Hannover Fair 2006 in motion

By Control Engineering Staff May 25, 2006

Numerous technologies of “motors, drives, and motion control” were again in the spotlight at this year’s running of Hannover Industrial Fair. Presentations ranged from standards announcements and technology discussions to products emphasizing innovation, energy efficiency, and mechatronic integration—even spanning to developments in high-temperature superconductivity. More details and links to additional information follow about ABB drives, Baldor motors and drives, Lenze gear motors, SERCOS III C2C profile specification, drive innovation perspectives from Siemens, VEM specialty motors, and the “Superconductivity City” exhibit.

SERCOS Controller-to-Controller (C2C) Synchronization and Communication Profile integrates communication and real-time links with mechanical connection of machine modules.

SERCOS trade organizations announced the release of Controller-to-Controller (C2C) Synchronization and Communication Profile, which defines mechanisms for interconnecting distributed control functions as well as synchronizing distributed motion controllers, using SERCOS III the new industrial Ethernet-based version of SERCOS interface. The spec addresses innovative SERCOS III features, such as hardware redundancy, hot-plug device capability, and cross communication, explained Peter Lutz, managing director of Interests Group SERCOS (IGS) interface.

Typical applications for the C2C profile are found in printing, packaging, processing machines, and machine tools with special control and synchronization needs, for example, in gantry axes or rotary transfer tables. Live demonstration of C2C profile with first device implementations took place at the joint IGS interface booth.

Release of the C2C profile represents a movement of SERCOS III to areas other than drives—the origins of SERCOS—to distributed control structures, said Lutz. Meanwhile, SERCOS also is active in the safety arena. Its safety concept for safe data transfer based on SERCOS interface was approved in December 2005 by TÜV Rheinland, an international technical service provider for safety certification. The protocol extension is said to allow use of SERCOS interface in safety integrity level (SIL) applications up to SIL 3, per IEC 61508.

Drives, motion systems perspective
Mechatronic innovation and the role of software were among trends in motion systems noted by Siemens . In comparing industrial motion control with CNC systems, Dipl.-Ing. Armin Huger, director of business development at Siemens AG Automation and Drives Div., sees CNCs in the lead technologically, in part, because of the need for higher accuracy. “Industrial motion systems need to come up in performance and sophistication to the level of CNCs,” said Huger. Industrial systems are heading toward that higher ground, as “motion control becomes a more major, integrated part of the machine,” he explained, but, it will take time to achieve the goal.
(Look for an article on ” CNC Programming ” in the June 2006 issue of CE .)

Relative to the performance evolution, Huger also commented on Siemens’ major new generation of ac drives, Sinamics. With an extremely wide power range, including medium-voltage models, Sinamics is destined to replace the company’s previous generation of drives, he explained. However, Huger was quick to point out this will take 10-15 years to accomplish. “It represents a huge effort and a large change for the company.”

Mechatronic innovation was definitely in the air at Hannover Fair. One example was Lenze AG’s G-motion servo gear motor line. G-motion servo features power ranges of 0.25-10 kW using synchronous servo motors and 0.8-20.3 kW with asynchronous (induction) servos. A variety of gearing types is available. Size of the gearbox or “mecha” part is controlled by rules of physics as shown. The “tronic” part with the sleek servo motor is clearly in the lead for compactness. (Photo by Frank Bartos, Control Engineering.)

Two key attributes of Sinamics reside in its highly modular design and single software tool applicable to all drives in the family. The same software applies whether it’s a variable-frequency unit or a servo drive. Modularity of Sinamics focuses on use of individual control units and a separate power module “for more flexibility in design and application,” added Huger. The power module is identical across drive sizes and helps with inventory stocking.

Baldor Electric Co . exhibited innovations in ac drives as well as motors. The company has substantially widened the power range of its H2 drive family with 26 units extending the upper range from 45 to 93 kW. This broadens applications to include extruders, production machines, and other heavier duty machinery. For up to 7.5 kW ratings, other H2 drives now offer washdown-duty enclosures. Also, plug-in expansion boards are available for added drive connectivity, for example, electronic gearing. Baldor claims exceptional reliability for the H2 drive family, which includes several control variants: open-loop, encoderless vector, closed-loop vector, and servo control (for up to 18.5 kW output).

On the motors side, Baldor launched its Metric-E+ line—a range of IEC-frame ac motors with energy-efficiency up to 96.3% and 4-200 kW power ratings. Metric-E+ comes in two versions: “EFF1” to meet Europe’s “high-efficiency” voluntary standard and a so-called “EFF1+” version, which is up to 2% more efficient than EFF1, according to the company. Indicating worldwide awareness of the cost of energy, these motors also comply with Australia’s minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS) per AS/NZS 1359.5-2—5/2006.

‘Cool’ drives
Besides emphasis on its new DCS800 dc drive, ABB showed liquid-cooling enhancements for other drives. Low-voltage ACS800 liquid-cooled ac drive in the 200-5,600 kW power range now features up to 50% less space requirement than a comparably rated air-cooled drive. “Compactness” definitely applies even at the higher power ratings. According to Roelof Timmer, ABB marketing manager for automation products, “Size reduction due to liquid cooling varies over the power range from 30% to 50% compared with an equivalent air-cooled drive.”

Rugged construction of this special electric motor from VEM Motors conveys its image of steel- and rolling-mill duty. The motor runs at 746 rpm with 178 kW output and offers an IP55 enclosure. (Photo by Frank Bartos, Control Engineering.)

Not to overlook air-cooling, ABB has meanwhile launched such a version of its medium-voltage ACS5000 ac drive to complement the existing water-cooled series—offering users an extra choice of cooling method. Air-cooled ACS5000 drive comes in a 2-7 MW power range at supply voltages up to 6.9 kV. It provides the option for either an integrated or separate input transformer.

VEM motors GmbH exhibited a variety of special industrial motors. One example was its “memory motor” with RFID technology, a modified conventional unit enabled for onboard data storage. A small RFID tag on the unit allows storage of large volumes of data, such as performance parameters, maintenance notes, and precise motor identification/tracking. A read-write unit enables data retrieval and adding user-specific data.

‘Superconducting city’
Hannover Fair’s Research & Technology sector included a special group exhibit entitled “SuperConducting City,” where motor and drive innovations played an inherent part. Notable offerings included high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnetic bearings from Siemens and Nexans Superconductors GmbH , destined for high-speed drives and rotating equipment. These contactless, low-loss, and wear-free bearings are projected to see service in high-speed motors and generators in the 2010 timeframe.

Dr. Wolfgang Nick, principal research scientist at Siemens Corporate Technology, also mentioned activity in development of a 4,000 kVA, 3,600 rpm HTS synchronous generator intended for ship propulsion. In part because of size limitations, the generator was shown through a video presentation. Development of the HTS generator follows Siemens’ demonstration of Europe’s first 400 kW HTS synchronous motor in 2001 ( see CE, Sept. 2001 ).

Oswald Elektromotoren GmbH displayed research projects in advanced motors, including a high-dynamic linear motor with a HTS stator. Two models are being developed with 10 kN and 120 kN linear thrust capability (2,248 lbf and 26,980 lbf, respectively) at up to 25 Hz actuation frequency.

American Superconductor Corp . (AMSC) exhibited its expertise in HTS wire production for first-generation (1G) and second-gen (2G) wire. Reliable quantity production of HTS wire is at the heart of developing actual superconducting machines. Physically, the wires look about the same, but 2G HTS wire has much higher performance, explained Rob Rouse, industry marketing manager for AMSC. Its 2G HTS material on exhibit was about 0.2 mm thick and 4.3 mm wide. “Presently, 2G wire is more costly than 1G,” said Rouse. “We have to bring the price down—potentially through lower production costs, as 2G material has more manufacturing options and does not need to be extruded as does 1G wire.”

First industrial usage of HTS motors is about five years away, Rouse suggested, with application of motors around 10,000 hp for ship propulsion of the non-naval type.

—Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering,
executive editor, fbartos@reedbusiness.com