Motors and Mechanical Power Transmission

Video: Motor development kit prioritizes energy efficiency

18 November 2020

A new motor development kit (MDK) has been designed by ON Semiconductor to accelerate the development of more efficient motor control solutions for applications ranging from less than 1 kW to over 10 kW.

Electric motors account for over half of all the power generated and consumed by industrialized countries. Most of these are AC induction motors, which have an average efficiency of just 44%. In order to improve efficiency, motor drive designers must understand how these and other types of motors operate under all load conditions, and intelligently compensate for variable conditions.

The MDK, intended to address this urgent need for improved energy usage, comprises one of a growing number of power boards connected to a universal controller board (UCB). The power boards feature various incarnations of ON Semiconductor inverter solutions for motor drive, from high voltage integrated modules to low voltage, discrete metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors. The UCB is a common control platform that interfaces with any power board to enable engineers to evaluate alternative motor control techniques for various types of motors and at a wide variety of power levels.

Intelligent motor control requires a flexible and programmable approach. The UCB is based on the Zynq-7000 system on a chip family from Xilinx Inc. This powerful device integrates two ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores alongside a field-programmable gate array fabric, providing the optimum combination of Source: ON SemiconductorSource: ON Semiconductorsoftware and hardware configuration. The board also features a 10 channel differential analog-to-digital converter, 12 pulse width modulation channels and a number of configurable digital peripherals. Communication ports include USB, JTAG and UART, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet PHY.

The MDK provides an 'out of the box' experience for evaluating variable speed motor inverter solutions. To enable this, the modular ecosystem includes the UCB and a number of power evaluation boards, developed using ON Semiconductor's best in class power components. Support for software development comes from Xilinx in the form of the Vivado Design Suite for High-Level Synthesis. The UCB can also be programmed using Python, through Xilinx's open source project, PYNQ.

The MDK currently supports two motor power boards: the SECO-1KW-MCTRL-GEVB, which is suitable for driving motors up to 1 kW, and the SECO-MDK-4KW-65SMP31-GEVB, for driving motors up to 4 kW. Both of these power boards use ON Semiconductor's intelligent power module technology and will be available in Q4, 2020. An additional motor power board will be released in Q1, 2021, based on ON Semiconductor's transfer molded power integrated module technology, designed to drive motors up to 10 kW. Expect further power boards and expanded design support to be added to the MDK ecosystem.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com


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