Power2Power investigates the next generation of silicon-based power solutions for a sustainable reduction of carbon consumption.
The project is leaded by Infineon, the start date was June 2019, has a duration of 36 months, the consortium is formed by 43 partners of 8 countries, including Fagor Automation and is focused on mobility, industrial applications and energy grid. It has a cost of 74,3M€ and receives 17M€ from Europe.
Fagor Automation contributes its know-how in servo-drives design and manufacturing to the Power2Power project aimed at generating sustainable energy solutions based on silicon.
The market addressed today by Fagor Automation includes a very broad spectrum of drive powers. Even considering the most frequently found machines, in the low-medium range of inverter powers, and with 2-3 axes and spindle, the number of different models is high, what prevents production optimization by automating mounting, testing or even buying power components. One of the main objectives of this project is to develop a new electric drive family where each new model is manufactured by a common power part. This new part is the so called IPBB Inverter Building Block and must have the characteristic of being parallelizable. Building a servo drive system of higher power must be possible connecting several such IPBBs. This will allow Fagor Automation to offer a new family of inverters that share the same basic components.
Some advantages of this architecture are the unification and reduction of components needed to manufacture all the range of servo drive systems and an important reduction in the material cost, not only thanks to the reduced number of unified components, but also because the stock reduction, purchase management and warehouses. Another reason is the possibility of automated assembly in the manufacturing process of the different models.
The Machine Tools addressed in this project belong to the high precision, high speed segment and as such present continuous challenges related with those aspects.
Precision and positioning
The demonstrator developed by FagorAutomation has to reach or overcome these challenges. To that purpose, Fagor Automation has developed a drive with a large in-position control bandwidth in position, speed and current loops. This will allow high responsive systems and high speed spindles. A careful design must minimize non-linear effects tied to sign changes in the variables (torque, speed, position) what is very important for precision machining and very accurate positioning (below tenth of micron) as found in grinding machines. Highly stable movements are mandatory also when machining some high-end consumer goods like smartphone frames. This last application demands that the typical bright finish will be achieved from the machining operation, without additional finishing operations (polish operation as an example) that are typically needed.
As mentioned before, these inverters to be developed by Fagor Automation must control high speed spindles. The challenges in this case are reaching higher and more precise rotational speeds of the machining tool, what allow reaching more precision in machining of the pieces. Speeds equal or higher than 24.000 r.p.m are common.
All this makes it possible to obtain parts with a very high quality finish; mirror piece finish. The mirror finish have to be in the range of tenth of micron, since the visible light wavelengths are in this range.
Reliability, a key point
Nowadays in a world with an increasing demand of energy is very important the efficiency of all the elements that are consumers of it. For this it´s very important to take in account this factor in new developments. Fagor Automation is sensible to this challenge and the proposed development will take it in account. One of the main requisite of the new product is that the regenerative feature of the energy to grid when any motor of the machine is in a breaking process. This contributes to the decarbonisation of the atmosphere.
Machine Tools have usually a long and productive life and are expected to have a high MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). All products from Fagor Automation pass very stringent tests, usually more demanding than mandated by standards. From this point of view, reliability will be a key point in the intended development and must be considered from the design phase. It is intended to sense prototypes and validate design models to find any design flaw and come up with a reliable model of the inverter that can self-diagnose and eventually degrade functionality without stopping the production lines. To this purpose, operational data will be collected and sent to the CNC or higher level controllers to get the motor and drive condition and react before failing.