Multilevel Inverters with Equal or Unequal Sources for Dual-Frequency Induction Heating
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Most existing power supplies for induction heating equipment produce voltage at a single (adjustable) frequency. Recently, however, induction heating power supplies that produce voltage at two (adjustable) frequencies have been researched and even commercialized. Dual-frequency power supplies are a significant development for heat-treating workpieces with uneven geometries, such as gears, since different portions of such workpieces are heated dissimilarly at a single frequency and so require a two step process using a single-frequency power supply. On the other hand, a dual-frequency power supply can achieve the desired result for such workpieces in a one step process. This paper proposes the use of multilevel converters for providing induction heating power at two frequencies simultaneously, which may achieve higher efficiency, improved control, reduced electromagnetic interference and greater reliability than existing dual-frequency power supplies. It also describes how the stepping angles for the desired output from such converters can be determined for both the equal and unequal source cases. Furthermore, experimental results are presented as a verification of the analysis.