lunedì, marzo 25, 2019

Testing e-trucks in Europe?

Ferenc Lajkó, Ceo of Waberer’s.
Ferenc Lajkó, Ceo of Waberer’s.

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.

Engineering e-motors

Simulation

When car manufacturer Daimler formed a joint company in 2011 with Bosch, the world’s leading automotive supplier, the synergy between the two companies was obvious.
The joint company, EM-motive GmbH, combines Daimler’s expertise in fuel cells and batteries with Bosch’s knowledge of the development and production of electric motors to design and manufacture electric traction motors for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Because the motors are designed to be modular, they can be adapted to fit a variety of vehicle classes and meet specifications for many different vehicles.
Since 2012, the company has manufactured more than 300,000 e-motors for client companies throughout Europe.
Even with this combined expertise, manufacturing a modular engine is complex and challenging. In addition to the main engineering constraints (cost, mounting space for the motor, cooling and inverter-specific properties), the customer-based requirements for each type of engine cover a wide breadth of individual physical domains:
-Thermodynamics: coolant flow rate and temperature, environmental temperatures, as well as winding and magnetic temperatures
-Structural mechanics: mounting space, torque, power, speed, tolerances to other parts and forces on bearings
-Electrical engineering: voltage, current, inverter-specific properties
-Efficiency and acoustics: airborne and structure-borne noise
To make the challenge even greater, all of the parameters to be optimized have to be considered simultaneously. Other factors must also be taken into account: noise, vibration and harshness (NVH); safety; and the cost of the engine.
The engineers at EM-motive realized that, in such an interactive environment, a “classic” component development system, where rigid specifications for each component are designed separately and then assembled, was no longer possible.Simulation
Instead, the company developed a design workflow that incorporated simulation throughout to account for the dynamic interactions between the components, as well as all the necessary parameters to determine optimal solutions and ensure design robustness. The parametric workflow to support sensitivity analysis, design optimization and design robustness evaluation includes ANSYS simulation software and other software tools, and was built and hosted in ANSYS optiSLang.
These workflows help EM-motive to develop electric motors within challenging time and cost requirements, as well as resolve customized design challenges, such as a late-stage customer requirement change for an engine design.
As an example, a customer requested that the maximum speed for a particular engine needed to be increased by 1,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The centrifugal forces of the accelerated speed, however, would cause the rotor design to fail.
The engineers could increase the bridge thickness of the pockets for the magnets that are punched into the rotor lamination to withstand stress caused by the higher centrifugal forces. However, this would increase the flux leakage in the rotor itself, causing reduced torque and power.
An option to address this reduction is to increase the current in the windings (but only if higher current is available from the battery and electronics system).
This solution would intensify losses and reduce efficiency, and was not acceptable to the customer. It was therefore necessary to redesign the entire engine to comply with all requirements.
Fortunately, the EM-motive simulation workflow can be flexibly adapted to analyze the requirements for a specific engine, simulate all the dynamic interactions between the components, and present the customer with a solid understanding of the trade-offs for each design decision.
The workflow provides the foundation to determine the best compromise for often contradictory goals.

A workflow for digital exploration

During the procurement phase, using ANSYS optiSLang workflow connected to CAD and employing specialized electromagnetic–thermal software, the design engineers have the freedom to explore possible variations and their tolerances to fulfill customer requirements. They can then provide a fast answer so the customer will know if the requirements can be met with available motors or if new motor development is needed.
Through a set of iterative phases in which additional requirements are added, a new motor is designed and optimized using ANSYS simulation software in all the relevant physical domains. A shared interface with the ANSYS Simplorer systems simulator helps them analyze the influence of power electronics on the motor.
Because there is a bidirectional interface between ANSYS DesignModeler and the CAD system, engineers can create parameterized models of auxiliary geometries, such as the housing, and integrate them into the system design. The ANSYS tools allow the designers to use the results of one type of simulation as a boundary condition for another.
They can then use forces from an electromagnetic simulation with ANSYS Maxwell as initial data for a structural mechanical simulation with ANSYS Mechanical.SimulationUsing the various ANSYS tools integrated through ANSYS Workbench makes it possible to create a completely coupled simulation of the electromagnetic, mechanical, thermodynamic and acoustic domains.
With these parametric workflows in place, all important physical domain sensitivity studies within the relevant design space, as well as tolerance determination, can be conducted.
The engineers can add further optimization loops, but because of the conflicting character of many discipline goals and constraints, and because of the need to quickly check the motor behavior on a systems-simulation level, reduced-order models (ROMs) must be extracted. Using the integrated equivalent circuit extraction (ECE) toolkit within ANSYS Maxwell or ANSYS optiSLang’s data-based ROM generation, the team can extract reduced models for an overall system simulation.

Systems modeling

These reduced-order models can be coupled in ANSYS Simplorer to create a complete system simulation. Again a parametric workflow is built within optiSLang and, optionally, other third-party models can be integrated, such as a transmission model or a complete vehicle model. At this point, the engineers might perform a system optimization loop to analyze the interactions between the components by varying parameters such as those for the controller.
Finally, to make the model interchangeable with additional engine components designed by outside parties, the designers use the industry-standard functional mock-up interface (FMI) to create models of the individual components, called functional mock-up units (FMUs). These FMUs are created with third-party software and can easily be exchanged while maintaining IP confidentiality: since they contain only standardized inputs and outputs, the product-specific know-how is only accessible to the manufacturer.SimulationAnother advantage of FMUs is that they can be imported into all current software packages for system simulation and can describe, for example, the behavior of the e-machine as a single component in the simulation landscape of a customer or development partner.

Understanding the options

The final challenge is to present the optimized designs so that the customer can clearly understand the different design choices and their trade-offs. EM-motive developed a single radar diagram that transforms all performance indicators into dimensionless variables using the requirements as standardization values.
It includes all domains and their requirements, further highlighted with a colored pie chart in the background, to clearly represent the domains.
All points that are located outside of the 100 percent reference circle meet the design requirements.
Interactions between physical domains are also easily depicted in the diagram. If, for example, a design should be revised to improve acoustics, the mostly negative effects on efficiency are plainly shown.
The chart provides a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weakness of each redesign and how it fulfills (or doesn’t fulfill) their unique requirements.
Engine design, like many complex processes today, requires a collaborative, systemic approach to be successful.
EM-motive’s systemic approach to engine design integrates the ANSYS parametric simulation environment and an innovative presentation method to ensure that their automotive manufacturing customers can develop the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles within challenging time and cost constraints.
(Marc Brück, Senior Expert Simulation Technology, EM-motive GmbH, Hildesheim, Germany- This article was originally published on “Ansys Advantage”)

 

PTC Creo 5, a powerful modeling system

Ptc Creo

With its roots in Pro/Engineer and the founding of the parametric, history-based modelling industry, Creo has come a long way since the late 1980s. Over the intervening period, the system has grown in coverage and now encompasses design, engineering, simulation, manufacturing and much more. It has subsumed other technology along the way (CoCreate and its direct modelling capabilities spring to mind), and today, it’s a behemoth of a system. The company behind it, meanwhile, has similarly grown and spread its wings. So what’s coming up in Creo 5?
In terms of user interface, Creo has been pretty consistent over the last few releases, with the majority of changes focused on adding in more modern touches that users have come to expect from their software. Creo is incrementally being modernised, but in a manner that’s manageable for its long-standing and highly experienced user community: it now comes with a full-screen mode backed up by context-aware mini toolbars, box selection and geometry regions in sketching (as opposed to fully trimmed sketch geometry). Mini toolbars are also available across a much wider spread of the system’s modules and in both 2D and 3D environments.
Additional updates to core modelling tools include changes in the way that the system handles adding drafts to parts that also feature rounds. Rather than trying to wrangle the whole thing, the new operation works in the background, removing rounds. It then applies the draft to the required faces and reapplies the rounds.

Creo 5 retains its familiar user interface, but delivers new widgets that allow you to focus better on the task at hand
Creo 5 retains its familiar user interface, but delivers new widgets that allow you to focus better on the task at hand

On this point, it’s also worth noting how Creo has some very interesting options when adding draft to components; specifically, building in drafted faces around a centre or split line. Whereas other systems require you to split faces, Creo’s draft operation has options to use a mid-plane and handles all of those problematic face-splitting operations for you.
The last general update is the introduction of volume-based helical sweeps. While this works just like a standard sweep feature, the difference here is that rather than sweeping a simple planar profile around the path, in this instance you’re using a geometric lump. It’s a small, rather subtle difference between the two, but the resulting feature is very different and is required for many different purposes, since volume sweeps are particularly useful for cams for mechanisms and some more complex thread forms (think drill bits).

Freestyle, style & isdx

Now let’s dive into an area in which Creo has been strong for many years – the use of industrial design-focused tools for complex shape development.
When we say “complex shape”, we’re talking about traditional surface modelling, where curvature continuity is essential, form control is paramount and in more recent years, the use of subdivision surface modelling technology has emerged. Creo’s offerings in this area are split across two areas. The Style module (part of the Interactive Surface Design Extension or ISDX toolset) provides traditional surface modelling tools you’ll need, while the Freestyle module brings subdivision modelling tools to the game.
Updates to the Style model for this release are minimal; after all, this is a set of tools that has been developed for 20 years or so, and has already reached a certain level of maturity. That said, there’s always room for improvement or adding a little more intelligence. For example, when you build a G3 (curvature continuity) relationship between two faces, the system automatically handles upgrading the curves that also define the connecting edges of those faces to the same level of continuity. This is something that would have taken a fair bit of manual work to accomplish previously.

Creo 5 introduces a topology optimisation solver that gives you a wide range of boundary constraints and performance requirements to apply to a starting form, resulting in the familiar mesh
Creo 5 introduces a topology optimisation solver that gives you a wide range of boundary constraints and performance requirements to apply to a starting form, resulting in the familiar mesh

Now, when creating new curves, you have the ability to specify a symmetry option, in order to build lighter weight curves spanning a mirror plane. With this comes the option for mirroring curves directly inside Style.
On the Sub-D modelling front, the biggest update to Freestyle is the ability to switch to a box mode for editing heavier, more geometrically rich models. This will be familiar to those users who have used other Sub-D tools. It shades the control mesh, giving you a coarse, faceted representation, but what it gives up in resolution, is gives back in interactivity, with much snappier responses to edits and providing greater clarity over the topology of the control mesh.

Additive manufacturing

We’ve all seen how 3D CAD vendors have jumped all over the additive manufacturing industry, with a view to pushing new functionality in their software tools. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a major software system released in the last few months that hasn’t referenced topology optimisation in some form or another.
As you might expect, Creo 5 is no different in this regard. Where it differs, however, is how the process fits into both the existing design and engineering workflow and Creo’s data structure. While Creo 4 brought us the ability to define lattice structures in our parts, Creo 5 starts to introduce both a new topology optimisation engine and a way to do something useful with the resulting data.
First things first, the optimisation process: Creo’s tools are built on the VR&D solver, Genesis. You then step through the familiar process of defining your boundary conditions, keep-in areas, keep-outs and so on, as well as optimisation targets (for minimising mass or displacement or maximising stiffness) and load case (or multiple cases, if you have the higher end module).
These are all then used to generate a mesh-based form that solves those criteria. At this point, many topology optimisation tools top out, leaving users with no choice but to use this mesh as the “inspiration” for a reworked solid and surface model.
What Creo does differently here is to provide an operation called Geometry Reconstruction. This uses a patch network of Freestyle subdivision surfaces, which is laid over the mesh and snapped into place. There’s no manual remodeling or skinning the model. A simple click and it’s done. Depending on your resulting model, the freestyle model entity will be complex, but it does means that you can integrate it into subsequent operations, whether that’s adding more engineering features, machining stock for post-processing or something else.

The system will skin the model using sub-D, Freestyle geometry, in order to give you a more readily usable model
The system will skin the model using sub-D, Freestyle geometry, in order to give you a more readily usable model

It’s worth noting that this module is available in two flavours. First, the entry-level flavour (snappily entitled “Creo Topology Optimization Extension”) allows you to define both structural and modal analysis types as part of the optimisation process with symmetric, cyclic symmetric and extrusion and filling as manufacturing or form constraints. It also limits the number of load cases used to inform the optimisation process to three.
Second, the Extension Plus variant opens up the number of load cases you can define, allowing you to include thermal analysis as an optimisation consideration and giving you a much wider range of constraints such as stamping.
Another additive manufacturing-related update for this release is the introduction of technology from Materialise’s range of Build Processors, which specifically target metal-building machines. Essentially, this means that you can design, engineer and test your metal parts in Creo, then also within the system. You can start to explore how to manufacture a part on a machine from the likes of Arcam, EOS, Renishaw, SLM, HP and Concept Laser and lay out your build chambers, generate your supports, experiment with orientation and so on.

Integrated Cfd

Another brand-new area of functionality is the introduction of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools directly inside Creo. While there’s been a series of add-on tools for CFD work for Creo for a while, this is the first time that PTC has released something official and listed in its price book. The technology it has used is the Simerics’ solver, which while not being one of the big names in CFD, still has a very loyal following.
In terms of the Creo implementation, the workflow is pretty standard. You begin by defining the type of study you want to perform, whether it’s of an internal environment (for example, pumps or cooling inside an electronics enclosure) or an external environment (aerodynamics, for example). You then define the types of physics you want to use.

Creo’s new CFD module allows you to conduct fluid flow and heat transfer type simulations
Creo’s new CFD module allows you to conduct fluid flow and heat transfer type simulations

From there, you start to define your CFD domain from your CAD model. If you’re running an external study, this will be pretty easy as you’ll have your model ready to go. If you’re running an internal flow study, then you need to generate your fluid volume. Here, having your CAD model inside a powerful modelling system comes in handy, as creating your fluid volume is pretty much a single button push, once you have your inlets and outlets capped off. Then it’s a case of defining boundary conditions, the inlet, outlet and fluid details, and running your study. You’ll find that the whole process is neatly integrated into the Creo interface, with all of your study requirements managed through the panel to the left-hand side of the UI. Your interaction with results, meanwhile, is just as you would expect.

Model-based definition

Like other technology vendors focused on the large-enterprise end of the 3D design spectrum, Creo has been gaining 3D GD&T (or PMI) tools for some time now.
Creo 4, for example, introduced a new module that guides the user through the standards-based application of annotations to a 3D model. Built in partnership with Sigemtrix, a specialist in this field, the module handles the process neatly and efficiently, allowing to you quickly generate data that conforms to your chosen standard and checking it is fully constrained.
Creo 5 extends this work, to allow you to add semantic queries into your model using the GD&T you’ve already defined. So when design changes occur, or you are driving your part in an automated fashion, then it’ll help rip through any GD&T that becomes disassociated with the originating or reference data.
This release also sees the start of work to automate the creation of drawing views from 3D PMI-enabled data. This first instance allows you to quickly print or PDF fixed, formalised “state views”. While you can’t currently arrange these on a set of drawing sheets, you can see where things are headed.

Creo Integrated Cam

It has been a while since PTC talked about Creo-integrated CAM code. As long-term Pro/Engineer-era users will know, PTC has always had CAM tools available and, over ten years ago, these were boosted with the company’s acquisition of NC Graphics. But with the release of Creo 5, this topic has reemerged as a talking point.

The Volume Helical Sweep tool in a grinding wheel scenario.Check out the new Volume Helical Sweep tool to create accurate 3D geometric representations for parts that are machined with cutting tools.
The Volume Helical Sweep tool in a grinding wheel scenario.Check out the new Volume Helical Sweep tool to create accurate 3D geometric representations for parts that are machined with cutting tools.

In short, there’s a new set of CAM tools available in this release, based on the ModuleWorks CAM engine, and addressing subtractive manufacturing machinery from common or garden 3-axis high-speed machining operations to 3+2 operations. (As yet, there’s no word on simultaneous 5-axis as yet).

Augmented Reality & Iot

The final subject we’re going to cover is PTC’s work on Augmented Reality (AR) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
This has advanced considerably since Creo 4; in that release, for example, the company introduced a set of tools that allowed the user to generate an AR dataset that might be shared with anyone, directly from the application.
In Creo 4, this converted your Creo model, allowed you to add in a ‘ThingMark’ that enabled the viewing app to ID the correct dataset (they are cloud-hosted), and gave it scale. While this was a subset of PTC’s Vuforia tools, it proved interesting and easy to use – particularly key for getting folks to try AR as a means for design review.
For Creo 5, this work has continued. In the first instance, the capability has changed so you don’t need the Thingmark for scale. Instead, the apps will use spatial tracking and an awareness of surrounding elements to work out how to display your model at the correct, defined scale.
In addition, you also have a greater set of controls over access to the data you create, such as password access control that helps to enforce who can view your AR data.
On the IoT front, Creo 4 saw a bunch of tools introduced that made it possible to link Creo models to IoT data stored in PTC’s Thingworx platform. Creo’s Product Insight Module, for example, allows users to connect to data from a physical product, whether that’s a live one-to-one link or one that uses aggregated data.
With further development for Creo 5, you can now build in sensors within your digital model that will match up with sensors in the physical realm and, importantly, use that integration within the simulation environment. So what does that mean?
In short, it means that you can not only move your digital model using data from the real world, but also use physical sensors to drive simulation studies. The potential for this is huge, but there are also a few additional tools that we’ve heard about that will make this even more powerful, in the coming months, so stay tuned around June.

In conclusion

A couple of years ago, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the leadership of PTC had all but given up on the core 3D CAD portion of its business. The IoT and service management world was seemingly where its real focus lay.
But it transpires that what the company has actually managed to do is to broaden its focus to the brave new world of the IoT, but in a manner that means that 3D design and the data it creates take centre-stage.
That strategy seems, in turn, to have had a dramatic knock-on effect on the development resources committed to Creo, as the last few releases of the package have been impressive.

With Creo 5.0, you can now open and update Autodesk Inventor files, adding to Creo’s robust Unite Technology multi-CAD capabilities.
With Creo 5.0, you can now open and update Autodesk Inventor files, adding to Creo’s robust Unite Technology multi-CAD capabilities.

Creo 5 doesn’t disappoint, either. The company is clearly serious about additive manufacturing and, considering its position in automotive (in particular, powertrain) and aerospace (particularly the defence end of the spectrum), as well as some of the other transportation industries, it’s no surprise.
What’s interesting is how PTC is addressing the whole workflow, from optimisation of form according to function, to allowing you to plan manufacturing inside your design tool, and then onto enabling the machining of optimised forms and post-processing work.
Then there’s the work PTC is doing on bringing digital design and engineering systems together with the physical world, allowing user to not only drive assembly dynamics, but also conduct simulation work using real-world capture data.
But consider the impact if you successfully link those two areas up. Imagine an assembly, for example, that is directly linked to variants already out there in the field, an assembly that can use real-world data to drive optimisation routines on key components, adjust those that are under-performing (or indeed, are over-engineered), simulate a new, better form and prepare it for manufacturing. When you think about it, that’s quite something isn’t it? (Al Dean)

Hi-tech terminals for windings

TE CONNECTIVITY

The assembling phase of wound electric components can be particularly efficient if we adopt specific solutions in the connection between conductor and terminal.
TE Connectivity offers a broad range of solutions for the terminations of wound components such as electric motors, transformers, inductors, electromagnets, coils and other devices that use windings. The targets that have driven the research of new solutions should be identified not only in the cost reduction and in the quality improvement but also in the limitation of weight and size of final devices and, last but not least, in the reliability factor.

MAG-MATE terminals (bottom) and SIAMEZE terminals by TE Connectivity
MAG-MATE terminals (bottom) and SIAMEZE terminals by TE Connectivity are solutions based on the IDC connection technology.

MAG-MATE terminals and SIAMEZE terminals by TE Connectivity are solutions based on the IDC connection technology.MAG-MATE terminals and SIAMEZE terminals are solutions based on the IDC connection technology (Insulation Displacement Connection or insulation piercing), whereas AMPLIVAR terminals operate by crimping. Both technologies do not need the pre-stripping action, as it is instead necessary in the standard welding process. In general, the wire used in the implementation of wound components is coated by a polyester film, in its turn coated by a polyamide insulating layer in case it must withstand high temperatures (around 200 °C) or, in alternative, if it must work at lower temperatures (around 150 °C), the copper wire is simply enamelled in polyurethane. In this second case, since the polyurethane has a melting point of 180 ºC, operating with welding process its removal might be unnecessary, however welding generates VOC not only owing to the contact with coating films but also in virtue of the flux contained in the alloy wire.

AMPLIVAR terminals work by crimping, providing a broad contact surface thanks to the series of sharp indentations inside the crimping chamber.

IDC and crimping processes provide the advantage of avoiding both possible cold weld joints and the exposure to an excess of temperature, besides the conductor embrittlement.
The lower wire consumption, compared to conventional processes, in the solutions proposed by TE is accompanied by the flexibility given by the possibility of using copper and aluminium wire or both simultaneously.

A glance at the market
While in the past wires generally ranged from 0.2 to 2.0 mm of diameter [AWG 32 and 12], today the demand extends to diameters under 0.18 mm (AWG 33) and exceeding 3.0 mm (AWG 9).
The thin wire is used to reduce costs and to satisfy the requisites of overall dimension decrease; therefore, also the connection system must have smaller sizes to suit narrower spaces.
Meanwhile, for several applications (for instance in wireless household appliances but the trend is generalized) is rising the demand for low-voltage energy, where lower voltages correspond to higher current to provide the requested power; consequently, the wire section grows to transport higher currents.

Mini MAG-MATE terminals by TE Connectivity can also be made of CuNiSi alloy that allows working with temperatures that reach 150 °C.

In the opinion of Ugo Aime, product manager of TE Connectivity, they estimate that still about two thirds of the wound component market exploits the hot bar welding of terminations, whereas more than one third is turning to IDC and crimping technologies.
These connection processes have proved to be an effective alternative to welding in thousands of applications, irrespective of production volumes, also because they provide the possibility of using aluminium wire, lighter and less expensive than copper, with high reliability. Aluminium allows a weight reduction because it has a minor density than copper (2.7 kg/dm3 against 8.9) and, besides, it permits a fast heat dissipation. On the other hand, it is more ductile and consequently more subjected to stretching; just for this reason, TE Connectivity has paid particular attention to the implementation of its terminals, which can also be made of CuNiSi alloy that allows working with temperatures that reach 150 °C.
TE Connectivity has studied solutions that provide stable electric connections, achieved through mechanical processes that do not affect the physical and chemical properties of the wire; they originate from an approach that includes wire, dedicated systems for the connector application and know how directly generated by research.
The main market segments currently addressed by the various solutions are small and big appliances, automotive and industry.

MAG-MATE and SIAMEZE terminals
MAG-MATE and SIAMEZE terminals are assembled in plastic containers, where also the wire terminal part is inserted. They can be stamped as part of a device body or be applied.

Assembling phases of MAG-MATE and Mini MAG-MATE terminals.

Depending on the terminal type, the plastic shell can have one or two cavities intended for housing metal contacts. Containers have on the external inferior side a shaped protuberance where is laid down the terminal part of the wire crossing them. Once ended the operation of wire winding around the coil, metal contacts are inserted by pressing them into their housings, with which they lock after intercepting the wire that crosses them.
The exiting wire part is sheared with the protuberance where it is laid, by a blade integral with the metal terminal insertion. During the insertion, metal contacts engrave the insulating coating of the wire, thus establishing a sound and durable electric contact.

Assembling phases of MAG-MATE and Mini MAG-MATE terminals.

The constant pressure and the broad contact surface grant a reliable long-term connection and the conduction of notable currents.

Joints with AMPLIVAR terminal
AMPLIVAR terminals are designed as terminals of the single wires of a wound component or for their combination with other connection wires, both stiff and flexible.
With a precise crimping operation, the winding wire is automatically freed from its insulating coating, since it is forced into the internal indentations of the terminal. AMPLIVAR terminals are provided with a series of sharp indentations inside the crimping chamber and the wire is laid on these indentations (maximum three). Crimping the terminal, the tips penetrate into the insulating film of the wire, thus providing a broad contact surface.
The resulting termination assures high resistance to tensile stress, excellent electric connection and sealing against the outer environment that avoids the conductor corrosion and the entry of undesired contaminants. The crimping of AMPLIVAR terminals is executed by semi-automated presses that provide high productivity.
With AMPLIVAR models it is possible to create the termination with both aluminium and copper wire, or with a combination of both; if necessary, winding wires can be housed in the terminal with another conductor opportunely unsheathed.

AMPLIVAR terminals are designed as terminals of single wires or for their combination with other connection wires.

Route change
Copper has been for years the reference metal in the electric conduction ambit, today the replacement with the aluminium wire for a broad range of applications is the target of several producers. The potential economic saving varies according to the final product specifications and the desired efficiency requisites. If we consider a simple plastic coil with aluminium wire winding, we will obtain a significant economic impact, with a high saving on the final cost. The advantage will be much lower on more complex units, like an electric motor.
As already reported, other advantages for aluminium are lightness and good thermal conductivity but, in contrast, we deal with the difficulty in processing it. Aluminium oxide is tough and makes its welding with conventional methods difficult. An aggressive flux must be used to remove the oxide layer that would prevent the melted alloy from wetting the aluminium to form the joint.
The aluminium wire intended for windings exhibits a single drawback in the use coupled with IDC technology, owing to mechanical and environmental stresses, which cause micro-cracks and relaxation in the wire. The solution adopted by producers to reduce drastically the onset of these defects consisted in adding iron but at a higher product cost compared with the standard Al wire.
MAG-MATE terminals are designed to compensate the disadvantages of the aluminium wire without influencing its base price, weight or sealing quality.
The R&D of TE has carried out various studies to determine the factors that influence the IDC termination with aluminium wire in the long term: wire position inside the IDC connector, metal surface finish of the terminal and presence of anti-tear functions. Results witness a stable performance of MAG-MATE terminals on the aluminium wire, if during the production cycle an excess of wire has not been inserted into the terminal body, which must anyway provide for anti-tear elements in its inside. Moreover, the process must be fast, efficient, repeatable and reliable, a series of characteristics fully satisfied by the performances of MAG-MATE terminals and AMPLIVAR terminals.

Find out more about Te Connectivity

Download the Virtual Sample Kit

The Virtual Sample Kit is a synthetic information document developed by TE Connectivity that allows identifying quickly the best combination of terminals.

Download the document Best practice for IDC magnet wire termination

Best practice for IDC magnet wire termination
Best practice for IDC magnet wire termination

 

Mecflon to avoid noise and reduce friction an losses

Mecflon
Compared to Ptfe, Meflon is formulated to provide increased efficiency, improved wear resistance, and decreased starting torque in demanding applications of food, spa, and drinkable water segments .

25During the last ten years, the market has requested sometimes to increase the operational flexibility of cooling systems using auxiliary pumps for a better control of engine cooling and efficiency, in order to meet more stringent regulations in terms of CO2 emissions. In many cases the auxiliary pumps are driven by brushless motor, regretfully still with some limited performances in terms of pump efficiency and vibrations/noise failures,  as it has been for dishwasher application of this type of motor.
Meccanotecnica Umbra developed a material for sliding parts such as bushings to reduce the sliding friction: the solution had been the MTU Ptfe material with appropriate fillers, Mecflon.
MecflonMeflon, when compared to other grades of Ptfe, is formulated to provide increased efficiency, improved wear resistance, and decreased starting torque in demanding applications of food, spa, and drinkable water segments.  As it was for the mechanical seal of dishwasher pumps,  MTU analyzed the possibility of supplying in particular bushings and rings, made with same innovative materials to prevent sticking and noise, to Tier1s and OEs that are partially replacing the traditional pumps (equipped with mechanical seals).
The irregularities of performances in real conditions are related to the occurrence of irregular flow situations and for mechanical seal, this phenomenon is bigger, because the lubricating film between the faces is typically very small. Therefore, the effect of Mecflon also for bushings has been again the key factor for avoiding sticking and noise, as it had been for traditional low power electric pumps, provided with mechanical seals.
In  the past two years   MTU  has got relevant progress in the definition of the project for brushless motors and has overtaken the preliminary testing activity on prototypes, with sizeable advantage also in terms of wear, and not only sticking and noise, in comparison with standard materials used for mass production.
Pumps equipped with Ptfe bushings don’t present axial wear of the front flange of the bushing and show lower wear of radial surface.
However, the combined radial wear of bushings and shaft for Mecflon Y4 solutions makes significantly lower overall damage in terms of eccentricity.
Morerecently MTU has started a specific development program for application of PTFE bushing to cooling system water pump , taking into account the typical working conditions of the automotive segment (-40/140 ° C, up to 6000 rpm, high additivated coolant, continuous operation during in-house recharge of batteries of hybrid or electric vehicles).

High-efficiency motors and sustainability

sustainability
Fig. 7. Direct-drive permanent magnet synchronous motor, with external rotor (website LG).

According to some studies, electric motors are responsible for about 45% of the total consumption of electric energy [1]. If we focus the analysis on one the most energy-eating ambits, the industrial one, the percentage ascribable to motors rises to around two thirds.
Considering that several of the machines currently in operation are obsolete, it is clear that the replacement with new more efficient motors would lead to important advantages for the environment and the resource exploitation, as well as in manufacturing costs and then in competitiveness. They estimate for instance that, in the only Europe, the use of forefront drive technologies instead of obsolete ones can determine a reduction of yearly consumptions by 135 TWh and CO2 emissions by 69 million tons [2]. Evaluating the entire life cycle of a motor in constant operation, we can verify that the spending connected with the energy consumption represents by far the major percentage in the total cost (even more than 90%, [3]).
For these reasons, in the European Union, as well as in the United States, in China and in other Countries, are in force regulatory plans providing for the mandatory compliance with gradually increasing efficiency requisites for new installations. According to the Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS), for instance, the motors released on the EU market since January 2017 in the power range from 0.75 to 375 kW must have IE3 efficiency level or IE2 efficiency level if powered by inverter (see Fig. 1), with very few exceptions.

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Fig. 1. Efficiency values corresponding to the IE classes defined by the regulation IEC/EN 60034-30-1:2014.

With the technology most diffused among motors today, the asynchronous motor one (or Induction Motor, IM), the improvements demanded in the future will not be possible, at least at reasonable costs, and for all power ranges. These aspects, combined with other factors such as the growing awareness of the importance of decreasing energy consumptions, are leading to the adoption of motors scarcely spread until now, such as Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors, [4][5]. This class of motors, in fact, features intrinsic characteristics that allow a notable improvement of the efficiency and of the power density, in particular very low rotor losses.
Even if already in the Eighties “brushless” servomotors (i.e. Surface Mount‑PMSM, SM‑PMSM) have been used in industrial automation, thanks to their excellent controllability and high dynamics, the application of electric synchronous machines with unwound rotor has remained limited to particular applications for a long time. Over the last few years, on the contrary, thanks to the above-mentioned factors concerning efficiency and the decrease of production costs of motors and inverters, the adoption of this type of motors is notably spreading.

Classification of AC motors

The majority of alternate current (AC) motors is three-phase, even if there are some exceptions like in the case of single-phase and stepping motors (that are generally two-phase). The most important distinction is generally between synchronous and asynchronous machines, difference based on the fact that the mechanical rotation speed, at steady state, is strictly connected (synchrony) or not with the rotation frequency of the stator magnetic field. This difference is concretely mirrored in the fact that, to generate torque in the asynchronous machine, the presence of induced currents in the rotor is necessary, whereas it is not needed (and, on the contrary, undesired) in synchronous machines.
Synchronous machines are characterized by the fact that the magnetic rotor field is geometrically bound to the mechanical position of the rotor itself. The rotor field can be generated by a current that runs through a winding (synchronous motors with wound rotor), by permanent magnets (permanent magnet synchronous) or by the stator current itself, modulated by the magnetic anisotropy of the rotor (synchronous reluctance).
Structurally, both the rotor and the stator of radial flow machines (that are by far the majority) are manufactured by stacking ferromagnetic laminations opportunely blanked, solution aimed at hindering the parasite currents. The rotor is generally cylindrical and can be equipped with spaces to house permanent magnets or conductive material.
In Fig. 2 are schematized the sections of the various types of motors just listed (with the exception of the synchronous one with wound rotor).

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Fig. 2. Various rotor configurations (from left to right): asynchronous or induction motor (IM), internal permanent magnet synchronous motor (IPMSM), internal permanent magnet synchronous motors with rotor cage (line-start IPMSM), surface permanent magnet synchronous motor (SM-PMSM) synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM).

The darkest areas (slots) correspond to windings, permanent magnets are indicated in blue whereas the grey zone of the section represents the ferromagnetic material (lamination). As you can see, the difference among the various motor types is concentrated in the rotor, whereas the stator (unless particular cases) can be implemented in the same way. In the asynchronous motor, the rotor slots are filled by a fusion, which constitutes the so-called “squirrel cage”, generally made of aluminium or, recently, of copper (with higher costs, in order to reduce losses).
In permanent magnet motors, instead, magnets can be introduced into apposite carvings inside the rotor structure (IPMSM and line-start IPMSM) or applied on the surface in case of SM‑PMSM. In the SynRM case, instead, the carvings inside the rotor are simply void and called “flow barriers”, since they perform the function of increasing the reluctance (i.e. the capability of opposing the magnetic flow passage) along some directions, favouring instead others (i.e. the paths more characterized by the presence of iron).
In their turn, synchronous motors can be subdivided according to the torque production principle. In surface permanent magnet motors, the torque production occurs only thanks to the interaction between the field generated by permanent magnets and the stator current.
Vice versa, in reluctance motors, it is exploited the system tendency to minimize the reluctance of magnetic paths, if subjected to excitation. In internal magnet motors (IPMSM), both principles are generally exploited.
In the production of permanent magnets, particular materials are used, to achieve high induction values and to prevent the risk of demagnetization (generally linked with high temperatures or high magnetic field). The most used materials are neodymium -iron-boron, samarium -cobalt and aluminium-nickel-cobalt. Especially in the SM‑PMSM case, the quantity of active magnetic material is high, with a strong weight of raw materials in the total cost. This condition is worsened by the strong variability of the price of the so-called “rare earths” [7], elements used in small quantities but very important for the magnet quality. Apart from cost and availability problems, these materials arouse also important environmental, political and ethical issues regarding their extraction, trade and disposal. For these reasons, huge resources are invested in the research and development of different materials and, especially, in the project of motors that minimize the use of permanent magnets, [8], or that allow the use of the so-called ferrites, i.e. ceramic magnetic materials that use less problematic materials.

Power supply through inverter and control

A negative aspect of synchronous motors derives from the impossibility of powering them simply connecting them with the net (Direct On‑Line, DOL), as it instead occurs for asynchronous ones. For the operation of permanent magnet synchronous or reluctance motors, the presence of a “drive” is therefore necessary, i.e. the whole consisting of the real inverter (a pure electronic power actuator), of the electronic controller and the algorithms implemented in it. The control algorithm, implemented on a digital device, is updated with frequencies in the order of 10,000 times per second. Despite the additional cost, it is worth considering the possibility of varying the operation conditions, in particular speed, brings important advantages in several applications (especially pumps and fans, where it allows notable energy savings).
Controlling the inverter in PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) it is possible to generate efficiently a tern of voltages that are characterized by amplitude, frequency and arbitrary phases.
Since in synchronous motors the torque depends on the current amplitude and on its phase relation with the magnetic axis of the rotor, in control algorithms the Park coordinate transformation is generally used, thus bringing the three-phase system to a reference system integral with the rotor axis (Fig. 6).

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Fig. 6. On the left: direct drive cooling tower motor, without containment case; on the right, blanking profile of stator laminations (on the right) (website ABB-Baldor).

The knowledge of the rotor position is then essential for the synchronous motor control. In some applications, where no particular control performances are required, it is possible to eliminate the mechanical position sensor, owing to the cost and the reliability decrease stemming from it. “Sensorless” control techniques have in fact been developed, where the rotor position is estimated exploiting current and voltage measurements (inside the inverter and anyway necessary) and the motor model.
Sensorless techniques for synchronous motors, developed since the Nineties, initially found application in some specific cases only. In the products currently called “inverters”, i.e. those drives for generic use, the first algorithms of this type were introduced in the late 2000s, to become then an almost standard equipment in the last years. Unfortunately, these solutions are still scarcely known by automation operators, even if their validity has been demonstrated, especially in common applications like pumps and fans.
Since the data supplied by the motor manufacturer are often insufficient for the calibration of all parameters of the control algorithm, “self‑commissioning” methods have been developed, in other words commissioning with the operator’s minimum intervention. The first step is the automatic identification of parameters (“self‑identification”), with methods fulfilled by the drive itself, to proceed then to the real calibration, i.e. the choice of the values for control parameters. Both industry and the academic world actively research on these aspects, with very interesting proposals also in Italian ambit, [10]-[14].

Structural details

As already said, the biggest difference among the various types of AC motors mainly resides in the rotor structure. There are in fact various cases of synchronous motors designed to keep the other parts almost unchanged compared to a corresponding asynchronous machine (eventually changing the winding turns). This kind of approach has spread in the last few years, with the aim of satisfying generic applications, precisely as substitution of the asynchronous motor. Besides the evident advantages in manufacturing costs, the use of equivalent parts in terms of overall dimensions, supports and external fixing points has allowed adopting these motors without modifying the remaining mechanics. Concerning this, innovative examples are represented by Italian companies’ products, like the series of internal permanent magnet synchronous motors and reluctance motors illustrated in Fig. 5.

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Fig. 4. Representation of the Park coordinate transformation, at the base of the vector control.

In synchronous motors, especially in permanent magnet ones, it is possible to implement a high number of poles, with a speed reduction with the same voltage and a torque increase with the same current. This degree of freedom in the project can be compared, by analogy, to the use of a mechanical speed reducer and therefore, in some applications, it allows using a direct‑drive connection, with some advantages in terms of efficiency, overall dimensions, cost, reliability and control precision. This solution has been adopted for some years in industrial machines (for instance, in the production of paper, [14]), in the civil lifting sector (lifts), in the air treatment (cooling tower fans, [15]) and in some household appliances (in particular washing machines).
In the project considered in [15], the stator pack (laminations) has been used as structural element, without the addition of an external case. Fig. 6 reports also the design of a stator lamination, where is visible the external wing for the heat dissipation. Thanks to the overall dimensions limited in height, this motor is mounted at the base of the cooling tower, in axis with the fan, thus avoiding the right-angled transmission and the speed reduction, which are instead necessary in the traditional configuration (with asynchronous motor).

Applications

The first applications in the civil sector of permanent magnet synchronous motors include conditioning systems, due to the importance that energy consumption holds in that case. In the refrigeration as well (both industrial and domestic), the adoption of synchronous motors has gradually grown. Besides, a particular case is represented by circulation pumps for heating plants that, due to efficiency reasons, nowadays are almost totally based on permanent magnet synchronous motors in sensorless control.
Among household appliances, in washing machines the use of these motor types has become common in the last few years. The use of synchronous motors instead of asynchronous or universal (with brushes) has permitted on one hand the reduction of overall dimensions and of the quantity of used material, on the other hand a better controllability, also linked with the adoption of solutions such as the mechanical direct-drive connection. In the latter case, due to overall dimension constraints and torque requisites, the rotor is usually external and the entire motor is flat and with big diameter (Fig. 7).

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Fig. 7. Direct-drive permanent magnet synchronous motor, with external rotor (website LG).

A detail of the production of this type of machines, shared also by other particular applications, is the winding on the tooth (a distinct winding for each stator tooth).
In this type, idle copper parts are reduced but it becomes more difficult to design machines with low torque ripple. The direct coupling provides advantages also from the point of view of the overall operation, facilitating the load identification in the tank and its arrangement, in addition to the speed control.
Due to the particular working cycle of washing machines, which includes the spin-drying, the operation at high speed (exceeding the nominal) is important. This modality is called “defluxing”, because, being the voltage proportional to the flow and to the speed, the overall flow is reduced through an opportune control, to allow the operation at higher speeds and fixed voltage. In this case, internal permanent magnet synchronous motors are the main candidates, since their available torque does not drop suddenly beyond the nominal speed.
An ambit where synchronous motors have become highly present are lifts, especially of big size. In this case, too, specific solutions have been implemented, like the one in Fig. 8, allowing the direct load motion (gearless).

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Fig. 8. Lifting system for gearless lifts with permanent magnet synchronous motor with axial flow (website Kone).

In this case, it is an axial-flow motor, i.e. the gap between stator and rotor (magnetic gap) is crossed by field lines that are parallel to the axis.
Other specific application fields concern renewable sources (for instance wind power) and avionics, where they pursue the target of “More Electric Aircraft” (replacement of hydraulic or pneumatic actuators). The use of high-efficiency and high-density motors is also spreading in traction, including the road ambit (from bicycles to heavy vehicles and operating machines), the railway/tramway sector and the industrial one (forklifts and similar).

Bibliography

  1. Wilde, C. U. Brunner,”Energy-Efficiency Policy Opportunities for Electric Motor-Driven Systems”, International Energy Agency, Working paper, 2011.
  2. “Electric Motors and Variable Speed Drives – Standards and legal requirements for the energy efficiency of low-voltage three-phase motors”, ZVEI – Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V., Division Automation – Electric Drive Systems, Frankfurt, December 2010, 2nd Edition.
  3. “Boosting industrial profitability with energy efficient drives and motors”, ABB brochure, 2016
  4. Vagati, “The synchronous reluctance solution: a new alternative in AC drives,” 20th International Conference on Industrial Electronics, Control and Instrumentation, 1994. IECON ’94., Bologna, 1994, pp. 1-13 vol.1.
  5. Lipo, T. A., “Synchronous reluctance machines – a viable alternative for AC drives.”, Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium, Research report, 1991.
  6. “Low voltage Process performance motors according to EU MEPS”, ABB catalog, October 2014
  7. “Rare Earths”, S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2016.
  8. Guglielmi, B. Boazzo, E. Armando, G. Pellegrino and A. Vagati, “Magnet minimization in IPM-PMASR motor design for wide speed range application,” 2011 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition, Phoenix, AZ, 2011, pp. 4201-4207.
  9. “Motor technologies for higher efficiency in applications – An overview of trends and applications”, Danfoss Power Electronics – Danfoss VLT drives PE-MSMBM, November 2014.
  10. N. Bedetti, S. Calligaro; R. Petrella, “Stand-Still Self-Identification of Flux Characteristics for Synchronous Reluctance Machines Using Novel Saturation Approximating Function and Multiple Linear Regression,” in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 3083-3092, July-Aug. 2016.
  11. N. Bedetti, S. Calligaro; R. Petrella, “Self-commissioning of inverter dead-time compensation by multiple linear regression based on a physical model,” in 2014 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), vol., no., pp.242-249, 14-18 Sept. 2014.
  12. N. Bedetti, S. Calligaro; R. Petrella, “Analytical design of flux-weakening voltage regulation loop in IPMSM drives,” in 2015 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), vol., no., pp.6145-6152, 20-24 Sept. 2015.
  13. N. Bedetti, S. Calligaro; R. Petrella, “Design Issues and Estimation Errors Analysis of Back-EMF-Based Position and Speed Observer for SPM Synchronous Motors,” in IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics, vol.2, no.2, pp.159-170, June 2014.
  14. S.A. Odhano, P. Giangrande, R. I. Bojoi and C. Gerada, “Self-Commissioning of Interior Permanent- Magnet Synchronous Motor Drives With High-Frequency Current Injection,” in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 3295-3303, Sept.-Oct. 2014.
  15. Welin, C.-J. Friman, “New Direct Drive system opens a new era for paper machines”, Paper and Timber, Vol.83/No. 5, 2001.
  16. McElveen, K. Lyles, B. Martin and W. Wasserman, “Reliability of Cooling Tower Drives: Improving Efficiency with New Motor Technology,” in IEEE Industry Applications Magazine, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 12-19, Nov.-Dec. 2012.

Ferrite transformers for high frequency use

ferrite

Operative in the winding sector for 40 years, Albe has distinguished itself for the quality of its products and its flexibility in satisfying the requirements of its clients, guaranteeing Made in Italy quality.
The experience gained over the years, combined with modern, cutting-edge equipment, allows the company to offer the best solutions and the most advantageous conditions.
The range of components in ferrite, designed horizontally, vertically, open or resined, is available in all forms (RM-EP-OLLA-ETD-ER-EC-EF-U) and for various uses: filters, transformers, elevators, pulse transformers; and responds to the various requirements of every single type of electronic circuit.
ferriteAlbe is an Italian company based in Cassano D’Adda (MI) and it makes products according to client specifications: open coils with or without ferrite, pillars on ferrite, sensor coils, relays, electromagnets, laminated transformers up to 20 kVA with CE, UL, Kema and Enec branding. Low profile transformers, ferrite transformers produced in all existing forms. Toroidal filters for low and high frequencies. Compensated and encapsulated toroidal coils, TA. Special Toroids, also wound with multiple wires.

Safety and efficiency in manufacturing automation

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Cosberg designs and manufactures plants to automate the mounting systems for all types of electric motors, such as for instance brushless, AC, DC and stepper, intended for several sectors, among which stands out the Automotive. An ambit where, even more than in others, efficiency and safety are essential issues.
For this reason, Cosberg can integrate all available technologies to carry out tests, measurements and controls into the plants, designed and manufactured by the Italian company: dimensional vision controls, component presence, positioning, automated contacting and related electric and tin welding, controlled dosing for the sealing bicomponent, tightness or insulation tests, checks of the noise level, electric tests and so on.
automation Control and traceability are nowadays irremissible conditions because they allow filing the “story” of each single part and, if necessary, tracing back all underwent machining operations. Therefore, on one hand Cosberg machines assure – and can prove – that each single product has been assembled in full compliance with all specifications provided for by the manufacturer; on the other hand, they must provide each workpiece with its own “package” of information, transmitting all detected data to manufacturers and thus allowing them to monitor, to prevent, to improve and to process statistics. Customers can define what kinds of controls to perform for each production and decide that each single product is labelled and monitored for the entire lifecycle, managing to store all information types: what processes it underwent (and when), on  what car it was mounted, what parameters have characterized its production and the values obtained from trials and eventual testing.
Flexibility is another very important aspect for the plants devised for this sector. In fact, for both high-end and “standard” products, there are always countless variables that give birth to endless models and variants. This has led Cosberg, in time, to study solutions offering high reconfigurability levels and drastically reduced set-up times, to meet the ever-rising trend of customizing all aspects of cars and motorbikes. Concerning this, the concept of Lean Production plays a fundamental role, as aimed at the waste reduction and focused on quality, pursuing perfection through constant improvements. Workflows are precisely engineered according to this vision, simplifying the entire manufacturing cycle and eliminating the activities that do not generate added-value, in order to make our systems more and more efficient and flexible.
automationCosberg always accepts the challenge for both aspects, traceability and flexibility, because Cosberg must work in synergy at mechanics, electronics and software to satisfy Customers’ expectations. A factor shared by both ambits is precisely the need of controlling and objectifying each operation, in order to eliminate human errors, to avoid wastes of time and resources and to supply “measurable” quality products.
Cosberg can manage all available market technologies that allow reaching these results, like for instance vision and measuring systems, linear and pressure transducers, system management software. Unavoidably, the latter must be faster and faster in filing and processing and, meanwhile, increasingly reliable and safe, as well as – not secondary characteristic – of immediate interpretation and use.
All that allows Cosberg to provide effective solutions to the scenarios that are emerging on the market – where the demand for smaller and customized batches is spreading – and in the advanced manufacturing industry, where production plants are consequently becoming increasingly adaptive, self-configurable and integrated into the manufacturing chain. In other words, Cosberg can state that its plants have already undertaken that evolutionary course that will lead, unavoidably, to that model of Factory that – rightly – Cosberg can define Intelligent.

Hairpin technology for automated assembling

he flexibility of the machines designed and manufactured by Atop allows implementing stators with variable shapes and sizes.

In 2016, around 800,000 electric cars were sold in the world, with the 40% rise compared to the previous year. As many as 63% of them are BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), i.e. cars whose propulsion is directly supplied by an electric motor powered by batteries.
A more and more significant prevalence that is constantly growing; within 2020, the offer of this vehicle typology on the European market is expected almost to triple, rising from the 20 currently available models to the foreseen 54.
According to the data provided by the E-Mobility Report study carried out by Energy & Strategy Group of Milan Polytechnics in 2016, it is also evident that the world market of the electric mobility is scoring impressive growth rates. To be competitive in this market it is important to bet on the technological innovation of electric-traction motors, which must be increasingly compact, lighter, with higher performances and low consumptions. Atop is specialized in supporting customers in each project phase, backing them in the achievement of this important target.

Winding and assembling line of stators with hairpin technology for prototypes and low manufacturing volumes, designed and produced by Atop.

First, the company executes an analysis of the customer’s product, which needs an engineering assessment aimed at the motor industrialization. Afterwards, it implements the prototypes that allow testing the manufacturing feasibility. Once approved the project and tested its efficiency, Atop produces the machines for the automated assembling of electric motors with hairpin technology, offering the suitable automation level for the demanded productivity.

Flexibility and performances for prototypes and small batches

The special winding hairpin technology, already integrated by Atop in fully automated lines for the production of electric motors for starter and electric- and hybrid-traction motor applications, has been further developed.
The result of the technological progress achieved allows the implementation of very flexible machines, suitable for both the development of prototypes and the mass-production with low production volumes.
The flexibility of Atop machines allows customers to produce hairpin stators with variable shapes and sizes, manufacturing with the same plant motors with different technical specifications.
The machines perform the processes of slot insulation, hairpin forming and insertion, enlargement and twisting, cutting, repositioning and laser welding of terminal wires.
Each operation is carried out with utmost precision and speed, granting an optimal control of every phase of the manufacturing process. The machines implemented by Atop grant the highest flexibility, reliability and user friendliness, exploiting as strong point the capability of offering customized solutions, aimed at satisfying customers’ specific demands, even the most complex, worldwide.

A new technology implementing electric head commutators

electric commutators
Using a minor quantity of copper is a possible thanks to the development of a new manufacturing technology, based on cold moulding.

Reference partner in the production of hook-type electric commutators for A.C. and D.C. motors, Cagnoni operates on the market with a very broad range of products (diameters starting from 15 up to 30 mm), suitable for small appliances, automatic door-opening systems, automotive, power-tools, and so on. Such products are implemented starting from a continuous element (copper tube of 5 m) exploiting a unique up-to-date technology, which provides for obtaining the internal grips of the commutator bars from that part of semi-finished product that would be then removed by the successive milling phase.
In that way, no copper is added to create the gripping itself.
That process, developed by Osimo (AN) company itself, will enable a minor waste of raw materials, without affecting the product quality and granting total reliability and extreme flexibility to its customers.
Concerning the sector of electric head commutators, the last decade has been characterized by more and more articulated and interacting competitive factors, summarized in the following points: reduction of sale prices, decrease of component costs, rise of the contents and of the performances of electric motors, increase of the reliability and duration demands.
The offer excess compared to the demand, together with the appearance of unbranded products on the market and, especially, of big low cost producers, have determined a price fall and a standardization “towards the middle” of the functional characteristics of products. In this context, the sector companies’ challenge consists in enhancing the quality and the variety of the offered services by seizing, for instance, the potentialities made available by new technologies.

Increase performances and tear the costs down

The primary manufacturers of electric head commutators use a consolidated technology that provides for the assembly of copper bars (manufactured through cold drawing, successive parting-off and eventual removal of material in excess) around opportune positioning cages. Then they proceed to the moulding of the thermosetting resin to fix the position of bars, to the milling to create voids on the head, the undercutting to eliminate insulating material present between one bar and the other, to turning to achieve the final geometry and, finally, to finishing operations. A technology that certainly allows implementing components that feature good performances and quality but nevertheless, still today, affected by a series of problems and criticalities among which the main ones concern: the use of a big quantity of raw material (copper) connected with the fact that the piece geometry is obtained by stock removal.

electric commutators
Complete motor.

The need of removing the insulating material from the sliding surface of the brush (undercutting) which implies quite long machining times, due to the particular product geometry (accentuated head overhang), it is necessary to use cutters with very small diameter (about Ø 10mm) that perform a very low feed speed (scarce product productivity).
Moreover, the undercutting needs a very precise cut positioning, with the result of calling for level electronics (tracking mode cutting) and of producing anyway a certain quantity of non-compliant products.
The inner gripping of the commutator bar, realized through a big T-shaped protuberance, it too of copper, which notably increases the mass to be held while rotating.
Dealing with the current above-described survey, it is therefore obvious that the development guidelines of the reference market precisely converge towards an ever-growing demand for new technologies, for increasingly performing products at low costs. Research and development, strongly pursued by Cagnoni itself, over the last few years was aimed at studying, experimenting and developing an alternative technology to the conventional ones used by competitors today.
Such technology, which provides for cold moulding (instead of the traditional stock removal machining), will permit to manufacture copper head commutators (therefore optimizing the use of raw materials) with better final characteristics, lower industrial costs than those applied on the market today and with both economic-productive and environmental benefits.
Therefore, the company’s R&D department intends to create a different product/process from the present state-of-the-art.