Wednesday, October 21, 2020

ABB excellence plant is starting up

They have started the construction works of the new plant at San Giovanni Valdarno, Arezzo, operational since the end of 2021. The structure will act as global excellence centre and manufacturing site for the entire range of recharge systems for direct current (DC) electric vehicles by ABB, from those for domestic use to those for installation in public areas and for urban public transport. A further growth for ABB in the electric mobility ambit, which uses household technologies. The factory will be in fact characterized by the integration of digital solutions by ABB AbilityTM that will allow complete visibility and the optimization of the production of each single product, making warehouse automated management systems interconnected with factory departments.

R&D activities will be carried out in a dedicated space, taking up 3,200 square metres, for development and prototyping. They will focus on the implementation of innovative solutions, new software and management instruments of the product lifecycle to integrate fully R&D activities with manufacturing activities, both in-house and with external electronic production services.

Meanwhile, the integration of renewable energy sources, like solar panels on the roof, an optimized heating and conditioning system and the introduction of a fleet of electric vehicles for workers, logistics, sales and service teams will contribute in reducing the environmental impact of the structure.


Investment for a low environmental impact battery plant in Poland

Global top player in sustainable technologies Johnson Matthey (JM), announced that its new battery materials facility in Konin, Poland, has received a combined €135 million investment from two leading development banks, in yet another boost for the commercialisation of eLNO and the electric car industry. eLNO is the portfolio of ultra-high energy density next generation cathode battery materials. These are expected to improve the performance of lithium ion batteries and help promote electric vehicle usage on a larger scale.
The production capacity in Konin will be 10,000 tonnes of eLNO per year, enough for around 100,000 fully electric vehicles. In addition, the site, which will start production in 2022, has the potential to expand tenfold through further investment. Construction of the plant began this year.
Johnson Matthey aims to create a low environmental impact battery supply chain, using renewable energy and sourcing raw materials – lithium, cobalt, nickel – from “ethical” mines.
«Construction of the new plant in Konin – said Christian Günther, Chief Executive, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey – is a significant milestone in the commercialisation of our eLNO battery cathode materials. Supported by this funding, we plan to have eLNO in production on auto platforms by 2024, enabling the shift to electric vehicles and a cleaner, healthier world for us all».

Only electric forklift trucks in Sofidel Group factories from now onwards

With a record acceleration, a maximum travel speed of 21 km/h and further improved lifting speed and height, the new electric RX 60 25/35 forklift trucks by STILL combine the agility, the acceleration, the dynamism and the prompt braking of electric forklift trucks with the high-performances that in the past only diesel or LPG forklift trucks could assure. Due to these characteristics, RX 60 25/35 are suitable for applications in various sectors, like logistic, food & beverage and mechanical industry, offering notable use versatility: from loading and unloading operations of lorries to the horizontal transport of load units, from the stacking in shelves with maximum height of 7390 mm to commissioning and good preparation operations.
As perfectly knows Sofidel Group, world top player in the production of tissue paper for hygienic and domestic use, which has decided replacing all thermal forklift trucks in operation in its production sites and warehouses with electric forklift trucks.
Today, in Italy Sofidel can rely on a fleet composed by over 160 STILL forklift trucks– prevailingly electric frontal RX 20 and RX 60 – which are used for all activities, from the handling of raw materials to the finished product stocking in warehouse and the loading on lorries. To meet the specific requirements of the paper industry, most forklift trucks are provided with special equipment, like the grippers studied to handle cellulose bales or paper rolls. Moreover, 2 of them have been recently equipped with innovative traceability systems aimed at assuring the highest safety of the work environment and at optimizing the allocation of pallets and the courses travelled by means. Equipped with detection antenna and forefront Tag RFID reading systems, they have become an essential component of the IREAD4.0 system implemented by Sofidel for the monitoring and the automatic management of goods and forklifts trucks.

Electric boats: a “Tesla” in the waves

Among the companies that are trying to bring the electric motor in the world of boats, there is the Seattle start-up Zin Boats, which aims at producing electric boats and at ranking on the market to propose “the Tesla of the sea”, so demonstrating that electric boats can be a valid alternative to those powered by fuel. For this reason, the product conceived by the company is called Z2R, a 20-foot speedboat powered by BMW batteries, with 160-kilometre autonomy.
Z2R weighs around half of a standard boat of the same size. Weight is a fundamental matter: to move a boat, more power is necessary than the one needed for a car, a limit that hindered the previous electric experiments, carried out on boats in the Sixties.
The current lower cost of lithium-ion batteries is giving the opportunity of experimenting in this issue. Those used by Z2R, with a cost of about 250,000 dollars, are BMW-branded, able to power a Torqeedo motor that reaches speeds of 30 nodes. The autonomy is 160 kilometres, not exceeding 15 nodes.

Electric cruise motors under testing for NASA’s first all-electric X-plane

X57-Maxwell-CGI (Credits: NASA)
X57-Maxwell-CGI (Credits: NASA)

An important step forward for the X-57 Maxwell, NASA’s first all-electric X-plane.
Several rounds of tests, high power, and endurance testing are undertaken at Empirical Systems Aerospace, or ESAero, of San Luis Obispo – California, to verify that the electric cruise motors are ready before they are installed in the X-57 vehicle itself.
X-57, modified from a Tecnam P2006T airplane, is currently in its first of three configurations as an all-electric aircraft, called Modification II, or Mod II.
Only at last phase 12 smaller high-lift motors along the wing’s leading edge will be ready to be activated during takeoff and landing.
All three mods of X-57 will utilize the same cruise motors and these verification and validation steps are to reduce risks and increase the safety and reliability of the components on the vehicle.
The results from cruise motor functionality acceptance and qualification tests will help in the effort to set airworthiness standards for electric aircraft.

Business platforms and electric motors manufacturing processes

Pixel Y GammeXYT
Pixel Y GammeXYT

What, in the middle of the alert state of the first months of the current 2020, proved to be useful to the health sector – open shared innovation, the contribution of “brains” distributed in several continents, the development of the additive manufacturing and the fast shift from ideation to creation – is and will be precious elsewhere, too.
For instance, in the ambit of R&D concerning electric motors.
As witnessed by the case of the small producer of French electric cars, XYT, which has become part of 3DExperience Lab network of Dassault Systèmes to benefit from functions in cloud modality.
According to the data highlighting that the average motorist travels in Europe on distances largely under 100 kilometres daily, the goal was proving that interesting market shares still exist for EV, in short-range mobility, too.

Pixel Y, the modular vehicle

The idea, based on a concept structure called Pixel Y, was giving birth to a modular vehicle whose 580 parts (against the around 10,000 of a standard car) can be assembled several times at will and according to the requirements «with a normal toolbox».
Tested for the mileage of one million kilometres overall and optimized for urban deliveries, the model was the founder of a family extended to Pixel X, dedicated to logistics, and about to include Pixel T seven-seat shuttle, too.
«XYT», Dassault Systèmes informed, «has become part of 3DExperience Lab to have access to the 3DExperience platform in cloud to accelerate its mission. The company is ready to collaborate with local and global talents in all fields: from design to engineering, from supplies to customizations. Our software solutions allow the company to carry out configurations and customizations dynamically and quickly, starting from the typical modular architecture of XYT».
The partnership with the network of Labs provides for the unified access to Mobility Development Kits by XYT and the respective open innovation contents, besides the management of a fabric of workshops (they have planned 1,000) and relative operations of work planning, delivery and assembling.

The rhythm of batteries

Wherever there is an electric car, we need a smart, fast and green recharge system. SparkCharge, established in 2014, has added portability features to these characteristics.
Its compact batteries, for whose development it is establishing partnerships energy providers, assure an additional autonomy of one mile per each minute of connection to the network to electric vehicles. In other words, in just ten-twenty minutes the driver of an EV broken down can recover, with all probability, the sufficient energy to return home, at least, safely. To guarantee the compatibility of the accumulator with the broadest possible number of vehicles, the company has exploited the 3DExperience platform and, especially in design phase, on Solidworks. Catia 3D has been used mainly in the passage phase to rapid prototyping while Netvibes Intelligence allows aggregating contents from various online sources, socials included, to orient future industrial developments according to users’ comments.

Formula E, the driving simulator of BMW Group

driving simulator

Among the leader brands in the ePrix competition ranks Bmw, which for the sixth Formula season has engaged the 23 years old German Maximilian Günther.
The pilot has recently expressed very positive impressions about the simulator: «It is the best instrument to get ready for races and to develop the car. We can try whenever we want and repeat the same things, to compare, then, the data we survey».
Technical remarks were explained by Rudolf Dittrich, General Manager of the development of Bmw motorsport vehicles: «With the simulator we can test things that we could hardly do on the track, besides testing on different tracks in the same day, imagining any possible scenario». The simulator is important for pilots but also for the entire team, especially after the reduction of official test days.
During the simulation, the pilot wears a helmet for both safety reasons, since the system is in motion, and to have the same field of view as during the race.

A solution to power motor control

Through the completion of the distribution system for MSFS motor starters for automation boards, Eaton makes available for its customers a solution to power motor control and protection circuits enriched with numerous novelties, including a 125 A power supply module, new adapters for modular and box-type switches and a 5 A /24 VDC power supply.
The distribution system has been designed to offer a safe solution for the distribution inside the automation board and it is now equipped with a 125 A power supply module, hence the nominal capacity of the bus bars of the system itself. This allows using MSFS at its highest use current, permitting its full exploitation, while the previous limit was 80 A.
The system is positioned between the base solution, constituted by three-pole bus bar blocks, and the higher-level solution characterized by SASY60i distribution bus bar system, therefore defining a new intermediate standard in terms of cost, versatility and current values for automation systems.
Eaton, in the context of the widening of MSFS system, now proposes new adapters that extend the MSFS use also to utilities not strictly connected with the motor starter. This is possible because they allow connecting to the system both modular FAZ switches up to 63 A and the box-type NZM1 switch up to 125 A.
Meanwhile, in the suitable version (ROSF), also the new hybrid EMS2 starters (Electronic Motor Starter) can be coupled to the MSFS system.
Moreover, among the novelties the system completion provides for, there is also a three-phase 5 A /24 VDC power supply that, in most of automation applications, allows powering 24 VDC auxiliary circuits of the electric equipment of a machine without providing for further power supplies. Finally, the adapters offered until now for «PKZM0/PKE + soft-starter DS7» combinations extend their use possibility also to variable-speed DE1(1) starters up to 1.5 kW.

Self-lubricating polymer bearings


In many applications, bearings and supports must work also in presence of filth, dust and chips. For this reason, they need continuous lubrication and maintenance interventions. Polymer bearings by igus are lubrication- and maintenance-free, even if the support is made of metal. Precisely for these systems with metal supports, igus has developed new iglidur J high-performance plastic bearings.
The new self-lubricating bearings with sheet metal housing allow notably decreasing maintenance costs. Moreover, this new material prevents the deposition of dirtiness and dust and this represents a considerable advantage in terms of wear and allows avoiding unforeseen machine downtimes. Igubal bearings are made through injection moulding and they are economically advantageous.
They can be mounted in few seconds to replace ball bearings in already existing standard metal housings or they can be bought with a low-cost sheet metal support. The joint is composed by the sheet metal housing and by igubal ball bearing and is directly available in stock. The plastic bearing has high resistance to wear and features a very low friction coefficient in dry operation.
Currently, igubal bearings are available in three sizes for low-cost sheet metal housings (Ø20, 25 and 30 mm) and for injection moulded housings (UC204-210).

Battery system simulation software

To Support Advanced Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Design, Altair, a global technology company providing solutions in product development, high-performance computing and data intelligence has announced the addition of the CellMod™ Virtual Battery by Sendyne to the Altair Partner Alliance (APA). So, CellMod™ Virtual Battery and BasicPackMod by Sendyne are now available for use by Altair HyperWorks™ customers.
CellMod™ is the first lithium-ion virtual battery capable of predicting cell and pack behavior, including thermal behavior, with an accuracy of better than 97 percent under a wide range of test conditions. Utilizing a sophisticated electrochemical model, CellMod is packaged as a functional mock-up unit (FMU), allowing it to be easily integrated into most major simulation packages, such as Altair Activate®, via the open industry standard functional mock-up interface (FMI).

After all, improving battery system performance is critical to facilitating the projected global electric vehicle market growth. An accurate battery model is the starting point for battery pack design, system control and optimization. The simple equivalent circuit (EC) models that are typically used today lack predictive power and are insufficient to the task. Taking a physics-based approach to simulating integrated systems that is accurate and runs faster than real-time can significantly improve the design of battery-based systems and optimize their long-term performance and safety.
Unlike EC models, CellMod accounts for physical processes taking place inside the cells, including diffusion in solids, diffusion in electrolytic solutions, reaction kinetics, charge transport, heat transport, etc. Because of this, CellMod can predict battery cell behavior with a high degree of accuracy.