The Past, Present, and Future of Integrated Motor Drives

The Past, Present, and Future of Integrated Motor Drives
Dr. Thomas M. Jahns, WEMPEC / University of Wisconsin-Madison USA


This tutorial explores the past, present, and future of integrated motor drives (IMDs) that integrate the power electronics and electric machines into the same enclosure. Past milestones in IMD developments will be reviewed, followed by a discussion of technical obstacles that are currently slowing the adoption of wide-bandgap (WBG) switches in new IMD products.  There are promising opportunities to combine WBG switches and current source inverters (CSIs) to deliver significant performance benefits compared to today’s voltage-source inverters (VSIs).  Progress made to date towards achieving these appealing advantages will be presented.  The tutorial will conclude with a review of opportunities for realizing the full potential of IMDs as well as the remaining challenges.


Thomas M. Jahns received his PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978.  In 1998, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a Grainger Professor of Power Electronics and Electric Machines, where he served as Co-Director/Director of the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC) for 14 years from 2007 to 2021.  Prior to joining UW, he worked at GE Corporate Research and Development (now GE Global Research Center) in Niskayuna, NY (USA) for 15 years.  Since his retirement from the active faculty in 2021, Dr. Jahns is continuing to pursue research as a Grainger Emeritus Professor in the area of integrated motor drives using high-performance permanent magnet synchronous machines in modular drive topologies to achieve high fault tolerance.  Dr. Jahns received the 2005 IEEE Nikola Tesla Technical Field Award and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the IEEE Industry Applications Society in 2011. He is a Past President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society and served two years as Division II Director on the IEEE Board of Directors (2001-2002).  He was elected as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2015 and selected as the recipient of the 2022 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering.

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