Control Engineering’s E-News for Motors, Drives, & Motion Control – July 2001

By Frank Bartos August 15, 2001

In this issue:

  • Superconductor motors update
  • Market directions: AC drives, motion control
  • Energy-efficient motor initiatives in the air
  • Interface module, software simplify motion control
  • Motors ‘briefs’
  • Seminars, conferences, education
  • Information free for the asking or ‘surfing’
  • Control Engineering in July
  • Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo

Superconductor motors update

Developments in electric motors have become mundane, you say? Not so: High-temperature superconductor (HTS) motors are making steady, marked progress toward reality.

Demonstration of a prototype 5,000-hp HTS motor took place on July 18 at the site of American Superconductor Corp.’s (AMSC) Electric Motors & Generators business unit (Westborough, Mass. ). Said to be world’s first in this power rating, the HTS motor is an ac synchronous type with an ‘air-core’ design. It uses HTS wires made of bismuth-based compounds for the field windings on the rotor instead of copper wires. HTS wires operate with no electrical losses when cooled to cryogenic temperatures, which is the major attraction of this technology.

Designed, developed, and built by AMSC, the prototype is ‘about the size of a household refrigerator,’ making it approximately half the size and weight of a conventional 5,000-hp motor. Net electrical losses, including those for the cryogenic cooling of the HTS wires, are up to 50% the electrical losses of a conventional motor, according to American Superconductor Corp.

First commercial application of large HTS motors is likely to be in electric ship propulsion (cruise and naval vessels). Earlier, electric utility applications were seen as the first large-scale usage. ‘We plan to field additional prototype motors and generators over the next two years and are on track for commercial sales in 2004,’ says Greg Yurek, chief executive officer of AMSC. On a still larger scale, a 33,500-hp HTS ship propulsion motor being developed by AMSC for the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research is expected to be at the stage of sea trials by the end of 2003.

In a related item, Rockwell Automation ( ) passed another milestone with its HTS Motor development. According to Dave Driscoll, research manager for Rockwell Automation’s Superconducting Motor Group, first public demo of the motor powered to 1,600 hp was on July 16 at the company’s Advanced Development Laboratory (Euclid, O.). The demonstration coincided with the visit of U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to the facility.

This HTS motor demonstrated 1,000-hp capability in July 2000, which at the time made it the largest ‘working’ HTS motor of its type. (For more detail, see ). The motor is part of the U.S. Department of Energy SPI (Superconductivity Partnership Initiative) and was produced by a consortium of companies and organizations led by Rockwell and AMSC.

Further exciting happenings can be expected in this arena. However, keep in mind that the technology is complex and ‘high temperature’ in HTS refers to a still mighty cold 27-30 K (-246 to -243 °C).

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Market directions for ac drives and motion control

Two studies released by ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, Mass. ) in mid-July provide users further insight into the market dynamics of two technology sectors.

‘Low Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook,’ a revised study, sizes this market sector at over $3.9 billion in 2000, heading for $5.0 billion by the end of 2005, with unit growth rate ‘significantly higher’ than revenue growth. Compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period is seen as 5.0%. International alliances and joint ventures among drive manufacturers will continue to be the norm.

‘GMC [General Motion Control] Worldwide Outlook, Market Analyses & Forecast through 2005,’ an updated study, puts the market for GMC hardware, unbundled software, and services at almost $4.7 billion in 2000, forecasted to grow to $6.8 billion by the end of 2005 for a CAGR of 7.7%. Consolidation and mergers are changing the growth surge in the GMC market experienced in 2000, according to the study. Traditional market leaders are being challenged.

For more information on these ARC Advisory Group studies, visit and

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Energy-efficient motor initiatives in the air

Concerns about energy supplies and higher costs are increasingly in the news and in our lives. Less known are programs that inform users of more efficient products and promote their application. Electric motors represent great potential for energy savings. Two-thirds of U.S. industrial electric consumption goes to motors; on a broader scale, motors use 25% of all U.S. electricity generated, according to a 1998 U.S. Department of Energy study.

Why not an ‘EnergyGuide’ label for higher efficiency electric motors, much like the familiar yellow label found on your electric appliances? That’s the view from Baldor Electric Co. (Fort Smith, Ark.), a long-standing proponent of motor efficiency, as it introduced ‘EnergyGuide’ labeling for its Super-E line of premium-efficiency ac induction motors. Starting in mid-July 2001, the new label will be on all Super-E motor shipping boxes to show customers the motor’s efficiency rating, annual electricity cost, and estimated annual energy savings. For more information, visit /archives/news/2001/june/fbmh0620a.htm .

Two initiatives for energy-efficient electric motors were launched at the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA, St. Louis, Mo.) annual convention and exhibition on June 25 in Chicago. ‘NEMA Premium’ is a program being promoted by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA, Rosslyn, Va. ) to provide a consistent specification of premium-efficiency motors not previously available to the marketplace. This voluntary program includes general-purpose induction motors up to 500 hp, medium-voltage motors, plus definite- and special-purpose motors up to 200 hp.

‘Motor Decisions Matter’ is the other initiative gathering momentum. Sponsored by a consortium of motor industry manufacturers and service centers, electric utilities, government agencies, and trade associations-including EASA, NEMA, and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (Boston, Mass )-this program puts tools in the hands of users for developing an overall motor management plan. Motor Decisions Matter promotes life-cycle costing to determine whether motors should be repaired or replaced before they fail, and when to install energy-efficient motors. For more about these programs, visit /archives/news/2001/July/fb0713b.htm .

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Interface module, software simplify motion control

Integrating sequential (machine) control and motion control should become simpler with Rockwell Automation’s (Milwaukee, Wis. ) recent introduction of Allen-Bradley RSLogix 5000 v. 9.0 software and a digital motion interface module called ControlLogix SERCOS (SE-rial Real-time COmmunications System). The interface does away with numerous wires needed for each motion axis in an analog drive link. ControlLogix SERCOS is a digital drive link that works with a single fiber-optic cable per axis.

With RSLogix 5000 programming software, users need only one tool to integrate both sequential and motion control functions. Wizard-based dialogs simplify configuration of motion axes and drives. An ‘advanced’ graphical motion profile editor aids the creation of motion profiles, from simple to complex.

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Motors ‘briefs’

Here is another sampling of new and enhanced motor products that continue to hit the market.

BEI Kimco Magnetics Div. (San Marcos, Calif. ) has introduced a new Limited Angle Torquer product line. Its first model is LATH23-10-001Z, with rated stroke of

New washdown synchronous and step motors in NEMA 23 and 34 frame sizes are available from Superior Electric (Bristol, Conn. ), a Danaher Motion company. These Slo-Syn synchronous motors supply torques up to 700 oz-in. and can start/stop or reverse within 1.5 cycles. Slo-Syn step motors offer up to 1,155 oz-in. holding torque and operate at speeds up to 3,000 rpm.

WEG Electric Motors Corp. (Rochester, N.Y. ) has added Aluminum NEMA T-frame motors in the 1-20 hp range to its product line. These EPAct efficiency-rated motors meet NEMA MG1 Part 31 specs for use with ac inverters. They offer Class F insulation and 1.15 service factor.

Model 4020-2 is a new Direct-Drive Linear Brushless dc servo motor from California Linear Devices (Carlsbad, Calif. ) capable of delivering 375 lb peak force with inputs of 30 A current and 1.7 kW power (both peak values). The tubular motor (6.2-in. OD) has integral bearings and a linear moving shaft that produces standard strokes of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 in.

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Seminars, conferences, education

Continuing education opportunities for motion control professionals are available from many sources. ‘Modern Power Conversion Design Techniques’ is a course on practical design and analysis of power processing equipment using high frequency switching methods. The Educational Division of e/j Bloom Associates Inc. offers the course, August 20-24 in Las Vegas, Nev. It consists of three segments, which can be taken individually or separately. For registration, visit .

The 2001 Fall Technical Conference of the Small Motors & Motion Association (SMMA, Sherborn, Mass. ) will carry the banner of ‘Emerging Technologies in the Electric Motion Industry.’ Conference topics planned for the event in Durham, N.C., October 3-5 include: Nanotech; Thermal analysis; Efficiency; Motor magnet bonding; Patent/intellectual property; Distributed power; Rapid prototyping; International standards; and EMI/EMC. An SMMA Motor & Motion College course on ‘Feedback Devices’ will be presented prior to the conference in two half-day sessions, October 2-3.

The Association of International Motion Engineers (AIME, Kalamazoo, Mich. ) will present two of its educational courses-Introduction to Motion Control and Servo Feedback Devices-at Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo, ), to be held in Rosemont, Ill. (Chicago), October 2-4, 2001. AIME is also partnering with other professional associations to develop a technical conference of 60-plus session for ATExpo. Dedicated solely to assembly processes, the expo is produced by Reed Exhibitions.

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Information free for the asking or ‘surfing’

Baldor Electric Co. (Fort Smith, Ark.) features its Super-E line of premium-efficiency industrial motors with ratings of 1-2,000 hp in a 48-page brochure (BR457). Models for chemical processing, IEEE 841, open drip proof, explosion proof, close-coupled pump, automotive-approved, and single-phase usage are included in the Super-E line. These premium-efficiency motors are also rated ‘inverter ready.’

Technical bulletins for Thomson Airpax Mechatronics’ (Chesire, Conn.) 58-mm Series and 98-mm Series brushless dc motors have been recently issued. These motors produce peak power of 50 W and 100 W, respectively, and feature a PWM drive that eliminates the need of an external controller. For a copy of the bulletins, E-mail: .

‘Absolute positioning’ to ‘z-axis’ is the span of 186 terms defined in General Motion Control (GMC) Glossary from Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis.). The glossary can be accessed at the Allen-Bradley GMC web site at .

Haydon Switch & Instrument Inc. (Waterbury, Conn. ) offers a 33-page brochure on Hybrid Linear Actuators, along with a technical overview of linear actuators, stepper motor theory, and terminology. Size 17 and 23 actuators with captive shaft, non-captive shaft, external linear, and linear/rotary design styles are covered.

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Control Engineering in July

You may also want to look at items on motors, drives, and motion control running in print in each issue of the magazine.

This month’s cover story on Integrated Control includes a sidebar that summarizes recent activities of PLCopen ( ) on motion system integration via IEC 61131-3 Motion Blocks. In ‘Back to Basics,’ Fred Phillips, project engineer at EADmotors (Dover, N.H. ) looks at the several faces of step motor controls and how they affect the performance of a typical hybrid step motor.

In the July Products & Software section, Precision Technology USA (Roanoke, Va. ) presents two versions of its Wiesel linear drives with a compact 40 x 40-mm profile. Aromat Corp. (New Providence, N.J. ) introduces VF-CE variable-frequency drives with vector control for 1/3-5 hp motors. Automation Intelligence (Duluth, Ga. ) offers PV-Series ac servo system, said to be the ‘world’s smallest SERCOS-compatible system’ for 24-hour shipping via online ordering. Danaher Controls (Gurnee, Ill. ) has a family of Dynapar instrinsically safe encoders that meet requirements for hazardous area applications, when used with approved barriers. Among features of Delta Tau Data Systems’ (Chatsworth, Calif. ) Advantage 800 Series CNC with open architecture are simultaneous 8-axis control, ‘lookahead’ capability for high-speed machining, and advanced linear drive technology.

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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!

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