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Designing Drives to withstand Extreme Environments

Designing Drives to withstand Extreme Environments

Servo drives are moving into more outdoor, mobile and rugged industrial environments by extending their ability to withstand a wider range of temperature extremes, shock and vibration. OEM machinery builders have typically found it challenging and developed custom drive designs to implement motion electronics exposed to these types of harsh conditions.

ADVANCED Motion Controls (AMC), a servo drive supplier that specializes in embedded OEM drive products, is consolidating its experience with custom designs for extreme environments into a new family of standard servo drives targeting these applications.

"The uniqueness of the AZX product line centers on its use of ultra high temperature bus capacitors and operating in a range where standard electrolytics would dry out," says Shane Beilke, a product manager for AMC. "We have set a new benchmark in terms of temperature range with a standard servo drive product that operates from -40 to 85C."

Given standard operating ambient operating temperatures for drives of 0 to 45C, this new capability extends the temperature range nearly 200 percent for a total of an additional 80C, with 40C on both the low and high ends.

Beilke says the drives have been designed to offer a higher current ratings and more robust operation. Heat sink temperature shutdown is set at 115C (239F) and the drives provide full temperature range cycling in just under 2 min. The units are designed to withstand shock up to 15g's at 11 msec (A.50 sine) and vibration up to 30 Grms on all three axes.

The AZX analog drives are packaged using a space-saving PCB-mount architecture, and are lightweight at only 95 gm (3.35 oz). Use of high density power devices and dual sided PCB boards make the modules ideal for applications with limited size and weight constraints.

The drives can power three phase (brushless) and single phase (brushed) motors. AZX drives are powered off a single unregulated dc power supply, and provide a variety of control and feedback options. The units accept either a A plus or minus 10V analog signal or a PWM and direction signal as input. A digital controller can be used to command and interact with the drives, and a number of input/output pins are available for parameter observation and drive configuration.

The types of applications that the AZX drives are targeting include altitude research platforms, airborne vehicles, ground-based fixed platforms, marine surface vessels, submarines and remote tethered equipment.

Design improvements to the AZX extended environment servo drives focus on protection against heat, vibration and shock. Photo:  Advanced Motion Controls
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