Design

Motor development kit prioritises energy efficiency

24th November 2020
Alex Lynn

ON Semiconductor has introduced its advanced and flexible Motor Development Kit to accelerate the development of more efficient motor control solutions for applications ranging from less than 1kW to over 10kW.

Electric motors account for over half of all the power generated and consumed by industrialised countries. The majority of those motors are AC induction motors, which have an average efficiency of just 44%. In order to improve efficiency, motor drives designers must understand how these and other types of motors operate under all load conditions, and intelligently compensating for variable conditions. The Motor Development Kit addresses the urgent need for improved energy usage.

The Motor Development Kit (MDK) 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 MOSFETs.

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 SoC family from Xilinx. This powerful device integrates two ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores alongside an FPGA fabric, providing the optimum combination of software and hardware configuration. The board also features a 10-channel differential ADC, 12 PWM channels and a number of configurable digital peripherals. Communication ports include USB, JTAG and UART, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet PHY.

Efficient motor control represents a major focus of ON Semiconductor. The company is applying its extensive experience and large portfolio of discrete devices, Intelligent Power Modules (IPMs) and Transfer Moulded Power Integrated Modules (TMPIMs) to increase efficiency. The MDK brings together its expertise and technologies to help engineers quickly develop solutions that deliver greater energy efficiency, in any application that uses electric motors.

ON Semiconductor's 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.

“ON Semiconductor already offers a broad portfolio of power solutions optimised for variable motor control,” said Ali Husain, Sr. Manager, Corporate Strategy & Marketing at ON Semiconductor. “The Motor Development Kit brings these technologies together into a single ecosystem that can really help design teams accelerate the process of developing more efficient motor control solutions.”

“Optimising energy efficiency in motors has an enormous impact on the carbon footprint of factories and industrial equipment across the planet,” said Chetan Khona, Director, Industrial, Vision, Healthcare & Sciences at Xilinx. “Technology from ON Semiconductor together with high-performance motor control in Xilinx Zynq SoCs reduces operational cost drastically, offers the most adaptability for user customisation, and makes a positive contribution to the environment. The new Motor Development Kit from ON Semiconductor makes this accessible and facilitates migration from prototype to production.”

The MDK currently supports two motor power boards; the SECO-1KW-MCTRL-GEVB, which is suitable for driving motors up to 1kW, and the SECO-MDK-4KW-65SMP31-GEVB, for driving motors up to 4kW. Both of these power boards use ON Semiconductor's IPM technology and will be available in Q4, 2020.

An additional motor power board will be released in Q1, 2021, based on ON Semiconductor's TMPIM technology, designed to drive motors up to 10kW. Expect further power boards and expanded design support to be added to the MDK ecosystem.

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