Thursday, January 23, 2020

It looks like a standard car, consumes as a hair dryer

Onda Solare

After 2700 kilometres through the Rocky Mountains region, from Nebraska to Oregon, the Solar Wave team – the only European team in the race – ended the course winning the first place and two special prizes with the “Emilia 4” vehicle: the award for the best mechanics and use of composites and the award for the best battery project. It is a success of Bologna University in the Automotive sector on a global scale, paving the way for possible important reverberations in industrial field.
Onda SolareThe vehicle, developed by Solar Wave team, looks like a conventional car but with a big difference in the consumption aspect: to move, Emilia 4 uses an amount of energy similar to what is needed to power a hairdryer. With two electric motors positioned behind the wheels, it is fuelled by five square metres of high-efficiency solar panels connected with state-of-the-art lithium batteries.
Emilia 4 crossed the finish line exclusively exploiting the solar energy, without ever being connected to the electric grid to recharge its batteries, and travelling autonomously the entire course, whereas all other racing vehicles needed to be towed on a cart for at least one section of the track.

Born from an industrial research project funded by Emilia-Romagna Region through European financing – Por Fesr 2014-2020, Emilia 4 was fully developed and built in Emilia-Romagna by Bologna University and by the Solar Wave team, with the involvement of Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research in Building and Construction, the Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Aeronautical Research and the support of various companies and research centres, including Cineca Supercomputing Centre and Scm Group. The engineering activity, which involved around sixty people, lasted two years whereas the construction phase was accomplished in less than one year.

Electric motors and their impact on mechanics

Electric Motor

In the past, when motors were the conversation subject, it was almost unavoidable to think of a standard explosion engine, maybe of some old frames of some black and white movies. Today instead, speaking of motors from the industrial point of view certainly means referring to a constant process of technological innovation as well as to an increasingly green production and consumption methodology of goods. We take care of our health and of the one of our planet and we more and more tend to design and build a healthy environment. The atmospheric pollution is one of the main causes of mortality and this phenomenon can be more surveyed in cities because in narrow spaces a higher concentration of CO2 persists.

Therefore, we design fully “green” houses and entire cities; an ecologic culture grows and, obviously, the entire automotive industry cannot get away from this phenomenon. As a matter of fact, Toyota, Nissan, Citroen, BMW, Mercedes, Kia, Opel, Fiat, Hyundai and Volkswagen, all of them have a selection of electric models in their portfolio. Volvo, for instance, has announced it is going to modify, starting from 2019, the entire production of electric cars. A phenomenon – the implementation of electric motors in the various industrial fields – that no longer concerns just cars. Today it is possible to drive electric bikes with more and more professional characteristics; motorbikes with exceptional performances, such as CRP or Harley Davidson; to navigate with Riva boats; to compete with an electric single-seater. But not only, the industrial world is gradually getting in touch with it, packaging, food processing machines, machine tools, all those fields where there is the need of doing actions through a motion inside the machine itself. Rising matter, then, and with noteworthy numbers. Let us consider, for instance, once more the car world. Today 2 millions of electric cars are circulating whereas about 600 millions are expected in 2014, against, however, 1 billion of cars that will circulate still using the green petrol and diesel. We will witness a cohabitation among the various propulsion modalities – thermal, electric and hybrid – and an adaptation by the industrial system to what nowadays still seems a not mature system, however already steeply rising. What about small and medium engineering companies that produce mechanical components for the big production field of motors and of motion in general? What will be the repercussions on this manufacturing area? Certainly, we will no longer need certain components in the same quantities as today. Companies and subcontractors must and will have to seize the signs that will increasingly come from the market and from their customers, modify the supplied sectors and sometimes give up activities that have stopped being remunerative and demanded by the various manufacturing fields. New competence and specialization areas, specific training and new figures to be employed in companies will be necessary. Some entrepreneurial realities will look at electric motors with a critical attitude because they will have probably failed their own transformation but any novelty or change always generates new opportunities and it up to us reaping them. The future will be greener than today, complex, competitive and even more variegated, issuing new challenges for our engineering companies.
Stefano Colletta, Technical Director of Subfornitura News-Tecniche Nuove

Car suitable for being integrated as an electricity grid reserve

Nissan LEAF

To meet the universal desire for a transition to decentralised energy generation from renewable sources, new and innovative solutions for stabilising the electricity grid are necessary. The increasing use of renewable energy leads to fluctuations in the grid, which must be initially balanced by primary regulation, able to prevent impending power cuts at a second’s notice.
In Hagen (Germany) an important milestone on the road to emission-free energy and mobility has been achieved by technology company The Mobility House, energy supplier Enervie, transmission system operator Amprion and car maker Nissan. With the Nissan Leaf and an innovative charging and energy management technology, the project partners have succeeded in qualifying an electric car for all the Tso regulatory requirements for primary power regulation. This means that the car can be integrated as a regulating reserve for the German electricity grid – a breakthrough in the establishment of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology in Germany.

Nissan LEAF

Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, with integrated bidirectional charging technology, is able not only to extract power from the grid and store it in its traction battery, but, if necessary, also to feed power back. This is called the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) concept.
The bidirectional chargeability of Nissan’s electric car is the foundation for its integration in the pilot project at the Enervie site in Hagen. In combination with innovative, intelligent charging and energy management technology from The Mobility House, the charging and discharging processes can be controlled and monitored.
As one of four Tso’s responsible for the transmission of power in Germany, and thus charged with the stability of the power grid, Amprion is a supporter of the ambitious V2G project. The Tso has defined the technical and regulatory requirements for prequalifying a mobile battery storage unit for the market for primary regulation. Amprion has now approved the Nissan Leaf, as the first electric car, in combination with the control system from The Mobility House, as suitable for this function.

Alternate or direct current motors?

ac or dc motors

Obviously, we are not referring to AC-DC, the group of “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black”. We are instead asking the question whose answer determines the first engineering choice, in other words “alternate current or direct current motor”?
It is worth noticing that this choice simply concerns the motor power supply type, even before opting for a precise technological solution. The power supply type, in fact, determines some important structural characteristics of the actuator and, consequently, influences its use type and the relative performances.
Let us try, then, to give an answer to the question: AC or DC?

Direct current motors

Big, massive and powerful, they are the legacy of an age when the regulation, waiting for the future PWM techniques, was possible only on direct current systems.
In particular, the most performing structural typologies of DC motors provided for the possibility of regulating independently field voltage and current (i.e. of the stator winding when present as replacement of permanent magnets) and armature voltage and current (that is to say of the rotor winding).With configurations like the above-described one (called with independent regulation), it was possible to obtain specific operation curves for each type of or dc motors
Opportunely regulating, for instance, the voltage and current magnitudes, it was possible to obtain situations in which the torque delivery was the highest in standing starts and then decreased in almost linear manner with the speed rise. These were (and still are) typically the drive requirements. However, beyond applicative situations, we are analysing what are the advantages and the disadvantages connected with the use of this type of motor.

Brushes and sparks

Structurally, all DC motors have the wound rotor; it is clear that, to keep the rotation direction constant, it is necessary to supply armature current so that the magnetic field generated always interacts in the same sense with the magnetic stator field; however, since the rotor rotates on its own shaft, the magnetic interaction between rotor magnetic field (mobile rotary) and stator magnetic field (fixed) inverts the direction every 180°; a DC motor powered in this way, instead of rotating, actually would oscillate between a 0° position and 180° one. Extending the reasoning to each angle fraction, we deduce that the part of rotor winding to be powered at each fraction of angle is different from the one of the previous fraction and from the one of the successive fraction.
In DC motors, therefore, the rotor winding is actually composed by many sections and each of them is powered for a determinate fraction of the round angle.
The rotor shaft of direct current motors is then always equipped with a ring subdivided into longitudinal sectors, insulated one another, each pair of them acts as a contact terminal for a section of the armature winding.
Since the rotor turns, the rotor power supply, which is provided by sliding contacts (brushes), powers then in succession the different sections of the rotor winding, keeping the interaction between the magnetic fields constant and maximum.
Therefore, DC motors imply several circuit switchovers during their rotation; we can even state that the higher is the switchover number (i.e. the more is fractioned the rotor winding), the more the motor offers a constant torque corresponding to the highest that can be supplied. Unfortunately, each switchover requires that brushes open a circuit and immediately close the successive one and this means spark production that, as such, is source of radio-electric disturbances; such disturbances, depending of the motor power and rotation speed, can also be of notable entity and prevent or affect the operation of other contiguous electronic parts. This problematic aspect is then joined by the costs of machine downtimes determined by the necessary periodical maintenance owing to the wear of sliding contacts.

Alternate current: no disturbances

Alternate current motors do not need, in the vast majority of cases, sliding contacts because the rotor is not wound; in this type of actuators, the magnetic field of the mobile part is generated by induction directly by the one of the part fixed on a sort of “virtual” rotor winding, existing in virtue of its structural shape said “squirrel cage”.ac or dc motors
Just for information, in the technical literature these motors are called in several ways, including “induction motors “, “asynchronous motors”, “motors with rotor in short circuit “, as well as, naturally, with explicit references to squirrels.
The absence of brushes and of consequent sparks annuls all maintenance requirements imposed by DC motors, limiting reset interventions to the mere replacement of bearings when worn out. Moreover, being structurally much simpler that DC motors, AC motors provide the not secondary benefit of low investment costs.
On the other hand, this type of motors strongly suffers standing starts, requiring even ten-time higher pickup current than the nominal one. If not managed, this phenomenon induces violent overheating that, in many cases, can be even lethal for the motor. AC motors, used in applicative situations where no frequent stops or slowdowns occur, need, then, opportune cooling extra-ventilation and/or opportune oversizing.
They are not linear elements, and this is an even more important characteristic of AC motors: the torque they provide is not linear function of any significant magnitude (voltage, current, rotation speed and so on.), featuring instead a fluctuating trend in the nominal operating range, with a single peak at a rotation speed approaching the highest permitted. This means that induction motors are affected by serious regulation troubles of the rotation speed and, apart from simple ON-OFF applications (for instance a pump or a conveyor belt), all AC induction motors today find wide use in motion applications only if controlled by opportune electronics (inverter) able to linearize their operation curve, i.e. to make the delivered torque constant.

Brushless is better

Some years ago, somebody had the idea of combining the advantages of DC motors with those of AC motors: capability of maintaining the maximum torque in the entire speed range, unwound rotor and, therefore, absence of sliding contacts, possibility of starts and restarts without overheating damages, user-friendly speed regulation.
The new class of motors, with much pragmatism, has been called “brushless”, that is to say “without brushes”, i.e. without sliding contacts.
The technical and functional characteristics of this class of actuators are notable indeed: almost constant torque in the entire speed range, unwound rotor, possibility of constant speed variation without appreciable torque loss, possibility of frequent stops and restarts.
Since in any motor the rotation occurs due to the interaction between the stator and rotor magnetic fields, if in brushless types the rotor is not wound, it means that it must be in some ways magnetic; the rotor, in fact, is composed by powerful permanent magnets whereas in the stator (powered) it is generated a rotary magnetic field that “drags” the or dc motors
To deliver high torque, the magnetic fields must be very intense; the stator one can be made such by opportune current values whereas for the rotor one is important the quality of the permanent magnets that, to be up to the situation, are made with special materials. This explains one of the reasons for the higher cost of a brushless motor than a standard induction motor.
To achieve a uniform rotation and always the highest possible torque, inside brushless motors is always housed an angular rotor position sensor that provides a feedback to the controller on how to generate the stator magnetic field.
Such sensor can be of discrete type, i.e. able to recognize only a finite number of angular positions, or analogue, able to provide a different piece of information for each recognizable angle according to its resolution.
As for a discrete sensor nothing changes in the entire angle portion included between two distinguishable positions, this type of brushless motor is powered in DC; the motors equipped with analogue sensors are instead powered by sinusoidal alternate current where the progression of the angular position corresponds to an equivalent progression in the supply voltage.
It is evident that the higher resolution allows a better torque supply homogeneity.

Energy efficiency

The motor is an object consisting of two parts: the stator that, precisely “stays”, integral with the fixing surface, and the rotor that, exactly, “rotates” inside the stator.
It is clear for all that accelerating or slowing down an object means to win its inertia; it is then as clear for all that the inertia depends on the mass (to have a confirmation, it is sufficient to try to push first a bicycle and then a truck). Well, in motors with unwound rotor the rotor mass is limited and then with low inertia. All that results in a noteworthy energy saving because all the energy supplied is used to produce torque and not to win mechanical inertias, as it happens instead in DC motors. Not only: low inertia means also high dynamics, i.e. performance in quick speed changes and this, in modern industrial machines, is irremissible.
First in the energy-efficiency ranking are then AC motors with unwound rotor, that is to say asynchronous and brushless. However, if the energy density is at stake, then brushless are the real winners because, in virtue of the most efficient interaction between magnetic fields, with the same power as asynchronous competitors, they have much smaller physical sizes; this, in forefront industrial machines, is almost as irremissible.
Last, but not for this reason negligible, DC motors that, even if energy-eaters, grant high performances in critical sectors like drive and lifting. (Alberto Pivari)

The updated version of the MotoE all-electric superbike prototype

MotoE all-electric superbike prototype.

The partnership between CRP Group’s specialized companies and Energica Motor Company to fine-tune the all-electric superbike for the 2019 FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup goes full steam ahead: an updated version of the MotoE prototype made its first public appearance on-track for testing during the French MotoGP™. The test was carried out by both Loris Capirossi and the Energica official test rider Alessandro Brannetti.
All the solutions have been developed with the support of CRP Group’s know-how. CRP will keep going on collaborating closely with Energica, to achieve optimal results in a very short time.

The test was carried out by both Loris Capirossi and the Energica official test rider Alessandro Brannetti.

CRP Technology (the CRP Group’s specialized company in the field of laser sintering and Windform composite materials) is manufacturing aerodynamic parts in professional 3D printing with Windform materials. CRP Meccanica (since over 45 years alongside F1 teams as strategic partner for the production of hi-tech mechanical components) is working on the development of the braking and suspension system.
The know-how of the two companies are supporting the study and development of the new battery.
All these elements have improved the general performance of the superbike, bringing it closer to the preset targets.
The next stop on the road to the 2019 FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup will be at CRP and Energica’s home GP in Mugello, with a very special rider for the demo lap: the four-time World Champion Max Biaggi.

Many applications for the new K1W water cooled motor

water cooled motor
The new water-cooled K1W motors feature power ratings up to 700 kW with high power density and very high efficiency.

The new K1W series of water-cooled motors has been recently launched by WEG, a global manufacturer of motor and drive technology.
The newly developed K1W motors are available up to energy efficiency class IE3 with rated power up to 700 kW and compact dimensions.
They are suitable for a broad spectrum of applications, including mixers, extruders, injection moulding machines, printing presses, paper machines and wire drawing machines. The new series of motors was developed by WEG’s German subsidiary Antriebstechnik KATT Hessen, commonly known as AKH.

water cooled motor
The water-cooled K1W motor is a strong player in situations where a lot of power is needed in a small space, external fans cannot be used, or high ambient temperatures prevail.

“The K1W series is a completely new line of water-cooled motors which are cost effective and meet the needs of a large number of applications thanks to numerous options. Among other things, they are a good choice when a lot of power is needed in a small space and the lowest possible noise level is desired”, says Uwe Guthardt, Managing Director of AKH. “The K1W series is ideal in situations where an external fan is not possible due to a high dust burden in the air or the motor heat cannot be dissipated directly to the ambient, for example in an operating environment that is already at an elevated temperature.”
The new series of motors is built to the specifications of vibration level A, protection class IP55 and insulation class F as standard. The shaft height of the available motors is between 200 and 355 mm. The motor casing and bearing shells of the standard version are made from steel.
The electrical options include optimisation for variable speed drive operation as well as special voltages and frequencies. The mechanical options of the K1W motors include water-cooled shafts, electrically isolated bearings, automatic lubrication, and foot or flange mounting. Special bearings for high axial or radial loads, special shaft materials, and special surface treatment and a variety of paint grades are also possible. Drive components such as holding brakes, back stops, shock absorbers and various encoders are additionally available.

Implemented factory: a job every 71 seconds

Control panel of the line.

Cassioli Group is specialized in the supply of plant engineering solutions for the automated handling and the industrial automation. Renowned for its products with high technological content and the development of “turn-key” solutions, the Group has supplied Lear Corporation, reference world partner for the supply of car seats, with the new factory at Redditch (UK) where they manufacture up to 1,200 jobs a day (job stands for the set of front/rear seats), with a performance providing for a job every 71 seconds.
«The factory – explains Vincenzo Campanella, marketing manager of Cassioli Group – includes the assembling lines equipped with all the relative handling and shipment system».

Workers at work along the assembling line.

Target of the supply was installing two new assembling lines for the production of car seats (front and rear lines) and an automatic shipment system to manage and to load on trailers the products to be delivered to final customers.
More in detail, the assembling line for front seats consists of: a double transport level chain provided with two pneumatic lifts for the automatic return of void plates to the lower level; a test and repair area with 9 stations for electric tests, 3 stations for Delphi tests and 3 for repair (with relative entry to the re-machining stations and exit for loading on truck); a control panel with HMI devices to manage the entire line.
«Similar to the line for front seats – adds Mr Campanella – also the one for rear seats can boast – in addition to the control panel with HMI devices to manage the entire line – also a dual transport level and two pneumatic lifts. The test and repair area provides instead for 5 stations for electric tests and 2 for repair. In this case, too, with relative entry to re-machining stations and output for loading on trucks».
The automated shipment system is more articulated, starting from the mezzanine intended for hosting the management of superimpositions. This is subdivided into two main lanes, the one of front seats and the one of rear seats. Conveyors have 3 levels: the upper level is for seats that move from assembling lines to shipment trailers, the intermediate level and the lower one are arranged for the return of empty pallets.

Product finished and ready for shipment.

«Shipment lines – ends Mr Campanella – include then also 8 lifts to connect the conveyors on the ground floor with those on the mezzanine, 2 re-sequencing shuttles on each floor that transport repaired seats and 2 specular warehouses to stock up the already sequenced seats».
Finally, in addition, 2 lines of empty stacked pallets positioned at the head of warehouses acting as feeding devices and a simulated hosting system for already sequenced seats ready for loading on trailer. In this case as well, the presence of 2 control panels with HMI devices allows managing the entire system.


From the aerospace sector to household appliances

thermoplastic components
Thanks to the manifold experiences gained in different sectors, Meccanica Generale has developed and patented a plane backrest.

The global current scenario, inherent to the sector of injection moulded thermoplastic materials, finally deals also with the aerospace ambit as very lively player.
This sector, increasingly oriented to the weight reduction of each aircraft component with a parallel focus on cost (reduction without any possible compromise in terms of safety and extreme technical requisites), is implementing industrial solutions that are opening new frontiers to thermoplastic materials.

plastic material
To identify the best material, Meccanica Generale has made a small prototype mould where to carry out the various tests for the determination of the plastic material

Meccanica Generale, a world-company in product engineering and manufacturing of injection moulds for plastic components operating on a world scale, some years ago started the pre-feasibility assessments of a new project for the aerospace seat of one of the major world producers in this ambit.
A project conceived with the precise aim of achieving a product weight reduction and relative decrease of the manufacturing cost. «Suiting the requests of a very demanding sector like civil aeronautics – explains Paolo Malatesta, Sales Manager – transferring the right mentality for the correct use of technologies and materials to customers was a fundamental step of the starting design phase».

From prototype to mass production

The team of Meccanica Generale, thanks to several experiences gained in other sectors such as automotive, household appliances and medical, has designed the new component in full synergy with the customer’s team, spread in USA and North Ireland. thermoplastic materials
«We are honoured – underlines Malatesta – to think that in Jesi we have developed, patented and, for 12 months, mass-produced the backrest for all new Economy Class planes by Boeing».
Meccanica Generale has implemented a prototype for tests, in order to determine the component properties once moulded, complying with the severe sector regulations, like for instance very high loads of the structure, the lowest possible weight and non-flammability.
Thorough structural and fluid-dynamic calculations, together with simulations of the moulding process, have allowed accomplishing a continuous high-quality process for a complex component like the one at stake.thermoplastic materials
«The backrest – adds Malatesta – is composed by PEEK with the addition of 30% of carbon fibre and it is one of the biggest components on trade ever implemented with this super-technopolymer».
The design success was characterized by the strong spirit of integration among product design, technology of the chosen process and determination of the correct plastic materials.
«We are speaking of the same “modus operandi” – ends Malatesta – applied effectively also in the other sectors where our company operates.

plastic materials
Structural analysis carried out on the prototype part using one of the tested materials.

The technical solutions identified prove in fact valid and very promising for new applications in the household appliance industry, pioneering sector of Meccanica Generale, where there are still wide innovation possibilities.
Innovating also exceeding the conventional product visions and applying an increasingly platform-oriented engineering

Therefore, the made in Italy confirms to be the breeding ground for new products designed in up-to-date and competitive way, always topical issues in the global industrial context.