Even better, a multiplicity of innovative control system approaches can be vetted quickly -- without expensive hardware tooling -- using a high-fidelity model that supports rapid testing over a full range of anticipated loads. This dramatically shortens development of controls that can predictably and accurately bridge the gap from system design to robust real-world performance.
In a real-world example, a control design integration project employing the methods noted above was completed in months, or about two years ahead of the initial timeframe targeted by the manufacturer. The methods discussed here will take on added importance in the race to market, not only in terms of overall product area leadership, but also (for some manufacturers) in terms of securing exclusive technological advantages.
We anticipate a surge in innovative applications involving proprietary technology and potentially patentable system components, whether they are owned by the manufacturer or licensed for a specified period from outside developers. The promise of sensorless BLDC motors with integrated controllers is just beginning to be realized. For motor and end-product manufacturers, advanced-level BLDC design will be the key to gaining the outcomes desired, functionally as well as financially. Finding and engaging the right talent, whether in-house or elsewhere, is a must.
Paul Duckworth and Warren Guthrie bring more than 20 years of product design engineering experience to Twisthink clientele, including automotive and other manufacturing, material handling, consumer appliances, healthcare, and electronics. Primary applications involve wireless technology, signal processing, motor control, and embedded systems.
Paul & Warren, Glad you mentioned the drawbacks of off-the-shelf generic control algorithms. I have never been asked to design a generic motor drive which runs at a generic speed and torque for a generic customer. It's always been a new, unique design for a new invention with very unique capabilites. I've seen very substandard operation of motors using a generic control algorithm for which the engineers just stare and 'wonder' why it doesn't run correctly. An off-the-shelf generic control algorithms can get a toy airplane running for a hobbyist but, for a robust new product, it's wise to seek and hire someone with knowledge and experiance in control, power electronics and a capability to think outside of a generic box.
This is a good article and it certainly points out the errors made in dispensing with those experienced engineers when times were slow and money was tight. So what is left is a less than optimal collection of consultants who were unable to get jobs when the economy started to recover.
Those brilliant new engineers using simulation and modeling may yet arrive at the best answers, but it is always wise to understand that the results of simulation are never more accurate than the model used for that simulation. That is where experience is vital, in being able to look at the results and answer that big question: "Is this answer reasonable?" The ability to decide correctly comes from having a lot of insight and understanding, which generally come from experience.
Excellent article. Definitely energy efficiency has been raised up as a substantial design goal for new products in motor control, and can be an absolute key feature depending on the application. It will be interesting to see how the trend plays out over the long haul with engineering minds focusing on the problem/opportunity.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.