ABB, New Berlin, Wis., recently secured a $29 million order from the U.S. Air Force. With $22 million of the funds, ABB will replace two 40,000 HP motor/drives with two new 69,000 HP AC ABB medium-voltage drives and motors at the Arnold Engineering and Development Center’s (AEDC) Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) facility in Tullahoma, Tenn.

“The project is turnkey, with ABB providing transformers, power converters, motors, switchgear harmonic filters, facility controls--and all construction and installation services,” said Ram Bhatia, director of medium-voltage drives. ABB’s new drives will work in tandem with two 83,000 HP fixed-speed motors to provide a maximum of 304,000 HP at 600 rpm to the tunnels’ propeller fans.

“The drives add the ability to run the fans in adjustable-speed mode, or to start up and synchronize the two fixed-speed motors to run at a constant speed, depending on the test protocols and parameters,” explained Bhatia.

A separate $7 million project will include replacing two 30 MW softstarters to start up a total of 18 27,000 – 52,000 HP synchronous motors at AEDC’s Aeropropulsion System Test Facility.

ABB is the main contractor on the project. ABB Industrie AG, Switzerland, will provide the power electronics, and Cutler-Hammer Engineering Services will handle construction services.

In the photo, new drives/motors at the Arnold Engineering and Development Center’s Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility power propeller fans that drive wind through the tunnels at supersonic speeds for the testing of scale-model aircraft.