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.
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