Control Engineering’s Motors, Drives, and Motion Control Newsletter for September 2001

By Frank Bartos June 4, 2002

In this issue:

  • Electronic motor drives are alive and well
  • Enhanced motion controllers
  • New definite-purpose contactor
  • More help with ac motor production tests
  • Wanted: Users’ input on combined intelligent motor and controller products
  • Worth reading
  • Major European Automation/Drives show coming
  • Companies in motion
  • Control Engineering in August and September
  • Register now for the SupplyChainLinkExpo

Electronic motor drives (EMDs) are alive and well

EMDs comprised a huge $12.5-billion worldwide market in 2000, with growth projected to reach $19.1 billion in 2005, says a 1,400-page market research study by Drives Research Corp. (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). A market research and management consultant firm in electric motor and drive technologies, Drives Research Corp. (DRC) includes various drive types in its EMD definition-ac and dc drives, as well as brushless dc, permanent magnet ac, stepper, switched-reluctance, etc.

Among findings of the June 2001 broad-based study, “Electronic Motor Drives 2001-2005,” are:

  • EMD markets have had tremendous growth since the 1960s, but revenue growth rate has been steadily eroding. Technology developments, industry over-capacity, global economic conditions, and maturing of power semiconductors have all contributed to the trend, according to Tom Kaporch, president of Drives Research Corp.

  • The above holds true for industrial markets in “developed countries,” but not for emerging, non-industrial products or for developing countries-especially Asia, led by China. Mr. Kaporch notes among emerging applications for EMDs automotive subsystems, household appliances, hybrid electric vehicles, non-automotive vehicles, and marine propulsion units.

  • Non-industrial markets will account for the majority of EMD revenues starting in 2001, growing to nearly 60% by year-end 2005. This is a significant trend because the industrial sector has been the consistent prime mover for EMD revenues. In 2000, the industrial sector still represented 50% of revenues.

  • AC variable-frequency drives make up the largest revenue sector among all types of electronic motor drives with a 53% market share at present.

The research report spells out further details of the EMD market, along with a wealth of company details and business information. Also see a longer version of this item in August 23, 2001 Daily News Desk at . For more information, contact DRC at or call +1 949-487-5163.

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Enhanced motion controllers

Precision MicroDynamics Inc. (PMDI, Victoria, B.C. Canada ) has added enhancements and new capabilities to its multi-axis motion controllers. Among them are maximum quadrature decoder edge rates of 20 MHz and 40 MHz, done through new digital counter technology, and PID gain swapping, which “swaps” settings for P, I, or D gains (or their combination) to minimize transit time and settling in point-to-point moves. PMDI attaches “great performance enhancements” to the swapping technique for linear motors and piezo actuators with high torque-to-inertia ratios. The company’s MC-4000, PCI Bus motion control boards (4 to 8 axes) and MCX-DSP, ASI Bus motion-control boards (8 to 16 axes) support PID gain swapping.

Other enhancements for motion controllers at PMDI include analytic autotuning, inner/outer loop control, “motion done” event, position capture, and position compare. For more about these enhanced features, see August 21, 2001 Daily News Desk at . PMDI promises backward compatibility to existing products as new features and enhancements are added.

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New definite-purpose contactor

Need a compact, application-specific protection device and motor controller?

One possibility for your search is Allen-Bradley Bulletin 400 Definite Purpose (DP) contactor, introduced by Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis. ) in July 2001. These contactors come in four ranges: 1- and 2-pole units at 25-30 Amp (FLA) full-load amp rating; 3-pole units at 25-75 Amp; and 4-pole units at 25 Amp. A maximum line voltage is 600 V applies to all versions. A-B 400DP’s “double-break” contacts reduce contact erosion by actually breaking the power circuit in two places. Features include Class B (130 °C) coil insulation, snap-on auxiliary contacts, and a “double E” magnet assembly, said to provide best performance at lower power consumption. Quick-disconnect terminals and hex-slotted screws help simplify wiring and lower installation costs.

Typical applications for A-B Bulletin 400DP contactors range from air conditioning, refrigeration, and pumps/compressors to resistive heating and food service equipment.

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More help with ac motor production tests

Here is another tool to ease multiple testing tasks for ac induction motors. MotorMD Production Test System from SensorScript Corp. (Milford, O. ) integrates into one package various motor tests, such as winding resistance, impedance, ac “hi-pot,” open bar, excitation and vibration, and sound level. MotorMD runs under Microsoft Windows 2000 and uses standard hardware (computers, sensors, data acquisition equipment, I/O devices, etc.). The configurable system can be customized to the needs of specific users, including extensions to newer tests and specs, according to SensorScript. Test results can be summarized in a report and stored in a database for ready access by users in field service, quality control, or engineering analysis.

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Wanted: Users’ input on combination servo motor and controller packages

In the December 2001 issue of Control Engineering, I will be doing the cover story on ‘Integrated Servo Motor and Controller Packages’ and their related issues.

Users’ experiences or interests are needed with this emerging class of intelligent, integrated products-systems in a sense. They are based largely on servo-motor technology but some step-motor-based systems are also included. No supplier companies please. Send me your views in brief and identify your company affiliation. E-mail: .

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Worth reading

Here are some new references to bolster the knowledge of readers and motion control professionals.

“Switched Reluctance Motor Drives: Modeling, Simulation, Analysis, Design, and Applications” (ISBN: 0-84930-0838-0) by R. Krishnan is a volume in the Industrial Electronics series. The book presents an integrated view of machines and their drive systems, including sensor-based and sensorless switched-reluctance controllers. CRC Press.

“Electric Drives” (CD-ROM Interactive) by Ion Boldea and Syed A. Nasar provides detailed coverage of the latest variable-speed electric drives. Among topics examined are types of drives, performance, design elements, simulation programs, test results, and the industrial environment of drives. ISBN: 0-8493-2521-8. CRC Press.

“Linear Synchronous Motors: Transportation and Automation Systems” (ISBN: 0-8493-1859-9) by Jacek F. Gieras and Zbigniew J. Piech provides wide treatment of a less covered area: Brushless linear synchronous motors. Various motor types, construction, controls, and applications are discussed. CRC Press.

These books are available from CRC Press (Boca Raton, Fla. )

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Major European Automation/Drives show coming

SPS/IPC/Drives 2001, the growing “special interest” Electrical Automation show, is heading for another run in Nürnberg, Germany on November 27-29. Five exhibition halls at Nürnberg’s Exhibition Center will be used for the first time to accommodate the event.

Besides the show’s mainstays of PLC/industrial PC technologies and electric drives, SPS/IPC/Drives focuses on fieldbus technologies, communications, software for control and visualization, sensors, and information technology (IT) integration-from a systems viewpoint, but without neglecting components.

More than 690 exhibitors are expected to occupy 40,000 m2(430,000 ft2) of display area. Last year, 643 exhibiting companies took part, using 33, 400 m2of space. As of August 2001, 133 new exhibitors have signed up. Among the automation market leaders present will be ABB, Danaher Motion, Mitsubishi Electric, Omron, Rockwell Automation, Siemens , and Wonderware .

Parallel conference programs-IT & Automation conference (started in 2000) and the main SPS/IPC/Drives conference-respectively, will offer presentations by industry experts on how to link management and production, and on current themes in automation and electric drives.

For more information about this event, visit .

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Companies in motion

Unico Inc. (Franksville, Wis. ), a leading U.S. manufacturer of adjustable-speed drives and engineered systems announced on August 17 the acquisition of Micromatik GmbH (Siegen, Germany) as a wholly owned subsidiary. Unico’s strength is in manufacturing drives and systems for automotive, steel, paper, petroleum, test stand, and other demanding applications. Expertise of Micromatik lies in paper finishing, corrugated, and metals applications.

National Instruments (Austin, Tex. ) reports it will host a series of 14 technical conferences in North America over a three-month period. “NI Technical Symposium for Measurement and Automation” begins on October 2 in Montreal, Canada, and ends in Golden, Colo. on December 6. Goal of the symposium is to give engineers new development methods, hands-on training, and allow exchange of ideas about the latest trends in the measurement industry. Two NI Product Sessions of special interest to motion control professionals will be “Integrating Vision, Motion, and Measurements” and “Precision Alignment with Vision and Motion Measurements.”

Leeson Electric (Grafton, Wis. ) recently announced its charter membership in the NEMA Premium Efficient Electric Motor Program, an initiative that promotes an industry-standard definition of premium-efficiency ac motors. “NEMA Premium” covers general-purpose induction motors of 1-500 hp, medium-voltage motors of 250-500 hp, plus definite-purpose and special-purpose motors in the 1-200 hp range. For more about the NEMA Premium program, see July 13, 2001 Daily News Desk at .

SynqNet, a full digital high-speed digital motion control network, has been introduced by Motion Engineering Inc. (MEI, Santa Barbara, Calif. ). The new network makes use of standard components like CATV wiring and RJ45 connectors to interface drives and controllers for intelligent, multi-axis servo systems. SynqNet’s physical layer is based on IEEE 802.3 standard, while MEI designed the data link and application layers. A SynqNet gateway will support drives that operate with analog interfaces.

Motion control is enriched by varied technologies as well as by worldwide sources of its products. Countries from “down under” contribute to progress. Schneider Electric (Paris, France ) has recently taken controlling interest in PDL Holdings Ltd. (Christchurch, New Zealand ). A unit of PDL is a regional market leader in high-power, adjustable-speed drives (ASDs), soft starters, and related electrical equipment. The move is part of Schneider Electric’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region and in line with the Schneider Toshiba Inverter SAS joint venture for ASD products.

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Control Engineering in August and September

Be sure to see items in motors, drives, and motion control items in each in-print issue.

In August, two Application Update articles are offered: Benefits of “encoder-less” drive operation in a paper mill using a drive from ABB (New Berlin, Wis. ) are described. Speed control of loads with a “magnetic” adjustable-speed drive from MagnaDrive (Seattle, Wa. ) presents cost-effective alternative.

The News section includes a brief update on initiatives for energy-efficient induction motors.

My article on ” Motion Simulation ” (and its Online Extra companion piece) looks into software methods to speed up optimal design of motion systems.

In Products & Software , you can glimpse VLT 5000 Series sensorless ac drive with enhanced vector control from Danfoss Drives (Rockford, Ill. ); Renco Encoders Inc.’s (Goleta, Calif. ) RCML15 optical encoder, which includes brushless commutation; and a brushless torque sensor that handles low torque and high speed from Mountz Inc. (San Jose, Calif. ).

In the September issue, Technology Update looks at an unusual welding and inspection robot from Honeybee Robotics (New York, N.Y. ) that works semi-autonomously to repair steam pipes.

A news item updates high-temperature superconducting (HTS) motor developments with Siemens AG’s (Erlangen, Germany ) demo of a 400-kW prototype HTS motor.

September’s products include a compact ac drive with two types of control from Yaskawa Electric America (Waukegan, Ill. ); International Rectifier’s (El Segundo, Calif. ) efficient ac motor control based on IGBT and FRED devices; and servo amplifiers specially suited to controlling direct-drive linear motors.

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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 for the SupplyChainLinkExpo and qualify to win prizes: laptop, digital cameras, and cash!

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