Sunday, July 21, 2019

Focus: future scenarios and technological trends – Part 3

After outlining the product and support proposal for the electric motor world in automotive and/or appliance ambit, we have asked interviewed companies their point of view on possible future scenarios/technological trends.

“The most felt requirements in the sheet metal forming market, especially for the automotive sector– highlights Michele Archenti, Sales and Marketing Manager AIDA Europe – are, and will increasingly be, more control and more automation of manufacturing processes. The revolution called Industry 4.0, aimed at boosting innovation in industrial field, mainly focuses on the theme of the integration and the connection of industrial machines to the corporate net. Concerning this, the most important novelty at which we are working, concerns the use of Machine Learning algorithms to offer advanced preventive maintenance solutions able to help us in preserving the most important good of each customer: manufacturing continuity”.

Precisely according to this vision, AIDA group has already developed and implemented its complete solution for the data processing (through cloud computing): AiCARE (AIDA Information Care System). It can provide advanced information about the production and maintenance state of each single press, such as, just to make an example, manufacturing data, data on energy consumptions, on the oil quality or the operational temperature, or data regarding the use degree of each single element that composes the press.
“The AiCARE system– adds Archenti – has been conceived to be integrated on all of our press typologies but, at the same time, it can be seen as an external device to be implemented on already installed presses”.
Therefore, it is a solution “that can be retrofitted” on the machine fleet already installed. Not only AIDA presses are concerned but the installation is possible also on other manufacturers’ presses.

Concerning possible future trends and scenarios, Bluergo thinks that the electric motor evolution as traction, in automotive ambit, will have its course, with times a bit delayed compared to what imaginable just some years ago. Owing to different reasons, as Andrea Cusinato, Sales Department Bluergo, specified: “Without prejudice to the environmental and performance benefits, there are some criticalities and difficulties not completely solved, I think. I am referring, for instance, to an infrastructure and to a grid energy not ready to transpose “big numbers”. Likewise, the vehicle cost for end-users, even if constantly adapted, unfortunately does not seem affordable for today’s users of small subcompacts, yet. In other words, times are not mature for a mass diffusion, yet. From our point of view, we believe instead the petrol/methane, diesel/methane conversion technology is more within reach”.

In the last biennium, the company has been very active and committed to the latter context, with the supply of tailored electromagnetic components.
“If, instead, with electric motor – specifies Cusinato – we mean not only the traction, it is indisputable it is in constant evolution. Especially if we refer to brushless motors, which nowadays represent the almost totality of motions and drives equipping a car”.

Bluergo has been committed to this ambit for years and it is investing huge resources in it. A strongly growing market that, today, absorbs a significant percentage of the corporate production.
“Referring to the Home Appliance sector – adds Cusinato – it is following the same evolutionary course, with the replacement of standard single-phase motors with brushless technology. However, also in this case the cost aspect hinders its mass diffusion”.

Cagnoni confirms the electric motor world is living a constant growth in the automotive and appliance sectors.
“Nevertheless – specifies the managing director Giordano Sorci – the brushless motor is rapidly spreading, widening applicative opportunities. Today, also for this reason, our customers, I would say about 10% of them, are diversifying productions by introducing the brushless technology, too. However, not all sectors can avail themselves of these typologies, therefore I believe the conventional brushed motor still has several decades of career in front”.

Automation is increasingly shifting towards motors produced in smaller yearly quantities. This is the point of view of Dema that, by voice of the owner Mr Cesare Librici, confirms how such datum influences the technological requisites demanded for its plants.

“If previously – states the engineer Librici – typically one of our automated machines was required by one of our customers that had productions of 500,000, one million of parts yearly, today we have dropped by one order of magnitude. This means the demand for the part of our competence is oriented towards a fully automatic process. And no longer semi-automatic or even manual. This interpretation concerns both the automotive and the industrial world. More complex is instead interpreting trends and scenarios for the appliance industry that, still according to our point of view, does not seem to show particular interest in investments in new products today”.

Clear and precise also the vision of Demak about possible future scenarios/technological trends where the electric motor will be the protagonist.

“Certainly electrification – states the Technical Sales Manager, Massimiliano Balboni – already in course for some years, will become a “vital” and decisive step for all OEMs and for the whole chain. Especially, however, for companies that will mandatorily need to integrate into their manufacturing cycle technologies with zero or minimal impact on the environment. Therefore, it is undoubted that companies themselves, besides investing in R&D activities for the development of electric traction with more autonomy, will be also requested to provide for investing in “Eco-Friendly” technologies, which can grant, at the same time, excellent-level performances of the electric motor and of other components”.

The future of automotive is electric. Sergio Iori, president of EuroGroup, has no doubt.

“The automotive industry– he affirms – is getting ready for the increment of the demand for electric vehicles. We cannot establish with certain responses, yet, whether and when the car with thermal motor will end, whether and how much the hybrid traction will still develop. However, it is certain the activity that today concerns the productive developments of electric vehicles is, according to many, a real Tsunami and, anyway, an epochal turning point”.

Christian Grob, Supervisory Board Chairman of GROB-WERKE, underlines how it is important to remind the e-mobility is still a relatively new concept for the automotive field.

“All market players– he declares – must adapt their approach. Working in strict collaboration with primary sector brands, it was immediately clear that there was a big need of mass production installations in the automotive industry, with particular attention to key components, that is to say the electric motor and battery components. Currently, designs are created and developed only through a strict consulting with the automotive industry. Even if markets are reacting to this with different speeds, Grob sales have already suited new technologies worldwide”.

Wide, efficacious and detailed is the reflection expressed by Inarca on possible future scenarios/technological trends, implemented in automotive and appliance ambit.

“In automotive ambit – highlights the sale manager Alessandro Rocchi – the increasingly extended demand for components managed by electronics makes the need of connecting mechanical parts to boards or circuits more and more frequent. This will lead to an ever-rising diffusion of the mechanical cold junction, much more efficient than welding, due to both the minor problems in junction phase and the possibility of replacing parts quickly. Consequently, the market trend is favourable for us, since we have invested for years in Crimp and IDC technologies, where today we can say we are technological leaders. Moreover, the more and more diffused presence of aluminium, instead of copper, as material used for electric motors’ windings works for us, as we have developed for years more and more efficient solutions for applications of this kind”.

Referring to the appliance world, Rocchi points out that the technological evolution of the household appliance sector determines an increasingly massive presence of electronics, which exponentially increases the number of connections for each single device and produces more and more complex geometries.

“The successive step – he adds – will be the massive diffusion of iOt, internet of things, which will further boost this phenomenon».

In this context, Inarca proposes itself as technological reference partner: for years, in fact, it has developed a line of specific solutions for the mechanical cold junction (both Crimp and IDC), which allow utmost efficiency in application phase.

In the opinion of Enzo Montani from Piciesse, certainly last years’ data highlight a strong growth of the innovative mobility and motion: “Beyond the mobility in the strict sense – he adds– the sector dedicated to the terrestrial motion and to the introduction and refinement of more and more technological and attentive means is increasingly protagonist. We are referring to trains for electrified lines, to hybrid/electric cars, to e-bikes, to electric scooters, to segways and to hoverboards. Besides, aware of facing a more and more diffused electric production, probably the need of developing smart flexible grids, able to manage peaks and to distribute energy safely, will rise. This will highlight the importance of the so-called smart grids and will gradually require efficient and complete management and communication systems of grids themselves”.

More and more refined technology for more efficient and safer systems. This is the synthesis by Rodolfo Risatti, owner of Risatti Instruments: “We believe – he affirms – in the future, technology can nothing but refine and reach specialized levels that will grant more efficient and safer systems. According to this perspective, we daresay the technologized automated drive will be used on all transport means”.

The point of view of Samac reveals how the next evolution, already partly in course, will reside in the shift from electrification to electronification. A step that, for the company, will make the critical components of complex systems – like for instance the motor in a car but also an electric axis in machines – become independent in the management of their operation and maintenance parameters.

TE Connectivity estimates that trends and possible scenarios for the future are oriented towards an increased usage of aluminum wires.

Ugo Aime, Product Manager, explains and concludes: “Where there are no particular problems with the space for the components, more competitive solutions which are cheaper and lighter will be available”.

Concerning future trends and scenarios, Zoppas Industries Heating Element Technologies highlights a first big discriminant among hybrid, plug-in and full-electric vehicles. Moreover, car typologies will be subdivided by autonomy range and by market target, luxury and performances, too. The company’s hypothesis envisages a more and more fragmented market, to meet the manifold requirements that, in combination with the new trends of Megacities and of connectivity, will be defined by end-users. Concerning heating, the macro-typologies that Zoppas Industries Heating Element Technologies glimpses in the next future are the following: air heating for small cars for city-urban use; heating through fluid circuit loops for the cars of the average range; heating by heat pump for “premium” cars; heating through radiant surfaces as possible long-term evolution in the car interior.

Focus: products and technologies at the service of the electric motor – Part 2

What proposal of products and technological support for the electric motor world in automotive and/or appliance ambit?

World reference reality in the production of high-speed presses, automations and complete systems for the sheet metal forming, AIDA, for several time now, has already invested part of its research capability in the development of specific solutions for the production of electric motors. Today the fruit of this activity allows the company to offer two product lines fully dedicated to rolling: AIDA HMX Series and AIDA MSP Series.

Michele Archenti,
Sales and Marketing Manager AIDA Europe

“They are products– confirms Michele Archenti, Sales and Marketing Manager AIDA Europe – the market already highly appreciates. To the extent that we can boast hundreds of installations in leader players’ production plants”.
AIDA MSP presses (Multi-Suspension Points Presses) allow producing high precision and high efficiency motors such as EV motors, HEV motors and energy-efficient home appliances motors.

Executions that are highly suitable for the production of parts characterized by thicknesses under 0.2 mm.
“Such presses – adds Archenti – stand out for notable dynamic precision, due to both the compact design, to the architecture consisting in in-line multi-suspension points, to the native Aim function (i.e. Adjust In Motion) and finally to the balance reached between the high stiffness and the wide plan surface. Indispensable prerogative, the latter, to house tools with the number of stages needed for the production of high-efficiency motors”.

Specialized in the design and in the production of electromagnetic and electronic components, Bluergo implements smart technologies for the development of innovative solutions customized according to single requirements. A range of products that go from stator coils to laminated and electronic transformers, from solenoid valves to tachometer coils, from motor injectors to electromagnets for servomechanisms, from antennas to ferrite wound components.

“Productions – specifies Andrea Cusinato, Sales Department – intended for the sector of the Home Appliance, of white and brown goods, as well as for the automotive industry. We can supply complete packages for the latter, in particular, perfectly suiting our customers’ requisites. Concerning this, we can offer an all-round service that goes from the technical feasibility analysis to the co-design and virtual prototyping activity, from the fast-sampling to the design and implementation of mass-production equipment”.

Paolo Caviggioli, project manager of BTSR International

BTSR International operates in the design and manufacturing of electronic sensors for the quality control in the manufacturing chains of clothing-textile, mechano-textile and technical textile, besides operating for years also with solutions for the testing of metal wires (copper and precious metals).

“Ambit, the latter – confirms the project manager, Paolo Caviggioli – that has allowed further increasing our presence in the automotive market. With high-tech solutions, which include electronic sensors and smart systems, aimed at satisfying the most different requirements in the monitoring of wire sliding, of feeding tension control and of all major quality parameters of all kinds of wires: traditional wires, elastomers, glass fibers and carbon fibers”.

Among them, stands out the new patented CWF 2000, specific high-tech system, that is to say an innovative solution that redefines the state-of-the-art in the wire feeding technology, likely to have a significant impact in the sector of metal coil winding. Available in two versions (CWF2000 to work on machines with double-winding and coil and CWF2000 HCL for needle machines and needle winding machines), if finds applications in several sectors, such as producers of ignition coils for automotive, of solenoids, of transformers, of relays, of stator and rotor windings for household appliance motors.

Giordano Sorci, managing director of Cagnoni Srl

The activity of Cagnoni Srl includes three different manufacturing ambits, among which the production of electric commutators and the cold blanking of metal sheets. The latter results in the production of high-precision components made of iron, stainless steel, copper, brass aluminum and bronze, which find applications in industrial sectors, like the prevailing automotive and household appliances.

«Our product, that is the electric commutator – explains the managing director Giordano Sorci, at the head of the company together with his brother Ignazio – has always been focused on the requirements of the automotive and appliance world. Our process has been calibrated to meet the more and more severe requirements of these two sectors. Our customers’ trend is oriented to the reduction of the footprints and weights of the electric motor. Therefore, our range, which is focused on small high-performance commutators, perfectly matches this need».

Moreover, the company’s structure and organization avail themselves of engineers who interface with customers’ research and development teams and, together, they study alternative solutions to optimize more and more both costs and performances of the finished product. An unceasing research of technological solutions, materials and automations, which then allow Cagnoni to keep pace with times constantly and to deal with markets’ severe requirements.

Dema is specialized in the design and production of tailor-made automated lines intended for the manufacturing of rotors and stators for electric motors. Highly performing and reliable technologies to carry out sorting, packing, inspection and assembling processes. A context where it holds a protagonist role, side by side with leader manufacturers in the development of more and more challenging projects.

“Today more than in the past – states the owner, the engineer Cesare Librici – we are focusing our attention on the development of solutions dedicated to inspectioning, i.e. the complete geometrical, dimensional and optical-visual control of rotor and stator stacks produced, before they are used in other phases of the manufacturing process. This to satisfy more and more preponderant requirements in the production ambit of electric Powertrain, with total traceability of processed components. As if often happens, the automotive sector is pioneer, like in this case of process innovation. However, by technological transposition and transfer, the same can find applications also in other fields, like for instance appliances”.

In this context, the know-how and the deep competences gained in various operational ambits allow the company to study and to develop tailored, performing and reliable manufacturing lines and machines.

Demak produces plants for the degassing, meter-mixing and dispensing of epoxy, polyurethane, silicon resins, and several other types of resins. Moreover, the company can supply customers with the suitable resins for their processes and productions, through the sister company S.E. Special Engines Srl, formulating and producing chemical company.

Massimiliano Balboni, Technical Sales Manager of Demak Group

“Demak Group – underlines Massimiliano Balboni, Technical Sales Manager of Demak Group – approaches then the automotive EV/HEV market as supplier of plants and resins for the encapsulation of electric traction motors and other electric-electronic components. Every day the protection and the rise of performances of the electric motor becomes more important and here the use of the vacuum encapsulation technology becomes fundamental. In fact, with the choice of a suitable resin, it is possible to grant an important heat dissipation of the motor and higher resistance to collisions, vibrations, chemical agents, water, dust, and other external agents”.

EuroGroup Laminations is Holding of the Italian engineering group, world reference reality in the production of magnetic blanked laminations for stators and rotors of electric motors and generators. A Group today composed by 7 manufacturing units in Italy and other 5 in Mexico, United States, Tunisia, Russia and China. The Group is at the service of several sectors, like automotive, which provides the major boost of developments oriented to an epochal turning point towards the electrical car.

“In this survey– states Sergio Iori, president of EuroGroup – our Group plays an important role, offering more and more efficient stators/rotors for electric motors to the market. Efficiency that, in the specific case of electric vehicles, results in more autonomy of car driving distance”.

Sergio Iori,
President of EuroGroup

In the stator/rotor, this needs not only a use of steels with increasingly high magnetic and permeability features but also thicknesses that from standard 0.5-0.65 mm decrease to 0.30-0.20 mm (and someone already uses 0.10 mm), besides stricter geometrical tolerances owing to heat and noise reduction reasons.

“Our response/offer to the market– adds Iori – provides for several solutions: progressive blanking dies able to process these new materials, assuring the final characteristics demanded; assembling systems of single stator/rotor laminations; accessory operations on the motor, like magnet and shaft insertion and successive machining and balancing”.

In particular, the assembling systems of single stator/rotor laminations provide for various solutions: gluing (Glue Fastec); packing (Corpack/Zip) during the blanking with compensation by rotation of laminations, even with 0.20 mm thickness (granting a stacking-factor in line with the motor requirements); welding of stator/ rotor through laser/Tig/Mig technology.

“In line with the requisites of Industry 4.0 – adds Iori – we can assure the total traceability of our whole production. All that in compliance with quality procedures established by IATF regulations”.

This industrial approach is adopted by EuroGroup also for stators/rotors for the Home Appliances sector, to the end of a constant technical improvement, aimed at increasing the efficiencies of the electric motor for this type of applications.

GROB-WERKE is a family-run enterprise operating on international scale and headquartered in the Swabian-Bavarian town of Mindelheim, with a product catalogue that ranges from the universal machining centre to the complex manufacturing system provided with automation, from assembling units in the stock removal machining up to fully automated assembling plants.

Christian Grob, Supervisory Board Chairman of GROB-WERKE

“Our company – specifies Christian Grob, Supervisory Board Chairman of GROB-WERKE – is one of the few machine tool manufacturers in the world fully oriented to electro-mobility requirements. Our range of machines can accomplish the entire production process of an electric motor, from the various phases of wire winding and shaping to the assembling and contact. One of the main processes in the production of an electric motor is the phase of copper wire winding inside the stator. In this ambit, Grob can make available all known technologies, including the wave winding, the hairpin winding process and the fan-coil technology. Grob Italy S.r.l. can also put at disposal winding/insertion solutions, as well as the needle technology”.

In short, this means that Grob provides the market with all available manufacturing processes for the electric motors demanded by the automotive industry.

Alessandro Rocchi,
sales manager of Inarca

Inarca is a company that makes research its main asset, then applied to the design and production of terminals, connectors, technologies and machines for electric connections.

“Reading it – comments the sales manager Alessandro Rocchi – it seems a stock phrase but the innovation that derives from intense research activities is actually the main competitive edge that has allowed us, along the years, an almost constant growth. Besides, it is also the primary factor that permits us to compete on apparently difficult markets, since characterized by much lower pure labour costs”.

After the recent celebrations of the 25th anniversary of activity, Piciesse starts the new year with a heritage of experience and internationalism in the world of printed circuit boards. Almost 50% of its turnover comes from the automotive industry, inside of which stand out the apt qualitative policies for constant improvement and updating, in certification ambit, too (see VDA 6.3), and for promoting the constant technological upgrade.

Enzo Montani, partner and member of Piciesse Board of Directors

“Power circuits – specifies Enzo Montani, partner and member of the Board of Directors, together with Claudia Marinelli and Gian Marco Baldini– can represent a valid proposal by Piciesse to the electric motor world. Such market is increasingly connected with this typology of circuits, whose materials, granting the heat dissipation, reach high copper thicknesses, i.e. from 105 to 400 µm, and they often allow connections to further heatsinks. The result? An increased and better heat management. Currently, the means prevailingly equipped with this typology of PCB are machines for handling, warehouse management or displacements of goods, such as forklifts, tow hooks, cranes and so on. They are defined power circuits because they can withstand and manage a bigger passage of electric current, with a higher voltage/current product able to create, precisely, more power”.

Risatti Instruments produces systems for the trial and testing of electric equipment.
“The company – explains the owner Rodolfo Risatti – has operated in the specific market for over seventy years and every year it goes on investing in research and development to grant innovative forefront testing systems, in conformity with Industry 4.0 law, too”.

Rodolfo Risatti, owner of Risatti Instruments

Precisely due to this characteristic, the company goes on operating worldwide. Specialized also in the automotive sector, today it can meet customers’ single requirements, supporting them in each phase of the testing process (which encompasses also scooters and electric bicycles) like for instance: control of magnetic losses of both stator and rotor iron, of already assembled stacks; complete stator testing, including the measurement of partial discharges and the ohmic resistance, in alternate, at various frequencies; testing of the die-casting of both aluminium and copper rotor.

“They concern – adds Risatti – also systems and solutions for the testing of the finished motor, both as only motor and provided with reduction gear and differential gear, both in production and in laboratory, with detection of all characteristics of torque, revolutions and efficiency. Last but not least, also the instruments for lab tests and the systems for testing the service life of batteries, with setup of programmed charge and discharge cycles”.

Samac, since 1975 specialized in the engineering and manufacturing of machines and plants for the automation of assembling and testing processes, for some years has been focusing its investments on R&D and marketing, in market ambits concerning electrified components and under electrification. This action has aroused the interest in the company by the major world players of the automotive industry, and not only. Electric brushless motors for steering systems (EPS) and for car fans, including stators and rotors, brushed electric motors for the motion of car seats and roof, tubular motors for the shutter movement are only some of the products assembled and tested on Samac plants in the last 5 years. The company has applied for years important Industry 4.0 concepts on the manufactured plants, such as predictive maintenance, interconnection with managerial systems and other machines, self-adaptivity of operational units, use of augmented reality for maintenance and assistance, plant control from remote, with the use of cloud technology, too.

TE Connectivity is a technology company that designs and manufactures connectivity and sensor products for harsh environments in a variety of industries, including automotive, appliances, data and devices’ industrial, energy and medical.

Ugo Aime, Product Manager Appliances in TE

“We also offer a wide choice of products – specifies Ugo Aime, Product Manager in TE Connectivity – for applications in electric motors, transformers, inductors, electromagnets, coils and other devices with enameled wire windings. A high value derives from offering “full package” solutions such as terminal + plastic cavity + assembly, to ensure a significant cost reduction, together with higher efficiency and reliability”.
The ‘Insulation Displacement Connection’ (IDC) / Crimp technology is a valid alternative to the welding process for enameled wire termination; this process is still used by majority of the market for electric motor connections.

“Connections with IDC/Crimp technology – Aime emphasizes – offer several advantages, including, for example, the absence of chemicals and high temperatures/power. Oxides and possible contamination risks are eliminated, providing a clean contact surface and a stable, gas-tight electrical connection. Another strength is the increased flexibility, since it is possible to terminate not only copper wires, but also aluminum and combinations of copper and aluminum wires”.

TE Connectivity is also offering different termination machines, that provide high reliability with minimal wire preparation. Additionally, many TE Connectivity machines have an automatic precision adjustment functionality, i.e. ‘Crimp Quality Monitor’CQM), to ensure maximum quality during the production process.

Zoppas Industries Heating Element Technologies, operating in over 200 markets in heating systems, considers the evolution of the automotive market in electric vehicles as a strategic opportunity to offer its “know-how”, gained in over 55 years of experience, in the thermal management of both batteries and of the entire car interior. At the state-of-the-art, the company is developing solutions of heating and maintenance of the correct operation temperature of batteries through both “direct heating”, then the applications of heating sheets directly in contact with cells, and with “indirect” proposals, like the introduction of conditioning circuits for fluid solutions and heat exchangers. Referring to the car interior, both “booster” solutions for heat pumps and air heating systems are available.

This is Part 2 of a three-part article
Read Part 1: Focus: electric motor, current and future scenarios
Read Part 3: Future scenarios and technological trends

Focus: electric motor, current and future scenarios – Part 1

The language of the future is increasingly “electric-oriented”, not only in automotive but also in appliance ambit and in the most different applicative sectors. Ferment that involves the entire manufacturing chain, with companies committed to providing innovation that keeps pace with a more and more challenging and competitive market. What is their product and service proposal, and their point of view on possible evolutions?

Increasingly spread in all application types, electric motors find all-round use due to their well-known peculiarities and operational technical specifications. In this context, undoubted protagonists and big users are, among the others, the automotive and the household appliance industry. Sectors that benefit from a complex manufacturing chain that must keep pace with technological innovation to be able to provide solutions in a more and more complex and competitive market. Manufacturing companies that, according to their specialization, supply components, machining lines and plants, besides support and consulting of absolute technical level. We have interviewed some of them. A representative panel (without the presumption of being exhaustive on the topic) to highlight their proposal of competences and solutions, besides trying to outline the possible future scenarios and trends.

This is Part 1 of a three-part article

Testing e-trucks in Europe?

Waberer’s (vehicle operator in international full truckload transportation in Europe) is willing to test and is open to participate in the introduction of Tesla’s e-trucks in Europe.
Also, as the firsts from Europe, Waberer’s tested the Tesla Semi e-truck designed for long-distance transportation. Waberer’s and Paccar Group (supplier of Daf trucks) are discussing the testing and introduction of electric and driverless vehicles under development.
“We at Waberer’s are committed to continuous innovation and seize every opportunity participate in our partners’ R&D and innovation programs. Electric and driverless truck developments may significantly reduce the environmental impact of road transportation and have a favourable effect on the cost side at the same time. We see a great opportunity in developments concerning logistic infrastructure. In fact, we have effectively implemented several digital innovations in our operations”, said Ferenc Lajkó, Ceo of Waberer’s.

Safety is crucial

For the development and the diffusion of vehicles equipped with autonomous driving systems, the safety matter is obviously central. The results of the research “Global Automotive Consumer study” by Deloitte have highlighted, for instance, that European consumers feel safer on an autonomous-driving car produced by manufacturers of the automotive industry than in cars proposed by hi-tech companies, thus revealing people’s trend to perceive brands already known and “tested” as more reliable. The safety of autonomous driving systems is a topic to which TÜV SÜD (independent body that operates in certification, inspection, testing, tests and training) has dedicated the “Driver Assistance Systems Conference”, held in Munich, in Germany, with the participation of over 200 engineers. Among the themes treated – as underlined Pietro Vergani, Business Unit Manager Consumer Product of TÜV Italia – they debated also the simulation issue, which will play a fundamental role in the future test and homologation activities. «Using these methods – he stated – test structures can assess daily up to 50 million scenarios: an unfeasible enterprise with physical tests on vehicles». Another subject discussed in Munich concerned the electronics of cars and these systems’ capability of imitating human behaviour.

Autonomous driving

The engineers attending the conference mentioned “neural networks”, i.e. a sort of artificial nervous system that allows machines or computers to learn autonomously, in compliance with the artificial intelligence vision. Besides, at the conference they presented IMAGinE project, which develops advanced driving assistance systems able to introduce support actions to the autonomous driving, too. Concerning instead platforms, the representative of an automotive company attending the conference underlined that “non-exclusive” ones will become more common in the future, they will be at disposal of various automotive companies and this will result in a reduction of costs, meanwhile making available a growing number of vehicles. Finally, in the opinion of Pietro Vergani, innovations also in car homologation methods will have to correspond to technological innovations. «We have analysed thoroughly new possible homologation approaches for autonomous-driving cars – explained Vergani – and we have inferred that virtual homologation methods, based on test simulation of virtual vehicles, are already reality and transposed by the legislation in course, even if not extensively and for dedicated approval ambits, like for instance the simulation of mechanical stresses on frames or underrun bars. Such methods, and the relative technical validations, are steeply rising and they will be the control basis for the vehicles of the next future».

 

The fastest all-electric aircraft by Rolls-Royce

This zero-emissions plane is expected to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). The 24ft-wide carbon-fibre aeroplane is being constructed by a 20-man team led by Rolls-Royce at a hangar the Staverton site.
The company hopes the plane will hit a world-beating top speed of more than 300mph when it takes to the skies over the UK in the first half of next year. The current record is 213mph, it was set last year by German-built Extra Aircraft 330LD, powered by a Siemens electric motor.
Inside a bustling hangar bay at the far end of Gloucestershire airport in South West England, a team of British engineers, designers, and data specialists recruited from across Rolls-Royce and beyond have set out to make history. They’re building a high-performance electric aeroplane unlike anything the world has ever seen. Scheduled to take to the skies over Great Britain in 2020, the aircraft will reach a speed of 300 mph – and quite likely more – making it the fastest all-electric plane in history.
This run for the record books is no stunt. It’s part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” – that’s intended to pioneer a third wave of aviation in support of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification.

AEIT Automotive 2019

After 3 successful editions, AEIT Automotive 2019 Conference will be held on July 2nd-4th 2019 (at the Politecnico di Torino, headquarter of Lingotto) to host regular papers in several areas of the multiform automotive field.
The 4th AEIT International Conference of Electrical and Electronic Technologies for Automotive (AEIT Automotive 2019) aims to be a solid reference of the technical community to present and discuss the most recent results of scientific and technological research for the automotive industry, with particular emphasis to applications and new trends.
The Conference covers all aspects of the segment focusing on electrical vehicles, connected autonomous cars and related mobility. AEIT Automotive 2019 will bring together in an annual event, spread over 3 days, the Electrical and Electronic Automotive specialists with the Information and Communication Technology ones. The Steering and the Technical Program Committee include experts from the Academic world, Associations, Key Industrial Stakeholders and Regulatory Authorities.
AEIT Automotive 2019 will be structured in 3 days with Scientific Sessions, including both lectures and poster sessions, Key-note Speeches, Round tables and Panel discussions, covering current electric automotive scenario with its national and international perspectives, development trends and the regulatory framework.
Among the topics of the Special Sessions scheduled there are recent advances for e-mobility power components, wireless Charging for EVs, Automotive Lighting Systems, Laser based manufacturing technologies for automotive, Intra-and Inter-vehicle photonic networks for data transport and controlling and photonic and electronic sensins for automotive.

China’s market of e-buses

New IDTechEx report, “Electric Vehicles in China 2019-2029” shows that the penetration in China of electric buses is more impressive than electric cars. Like most other new products, electric vehicles sell in an S curve of a slow start with over supply. Then comes fastest growth with supply sometimes unable to keep up with demand then comes saturation. Take pure electric buses as an example. Here China rapidly deployed 400,000, 99% of the total number in the world, then it collapsed subsidies causing a collapse in deliveries and sadly it mainly makes smoking buses again.

The rest of the world is beginning to compensate. For example, recently Qbuzz in the Netherlands has ordered 159 pure electric buses, Helsingborg Sweden 76, Brussels Airport 30 and London 68 pure electric double deckers. Cities across the UK recently placed a total of 263 orders for zero-emission buses. Warsaw will order 130 pure electric buses for delivery by 2021. Kazakhstan is expecting 700 electric buses and Azerbaijan another 500 over the next three years. However, India has the largest potential, with a government plan for an initial 10,000 pure electric buses replacing some of the 1.6 million registered buses there, all of which must go, says the government, sensitive to the deaths they cause. The Indian state of Uttarakhand has ordered 500 electric buses. Now India is responsible for about 25% of the pure electric bus orders outside China. The Chinese – mainly BYD – are behind much of the supply but by no means all. Tata Motors in India has orders from six cities for a total of 255 pure electric buses. Large subsidies are an essential part of the take-off everywhere, China being at the top of the growth curve and everywhere else at the fast growth part, though China may see another S curve based on free market demands when pure electric has price parity.

Battery costs have been a primary impediment. However, in an interesting development, busy bus routes are seeing progress to less or no battery. Eight countries have ten-second charging supercapacitor large buses now and non-stop top-up charging in many forms has arrived from solar bodywork to intermittent catenary, rails, coils in the road. Top-up, including stationary forms with gantries etc at bus stops, typically leads to 80% less battery and this and the reduction in battery prices has led to some projections of the battery being a mere 6% of bus cost in ten years’ time. For more on all that see the IDTechEx Research report, “Energy Storage for Electric Buses and Trucks 2019-2029”. That will hasten the day when the up-front price of pure-electric buses is at parity with diesel. The rising cost of diesel powertrains also helps. Consider the extra cost of diesel fume reduction measures such as 48V mild hybridisation and the cost of adding equipment to treat emissions. IDTechEx currently projects price parity around 2030 for large buses but the future can come early.

Electric mobility is glamour

Simultaneously with the most annoying design event of the year, the Milan Design Week, which tooked place from 9th to 14th April, featured the first edition of BluE eMobility Days, six days of events and debates dedicated to electric mobility and its evolution. Thus, smart mobility has attracted worldwide interest with “Salone del Mobile”, “Fuorisalone” and Design Week, a strategic choice to represent, in perspective, a model of world excellence in the transition to widespread and sustainable mobility. There is therefore a great link between design appeal and sustainable mobility. Another example is the initiative of Repower, a global group active in the energy sector and player in electric mobility, with the LAMBROgio and LAMBROgino cargobikes, designed by Makio Hasuike.

The light three-wheeled and assisted pedal vehicles characterized by aesthetic pleasantness and great comfort, astonished the visitors of the FuoriSalone, as well as the benches hi-tech E-LOUNGE for recharging bikes and other devices, located inside Piazza Castello.

Car suitable as electricity grid reserve

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.
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.