It is clear that the emergence of Industry 4.0 will have a major impact on the way in which industrial processes are carried out. Thanks to the implementation of advanced connectivity, it will be possible to make manufacturing facilities more efficient, as items of machinery will be able communicate with one another with greater effectiveness and thus be better coordinated. The consequences of all this will be:
The motors currently incorporated into manufacturing machinery, such as textile spinning machines, printing presses, conveyors, injection moulding apparatus and precision assembly stations, will generally consume over half of the total energy being supplied to the system. If the full scope of what Industry 4.0 has the potential to accomplish is to actually be realised, then it will call for the deployment of more sophisticated motor drive technology.
One of the most important elements in improving motor system efficiency is the utilisation of motor control that is based on sinusoidal signals rather than less effective trapezoidal ones. This will result in motor operation that supports higher speeds and superior degrees of smoothness, as well providing greater precision and, most critically, boosting energy efficiency. Trapezoidal control is very simple to implement, however generating sinusoidal waveforms is a more complicated process.
Toshiba’s Vector Engine technology has already seen widespread uptake. It presents engineers with a new motor control methodology, allowing complex vector control equations to be embedded into a dedicated hardware solution that has customisable firmware for maximum application flexibility. This is complemented by pulse width modulated waveform generation capabilities and various other forms of next generation functionality. The latest version of this technology delivers 70% faster execution times than are offered alternative motor control solutions, leading to support for far higher rotor speeds. In addition, this approach means that less of the system’s processing resource needs to be allocated to motor control activities, and can consequently be focussed on other areas.
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