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The contactless nature of active magnetic bearings brings about many advantages over the conventional bearing while industrial real-time applications are often limited by the significant complexity of control algorithms. This paper presents the application of an LQ controller to an active magnetic bearing system (AMB). ; Two control strategies are presented and compared: local and global. In the first case the rotor is modelled as two separated masses located at the bearing. In the second case rotor stabilization is considered globally as a problem of the rotating rigid body suspended in a magnetic field. The second approach is especially important for high-speed rotating machines. The control performance of both algorithms was analysed using an experimental AMB laboratory system.