Control Engineering's Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for June 2001


In this issue:




'Film coil' technology advances motors

In the never-ending quest for lower cost electric motors comes 'film coil' technology. The innovative development promises high magnetic field strength and greater coil density than wire coil-the alternative coil forming technology. Lower cost is a plus using processes similar to printed circuit board manufacturing. The developer, EMbest Co. Ltd. (Seoul, Korea; U.S. office, Norwalk, Calif.; ), claims the first practical products with its dc coreless film coil motors available up to 300 W output power and brushless film coil motors (cylindrical- and disk-shaped coil versions) up to 400 W size. These motors offer low rotor inertia for rapid starting/reversing, low inductance, high efficiency, and high power-to-size ratio, according to EMbest. Depending on motor size, applications range from robots and office automation and semiconductor production equipment to utility vehicles, electric tools, and agricultural/automotive products. For more information, contact Tel: 562/802-5919.


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Looking at the North American ac drives market (2001- 06)

What's down the road for ac drive suppliers and users? A May 2001 market study by Motion Tech Trends (MTT, Inglewood, Calif.) forecasts some of the answers, among them, early signs of a maturating ac drive market in North America, consolidation among manufacturers/sales channels, and the spread of e-commerce methods for marketing ac drives.

MTT's report sees Rockwell Automation (Allen-Bradley/Reliance Electric) as the dominant market leader, with Yaskawa and the joint venture of Schneider Electric (Square D)-Toshiba running neck and neck, but 'significantly below Rockwell.' In the alliance [named Schneider Toshiba Inverter SAS], which will be finalized in late 2001 or early 2002, each company markets ac drives under its brand name, but the combined sales will place them as one of the top three in the North American market, says MTT.

A potential growth opportunity for ac drives suppliers comes from the current energy crisis. Vast energy consumption by electric motors is expected to promote more incentives for installing adjustable-speed ac drive as part of near-term demand-side management programs. 'This can help keep the ac drive market growing over the next five years.'

The report, 'North American Market for AC Drives: 2001-2006,' contains extensive information on sales of drives by industry, application, and geography; detailed analysis of the consolidations; a review of B2B eCommerce effects; industry trends; prices; and other topics. For more information contact MTT founder George Gulalo at Tel: 310/674-3445 or .


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'European motor drive vendor of the year' award

In a related item, Eurotherm Drives (Littlehampton, U.K.; Charlotte, N.C.; ) received the 'European Motor Drive Vendor of the Year' award from Intex Management Services Ltd. (IMS, Wellingborough, U.K.; Austin, Tex.; ), an industrial automation market research company.

Based on a Europe-wide survey of drive users with some 330 replies, the award considered how suppliers met such rating factors as product reliability, pricing, timely delivery, and technical support. Users identified the first two items as the most important influencing factors. Customers' high rating for product reliability, competitive pricing, and ease of use made Eurotherm the overall winner. Lenze (Aerzen, Germany; Fairfield, N.J.) was second overall, helped by the highest rating for delivery. Mitsubisihi Electric (Ratingen, Germany; Vernon Hills, Ill.) came in third and rated highly on competitive pricing. ABB (Zurich, Switzerland; New Berlin, Wis.) was rated as having the 'most leading edge [drive] technology,' though it placed substantially lower overall among the top 10 in this survey.

The awards were presented at Hannover Fair on April 25, 2001 by IMS. The report, 'European Motor Drive Survey 2001-Benchmark Results and Customer Requirements,' is available from IMS for


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ISA/AIME Motion Control Conference

Do you need an updating on some 'hot' topics of motion control? If so, two-days of presentations by motion control experts, in early August, in Detroit may be just what you are looking for.

To kick-off the event on August 6-co-sponsored by ISA (Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society, Research Triangle Park, N.C.) and AIME (American Institute of Motion Engineers, Kalamazoo, Mich.)-Charles Bartel of AIME and Moog Inc. will lead a seminar on 'Fundamentals of Motion Control and Servo Systems.'

Continuing on August 7, industry experts will present an Applied Motion Control Conference including:

  • 'Machine and Motion Control-Where Is It Going?' by Tom Bullock, Bull's Eye Marketing

  • 'Communication' (SERCOS, MACRO, Profibus) by Chris Radley, Kollmorgen

  • 'SoftMotion, Software-based Motion Control' by George Kaufman, Automation Intelligence

  • 'Applications' (Assembly/Robotics/Conveyance) by John Downie, Yaskawa Electric

  • 'Fuzzy Logic Solutions for Motion Control' by Dr. Zhiqiang Gao, Cleveland State University

  • 'An Overview of Brushless DC Motors' by Dan Jones, AIME, Incremotion Associates

  • 'MACRO-An Open Architecture Fiber Technology for Machine Control Industry' by Jeffery Schatz, Delta Tau Data Systems

  • 'Pitfalls in Applying Electromechanical Actuators to High Performance Applications' by Charles Bartel.

For more information, contact ISA at .


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Software simplifies motor testing

Assessing performance and characteristics of motors under dynamometer testing has become easier with new M-Test 4.0 software from Magtrol Inc. (Buffalo, N.Y.; ), says the company. Microsoft Windows-based M-Test 4.0 works with Magtrol's motor testing products-dynamometer controllers, various dynamometers (hysteresis, eddy-current, powder brake types), power analyzers, and inline torque transducers.

The software provides test and data options, for example: load simulation, motor speed cycling, PID adjustment routines, and three-phase power analyzer data acquisition. For the latter, data can be collected as a sum or as individual phases. Generated data can be stored, displayed, and printed for reports. A variation of the software (MT-Test 4.0) adds temperature-testing capability to dynamometer control.


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New torque-mode servo amplifier

Legend Digital Torque Amplifier is the newest series of servo drives from Yaskawa Electric America Inc. (Waukegan, Ill.; ) intended for complex servo applications where motion controllers are located upstream in the process to close velocity and position loops. Legend amplifiers come in four sizes with ratings in the 0.1-1.5 kW range, accept a 10-V analog torque command, and operate on 90-253 V ac (one- and three-phase) or 127-357 V dc supply.

To simplify connecting and wiring of application modules, an extra side connector duplicates the one on the front of the chassis. Legend amplifiers also connect to numerous Yaskawa motors, such as Sigma II servo motors (rotary) and Sigma linear motors.

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Information is knowledge

Varied information sources are available to motion system practitioners. Here is a recent sampling.

Kollmorgen (Radford, Va.), a Danaher Motion company, launched an online resource to streamline information access for designers and engineers. MotionVillage ( ) models a typical machine design cycle. Welcome Center serves as an introduction; Training Center is an interactive environment with learning options and software tools; Product Center highlights Kollmorgen's products and literature; and Service/Support Center supplies application expertise to users.

Are you all 'brushed up' on ac and dc motor terminology? Well over 200 useful terms are defined in 'Glossary of Motor Terms' from Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee. Wis.). Graphics, including cross-sections of typical ac and dc motors, diagrams, and tables add to the glossary's value. It can found at Rockwell's/Allen-Bradley Drives and Motors web site ( ).

Going beyond 'frequently asked questions' or downloadable manuals, Pacific Scientific (Rockford, Ill.; ) has added a chat room on its web site. Reached via the homepage 'help' icon, engineers are on hand to supply 'instant' answers about motors, drives, and their applications. The chat room was started in January 2001 and has received over 90% favorable comments among users that completed an exit survey, says Pacific Scientific.

'Lamination Steels' is the topic of a CD-ROM recently introduced by the Electric Motor Education and Research Foundation (EMERF, Mashpee, Mass.; ). The CD-ROM is called a compendium of the most up-to-date material data about lamination steel alloys used in electric motors. The disk includes an Adobe Acrobat reader needed to view the pdf file. For license fees, contact EMERF at Tel: 508/477-7405 or the above web site.

Related to the above, the initial meeting of the Small Motors & Motion Association (SMMA) Consortium on 'Loss Reduction in Motors' will take place on July 13, 2001 at Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.). Among goals of the underlying research project are to better understand the principles of core losses in motor laminations (especially due to high-frequency/non-sinusoidal excitation); develop instruments to accurately measure losses; and develop/apply design formulas to measure efficiency gains. Six manufacturing companies make up the Consortium, with more members being sought. SMMA will administer the meeting; an EMERF representative will participate. For more information, contact SMMA at Tel: 508/376-5360 or .

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Rosslyn, Va.) released in May 2001 the application guide AB 3-2001, 'Molded Case Circuit Breakers and Their Application.' Besides circuit breakers, the guide includes molded case switches (single-/multi-pole, fused, and unfused) and their accessories. It addresses electrical systems with nominal ratings of up to 600 volts ac and dc, accounting for most applications. AB 3 guide costs $55.00, contact Global Engineering Documents at or 800/854-7179 or 303/397-7956 (international).


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Companies in motion

Schneider Electric (Paris, France; North Andover, Mass.; ) announced June 1 that it will combine its worldwide Industrial Control, Automation, and developing Motion Activity business units into one division by Sept. 1. Named Industrial Web Automation and Control, the new entity is forecast to have about $3.3 billion in sales, roughly one-third of all Schneider sales. Also recognized in the reorganization is Schneider's growing motion-control segment, helped by acquisitions like Germany-based SIG-Positec, formerly Berger Lahr.

Hitachi (Tokyo, Japan; ) and Sanyo Denki (Tokyo; ) have formed a cooperative alliance for ac servo motors, related products, and the integration of respective production plants. The two companies seek synergy through Sanyo Denki's wide-range of servo products and Hitachi's control technologies that provide low-cogging torque and top-speed positioning.

Ametek (Paoli, Pa.; ) acquired GS Electric, a manufacturer of universal and permanent magnet motors, from SPX Corporation, in May 2001. The deal is expected to bring 'critical mass and engineering expertise' to Ametek's permanent magnet motor activities and widen its position in floor-care motors and other motor markets, according to the company. Ametek is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors with 2000 sales of more than $1 billion.

Brand labeling is becoming a 'way of life' for of ac drives. A recent addition is the agreement by Saftronics Inc. (Fort Myers, Fla.; ) to market GE Industrial System's (Salem, Va.; ) 'high-performance' variable-frequency inverters manufactured in Mexico by the GE/Fuji Electric joint venture. The variable frequency drives involved have a size range of 1/8-1,000 hp and will be sold under the Saftronics brand-label.


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Control Engineering in June

Each month several in-print items address the areas of motors, drives, and motion control.

In June, Technology Update features Virtual Engineering Laboratory, a web-based motor testing architecture from Electro Standards Laboratories (Cranston, R.I.; ). The collaborative test and experiment platform for motors and power systems runs in real time using the Internet and standard web browsers. For more detail, also see January 2001 E-news at / .

This month's Product Focus section looks at ac adjustable-speed drives (ASDs) based on a survey of 279 completed responses from readers and equipment specifiers. Some trends and user issues for ac drives are increased onboard intelligence, communication options, and open programming. A sampling of ASD products from companies prominent in the survey is included.

Our Hannover Fair follow-up in the News section contains snippets of information on motion and drive technology developments presented at this world-class exhibit. An expanded version appears online in May 22 Daily News.

In Products & Software, the expanded power range of ServoWire digital drives from Ormec (Rochester, NY; ) is featured; Intelligent Motion Systems (Marlborough, Conn.; ) offers its Mdrive17, a NEMA 17 step motor and integrated drive electronics combo.


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Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo

Control Engineering and the Cahners Supply Chain/OEM Group are hosting a two-day online conference and tradeshow, October 17-18. During this FREE event, enjoy all the benefits of attending an industry tradeshow, right from your desktop. No traveling, no expenses, no wasted time.just valuable seminars, product information, networking-everything you'd find at a traditional conference or tradeshow-but on the Web. Keynote speakers are Thomas Stallkamp, CEO of MSX International and former President of Chrysler Corp., and James McNerney, CEO of 3M Corp. Register today and qualify to win prizes: laptop, digital cameras, and cash! www.supplychainlinkexpo .


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