus (e.g. Profibus DP) or another data communication medium 17. [0014] As regards the invention, the most essential function is re¬lated to the protection and control unit 16. The overload protection 1 is imple¬mented with a microprocessor system, the majority of the above units being implemented with suitable microprocessor software and peripheral circuits, such as memory circuits. The measuring values provided by the current and voltagemeasuring units are converted into numerical, i.e. digital values with digital/analog converters (A/D). In accordance with the basic principle of the invention, the microprocessor system employs fixedpoint arithmetic, prefera¬bly 32bit arithmetic. A suitable processor type is for instance a generalpurpose processor having a 32bit RISC instruction set, such as ARM7/9 or the M68k series. [0015] It is to be appreciated that the abovedescribed structure is only one example of a thermal overload protection for implementing the inven¬tion. [0016] The overload protection 1 protects the motor M from over¬heating and from any damage caused thereby. The protection is based on cal¬culating the thermal load on the motor on the basis of measured phase cur¬rents. In the following, the general operation of the protection will be explained by means of the example of Figures 2 and 3. Phase conductors L1, L2 and L3 are connected to the motor M by closing switches S1 and S2. The currentmeasuring unit 10 measures the currents of the phases (step 31, Figure 3), and the control unit 16 calculates the thermal load on the motor M on the basis of the phase currents by using fixedpoint arithmetic (step 32). The mathemati¬cal equation used in the calculation of the thermal load for one phase may be as follows: 0 = thermal load, preferably 0 to 200% preferably corresponding to a value range of 0 to 2.4 AT = interval for thermal load calculation, preferably in milliseconds R = cooling factor of electrical device, preferably 1 to 10 C = tripclass factor i = measured load current [0017] Factor C is preferably a tripclass factor t6l which indicates the longest starting time set on the motor relative to the actual starting time of the motor. Factor C may be for instance 1.7 (x actual starting time). In a pri¬mary embodiment of the invention, the tripclass factor te is multiplied by a constant, preferably 29.5, or calculated by the formula (1/k) * Te * (la/In)2, wherein la = starting current, In = nominal current, Te = allowed starting time, and k = constant. Constant k = 1.22 when an operating time graph correspond¬ing to that of a combination of trip class and t6time is desired (operating times according to the requirements of IEC 6094741). The measured current is preferably scaled into a unit value to a range of 0 to Y, wherein Y represents Y/100% of the nominal current, and preferably Y=65000, whereby the calcula¬tion is independent of the actual current range. [0018] Let us examine 32bit fixedpoint arithmetic by way of exam¬ple. In accordance with the invention, the abovedescribed mathematical equa¬tion or algorithm and its operands that calculate the thermal load are pro¬grammed suitable for a processor system employing 32bit fixedpoint arithme¬tic in such a manner that the result or the provisional result never exceed the 32bit value when the program is run in the processor system. [0019] The following is an example of a calculation equation struc¬tured and scaled in this manner thRes « ( (AT* (i2/C) +ROUNDING) /MSEC) + ( ( ( ( (MSEOSCALING)  ( (AT*SCALING) / (R*C) ) ) /SP.ART1) *th) /SPART2) ♦thFract wherein the operand values are for example as follows thRes = thermal load 0 to 200% corresponding to value range 0 to 24000 ROUNDING = e.g. 500 MSEC =e.g. 1000 SCALING =e.g. 10000 SPART1 = e.g. SCALING /10 SPART2 = e.g. SCALING /100 thFract = thRes of previous calculation divided by constant, e.g. constant = SCALING = 10000. [0020] ROUNDING corresponds to decimal rounding. MSEC scales milliseconds into seconds. SCALING is accuracy scaling. The product of terms SPART1 and SPART2 represents the scaling of a time unit (preferably milli¬seconds), split into two parts to maintain calculation accuracy. [0021] The result of the thermal load, thRes, is too high because of the scaling (in the example, within the range 0 to 24000), and it is scaled down to represent the thermal load per unit value employed, in the example to the range 0 to 2.4 © = thRES/10000 [0022] This quotient 0 is saved as parameter thFract and employed in the calculation the next time. Calculation accuracy on 0 to 100% thermal load is better than 0.1% of the thermal load. [0023] The graph of Figure 2 represents the calculated thermal load 0 as a function of time t. When the motor M is started from cold state, it begins to warm up. In the same way, the calculated thermal load 0 increases as a function of time. When the thermal load 0 increases to a given set alarm level AlarmJevel, the control unit 16 may give an alarm to the operator for instance via the user interface 1214 or the communication unit 15 (steps 35 and 36 in Figure 3). The control unit 16 may also continuously or after a given level cal¬culate the remaining time to trip (timetotrip) and communicate it to the opera¬tor (steps 33 and 34 in Figure 3). When the thermal load 0 increases to a given set trip level Trip (preferably 100% of the thermal load on the motor), the control unit 16 activates a trip signal TRIP, which controls the switch S2 to open, whereby the motor M is disconnected from the threephase supply L1, L2 and L3 (steps 37 and 38 in Figure 3). If the thermal capacity of the motor remaining after the tripping is too low (e.g. less than 60%), the protection 1 may prevent a restart until the motor is cooled to a given level (restart inhibit) or for a given time (steps 39 and 40 in Figure 3). For startup, signal TRIP is again connected inactive and switch S2 is closed. In an embodiment, the op¬erator may control the control unit 16 into an override state, wherein the Trip level is double (override Trip level). [0024] It is obvious to a person skilled in the art that as technology advances, the basic idea of the invention can be implemented in a variety of ways. Consequently, the invention and its embodiments are not restricted to the above examples, but can vary within the scope of the claims. CLAIMS 1. A device for thermal overload protection of an electrical device, particularly an electric motor (M), the device comprising means (10) for meas¬uring at least one load current supplied to the electrical device (M), means (16) for calculating the thermal load on the electrical device on the basis of said at least one load current, and means (S2) for disconnecting a current supply (L1, L2, L3) when the thermal load reaches a given threshold level, charac¬terized in that said means (16) for calculating the thermal load on the elec¬trical device comprise a processor system employing Xbit, preferably X=32, fixedpoint arithmetic, the system comprising means for scaling the measured current into unit values to a range of 0 to Y, wherein Y represents Y/100% of a nominal current, and means for calculating the thermal load using a mathe¬matical equation that, together with its operands, is programmed into the mi¬croprocessor system structured such that a result or a provisional result never exceeds the Xbit value. 2. A device as claimed in claim 1, characterized in that the mathematical equation is @ = thermal load AT = interval for thermal load calculation R = cooling factor of electrical device C = tripclass factor. 3. A device as claimed in claim 2, characterized in that one or more of following operand values are used 0 = 0 to 200% preferably corresponding to a value range of 0 to 2.4 AT = interval for thermal load calculation in milliseconds R = cooling factor of electrical device in a range of 1 to 10 C = tripclass factor i = measured current. 4. A device as claimed in claim 1,2 or 3, characterized in that the mathematical equation that, together with its operands, is structured such that the result or the provisional result of the calculation of the thermal load never exceeds the 32bit value is thRes = ( (AT* (i2/C) +ROUNDING) /MSEC) + ( (( ( (MSEC*SCALING) ( (AT*SCALING)/(R*C) ))/SPART1)*th)/SPART2) +thFract wherein thRes = thermal load, AT = interval for thermal load calculation R = cooling factor of electrical device C = tripclass factor i = measured current scaled into unit value ROUNDING = rounding factor MSEC = time unit scaling SCALING = accuracy scaling SPART1 = partial scaling SPART2 = partial scaling thFract = thermal load thRes of previous calculation divided by a constant. 5. A device as claimed in claim 4, characterized in that one or more of the following operand values are used thRes = 0 to 200% preferably corresponding to a value range of 0 to 24000 AT = interval for thermal load calculation in milliseconds R= 1 to 10 i = measured current scaled into a unit value between 0 and 65000, corresponding to 0 to 650% of nominal current, ROUNDING =500 MSEC =1000 SCALING =10000 SPART1 = SCALING/10 SPART2 = SCALING/100 thFract = thRes of previous calculation divided by constant SCALING. 6. A device as claimed in claim 3, 4 or 5, characterized in that C is tripclass factor t6 multiplied by a constant, preferably 29.5, or calcu¬ lated by the formula (1/k) * Te * (la/In)2, wherein la = starting current, In = nominal current, Te = allowed starting time and k = constant, preferably k = 1.22. 7. A method for thermal overload protection of an electrical device, particularly an electric motor, the method comprising measuring at least one load current supplied to the electrical device, calculating the thermal load on the electrical device on the basis of said at least one load current, and interrupting current supply to the electrical device when the thermal load reaches a given threshold level, characterized by scaling the measured current into a unit value to a range of 0 to Y, wherein Y represents Y/100% of a nominal current, calculating the thermal load on the electrical device using an Xbit, preferably X=32, processor system employing fixedpoint arithmetic, wherein a mathematical equation for thermal load is programmed structured such that a result or a provisional result never exceeds the Xbit value. wherein thRes = thermal load, AT = interval for thermal load calculation R = cooling factor of electrical device C = tripclass factor i = measured current scaled into unit value ROUNDING = rounding factor MSEC = time unit scaling SCALING = accuracy scaling SPART1 = partial scaling SPART2 = partial scaling thFract = thermal load thRes of previous calculation divided by a constant. 10. A method as claimed in claim 9, characterized by using one or more of following operand values thRes = 0 to 200% preferably corresponding to a value range of 0 to 24000 AT = interval for thermal load calculation in milliseconds R= 1 to 10 i = measured current scaled into a unit value between 0 and 65000, corresponding to 0 to 650% of nominal current, ROUNDING =500 MSEC =1000 SCALING = 10000 SPART1 = SCALING/10 SPART2 = SCALING/100 thFract = thRes of previous calculation divided by constant SCALING. 11. A method as claimed in claim 8, 9 or 10, characterized by C being tripclass factor t6 multiplied by a constant, preferably 29.5, or cal¬ culated by the formula (1/k) * Te * (la/In)2, wherein la = starting current, In = nominal current, Te = allowed starting time and k = constant, preferably k = 1 22 Dated this 1 day of August 2006 

2823CHENP2006 AMENDED CLAIMS 11042011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 AMENDED CLAIMS 26092011.pdf
2823chenp2006 amended claims 29082011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 AMENDED PAGES OF SPECIFICATION 26092011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 29082011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 26092011.pdf
2823chenp2006 form3 11042011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 OTHER PATENT DOCUMENT 11042011.pdf
2823CHENP2006 AMENDED CLAIMS 20072012.pdf
2823CHENP2006 CORRESPONDENCE 29102010.pdf
2823CHENP2006 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 20072012.pdf
2823CHENP2006 EXAMINATION REPORT REPLY RECEIVED 11042011.pdf
2823chenp2006correspondneceothers.pdf
2823chenp2006description(complete).pdf
Patent Number  253835  

Indian Patent Application Number  2823/CHENP/2006  
PG Journal Number  35/2012  
Publication Date  31Aug2012  
Grant Date  28Aug2012  
Date of Filing  01Aug2006  
Name of Patentee  ABB OY  
Applicant Address  Strombergintie 1, FI00380 Helsinki  
Inventors:


PCT International Classification Number  H02H7/085  
PCT International Application Number  PCT/FI2005/000066  
PCT International Filing date  20050201  
PCT Conventions:
