Several suppliers do offer IP67 rated motor-drives, which is often the level of protection used in packaging. Obviously the specifics of the application are vital but many of these units are finding their way into packaging capitalizing on their ability to provide distributed control.
Protecting the drive electronics is no harder than protecting the motors. Properly designed motor controls can withstand the same harsh enviroments as the motors they control, perhaps even more so given that the electronics can be fully sealed since they have no moving parts. I would argue that the modular motor/control set is easier to replace since it has fewer connections with only power and comm, whereas a separate controller must also route sensor wiring. I have been designing and using modular motor control electronics for years and am always pleased with how clean the connectivity is in the final product.
Drive-on-motor has been tried several times, and is making a resurgence again. Depending on how the drive and motor are integrated, failure of one can be twice as costly as when the drive and motor are more traditionally separated.
Putting the drive out in a production environment invites this sort of failure. The production environment may be extremely hot, or extremely dirty, or extremely wet. Any of these may lead to that more costly failure.
Finally, there's the amount of space needed for the drive when piggy-backed to the motor. Many times the space inside a machine is sufficient for the motor only (and sometimes, not even then).
Engineers at Fuel Cell Energy have found a way to take advantage of a side reaction, unique to their carbonate fuel cell that has nothing to do with energy production, as a potential, cost-effective solution to capturing carbon from fossil fuel power plants.
To get to a trillion sensors in the IoT that we all look forward to, there are many challenges to commercialization that still remain, including interoperability, the lack of standards, and the issue of security, to name a few.
This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
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