Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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

Marine and industrial segments. Volvo Penta accelerates towards electrified power

Volvo Penta

With the aim of becoming a driving force in sustainable power solutions, Volvo Penta is going full charge into hybrid and all-electric drivelines, offering electrified solutions in both its marine and industrial segments by 2021.
Volvo Penta has issued a clear statement of intent with the news that by 2021 it will provide electrified power solutions for both its land and sea-based business segments.
“Volvo Penta is embracing the electric transformation and will be at the forefront in delivering compelling business cases to customers using this new technology,” says Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta. “We will take a full systems supplier approach helping our customers in the transition to the new technology. This will happen application-by-application, on the basis that the business case for switching to electric will differ across our many customer segments.
As part of this increased commitment, Volvo Penta has restructured its organization to accelerate the switch towards electrified power and has committed to an ambitious ramping up of its electrification investment program. An electromobility development-and-test laboratory has also been established at its Swedish headquarters.
As a Tier 1 partner to many leading equipment manufacturers in the marine and industrial segments, Volvo Penta is to further develop the proven electric platforms from the Volvo Group.
While the power outputs and applications of the initial electric systems are being kept confidential for the time being, the company has announced that both hybrid and all-electric solutions will be offered at the outset. Volvo Penta is already field testing early prototypes and system validation is under way.

Upgrading and digitalizing the motor fleet to save energy

Digitalization and automation technologies will be integral part of the efficient management of the whole industrial sector. ABB top player has been a pioneer in this field for decades and it has recently launched a series of digital services connected with the Internet of Things (IoT) for the efficiency of motors, generators and drives.
The concept? Collecting data from processes and equipment to identify possible improvements, so decreasing the company’s energy costs and, consequently, emissions.
Removing the gearbox from the equipment set-up and replacing its functions with a modern, fit-for-purpose alternative coupled directly to the paper machine has proven to be practical and efficient. A gearbox suffers from energy losses during mechanical movements, which means higher energy consumption. When the drive is directly attached to the production machine using the permanent magnet technology, energy consumption is reduced.
The main advantage of this direct drive access is that it is gearless. When there are no gears, the motor speeds are lower. This way, a much longer service life can also be expected from the bearings. In ABB motors these last up to 200,000 hours or approximately 23 years in operation. The system is reliable right from the start and remains this way throughout its lifecycle, reducing electricity consumption and reaching high horsepower at low voltage.
Actually, a gearless direct drive motor system, such as those available from ABB, bring benefits and savings to the user, particularly when it becomes a ‘connected drive’ through digital solutions. These direct drive systems are based on a permanent magnet motor and connect directly to the production equipment
without a gearbox. ABB has developed and delivered this technology to a multitude of pulp and paper mills around the world and several advantages have been identified from seeing direct drive systems in action.

Partnership for the industrial full electric loader

The protagonists of a successful collaboration in the world of industrial machines are Moog and Dolomitech companies. The broad segment that includes excavation, material handling and transport machines is increasingly protagonist of electrically powered vehicles that join conventional ones. Concerning this, emblematic is the electric industrial loader implemented also thanks to Moog, top player in the supply of high-performance solutions for industrial automation. It is a “full electric” machine with characteristics that allow its use in industrial areas and buildings.
The project was managed by Dolomitech, engineering company headquartered in Trento, and it is characterized by several complexities as it is a “monster” loading machine in the category of industrial electric vehicles.
The machine weighs 50 t, it can lift 3 t and is equipped with an arm that reaches 18 m extension. Its mission is the short-range handling in iron and steel areas and plants, with performances that concern the mechanical, motion and electric aspect. Precisely due to this reason, Moog engineers have designed a state-of-art system, with each loader equipped with 3 EPU, Electro-hydrostatic Motor-Pump Unit, 4 servomotors and 7 customized DR2020 servo-drives.
The successful Dolomitech case proves that Moog technology enables the existence of battery-powered machines, anyway with the same performances as conventional diesel systems.