Design of Electric Motors, Generators and Drive Systems

Design of Electric Motors

As electric motors become more ubiquitous in our everyday lives, found in just about everything we use from automobiles to kitchen appliances to IOT-connected and smart devices, it’s more important than ever to understand the machine characteristics, modern control techniques, and associated interactions with electronic drives that power these objects. Computer-based tools for estimating machine parameters and performance can remarkably speed up a designer's understanding of when different control and machine design assumptions are applicable, and how gracefully these assumptions fail as performance limits are approached.

This course focuses on the analysis and design of electric motors, generators, and drive systems, placing special emphasis on the design of machines for electric drives, including traction drives and drive motors for robots. Participants will gain extensive hands-on exposure through computer-based laboratory exercises using MATLAB and a hardware build session in our instructional laboratories.

Exercises will include investigating machine performance as affected by design measures such as selection of pole and slot count, winding details such as turns distribution, induction machine slot profiles, optimization of magnets, and other design measures. We will use computer-based simulation tools to discuss control strategies for the different machine types and address optimization techniques, including matching motor design to performance requirements. Throughout the course, we will present performance considerations, trade-offs, and design approaches and provide access to computer facilities and analysis routines will be provided for practice in machine analysis and design.

Lead Instructor(s): 

James Kirtley
Steven Leeb


TBD 2019

Course Length: 

5 Days

Course Fee: 





  • Closed

It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.

Registration for the 2018 session has closed. We'll open for the 2019 session this fall.

Participant Takeaways: 

Takeaways from this course include:

  • Understanding the field and energy conservation description of magnetic forces
  • Using circuit techniques to describe electric machinery
  • Describing power electronic circuits used to control electric machines
  • The explication of the major machines types, including layout and operation
  • Understanding the expansion of windings in space harmonics and use of those space harmonics to describe machine operation
  • A deeper understanding of how permanent magnets are used in electric machinery
  • Design techniques and use of optimization to describe good machine design
  • Understanding how to apply operational requirements in electric machine design
  • Understanding the operation of electric drives and control techniques in electric machinery

Who Should Attend: 

Engineers who design or apply electric motors for industrial or traction drives, engineers who use electric machines for electric power generation, including alternative energy, and managers who have such engineers working for them and who must understand what their employees do. Relevant industries include land, sea, and air transportation; resource extraction; chemicals; and energy.

Required background:

Participants should have at least a basic knowledge of electric circuit analysis and vector calculus and a working familiarity with the principles of electromagnetism.

Past attendees have included personnel from Apple, General Electric, BAE systems, Bose Corporation, General Dynamics, the U.S. Navy, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Draper Laboratory, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, iRobot, Lockheed, Baldor, Google, Pfizer, Nikon, the U.S. Army, and a host of universities.

Computer requirements:

Laptops with the ability to run MATLAB are strongly recommended. MATLAB software will be provided to participants for the duration of the course. If you do not have access to a laptop on which you can install and run MATLAB, there will be computers available for use in the lab.

Program Outline: 

This is a broad and deep subject, focusing on magnetoquasistatic fundamentals of electric machinery and drives, and so one of the fundamental objectives is to gain or to regain an understanding of how Maxwell’s equations describe the relationship of electromagnetic fields with the internals of electric machinery, and how the fundamentals of electromagnetics describe how machines work. At the same time, the staff of this subject have experience in design and evaluation of electric machinery and power electronic drives. That practical experience can be essential to machine designers. We expect to convey elements of that experience such as how winding details impact machine efficiency, how multi-attribute optimization techniques can be used to evaluate alternative machine designs, and how to formulate an optimal design routine.

Topics covered include:

  • Elements of energy conversion: energy, co-energy, force and torque as derivatives of energy, field- based force calculations
  • Energy conversion in electric machines: force and shear density, machine power density and efficiency
  • Review of the principles of the basic machine types: synchronous, induction, variable reluctance
  • Introduction to and exercises in the use of MATLAB
  • Induction machines in some depth: reduction to an equivalent circuit and calculation of the elements of the circuit
  • Performance evaluation of induction machines
  • Field-oriented control of induction machines
  • Permanent magnet machines: review of basics, principals of energy conversion and design fundamentals
  • Control strategies for PM machines: torque/speed limitations, taking advantage of negative saliency, elements of field oriented control
  • Optimal machine design, considering application details

Course Schedule: 

View 2017 course schedule (pdf)

This course runs 9:30 am - 5:00 pm on Monday, and 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday.



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (50%) 50
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (10%) 10
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (40%) 40

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (50%) 50
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (10%) 10
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (40%) 40


Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (25%) 25
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (50%) 50
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (25%) 25