Drives & Controls January 2024

n NEWS January 2024 6 ABB HAS ANALYSED THE performance of more than 2,000 industrial electric motors in a variety of applications and found that their energy use could be cut by an average of 31% by upgrading them or using better controls. The potential energy savings equate to more than 2.1TWh across the 20-year lifetime of these systems – equivalent to the energy used each year by 1.25 million typical homes in the EU (which consume, on average, 1670kWh/year). ABB estimates that if all of these motors – which it audited from June to September last year under its Energy Appraisals scheme – were operating in Germany, the savings would be enough to o’set the emissions of a coal plant for two months saving 940,000 tonnes of CO2 and delivering a ROI (return on investment) of just three months. The energy appraisals scheme pinpoints the biggest energy savings in šeets of motor-driven systems. Operational data is gathered from motordriven systems in the ›eld, and is compared with the theoretical performance that could be achieved by adding a VSD (variable-speed drive), or resizing or modernising the equipment. The motors audited in the survey included lowand medium-voltage machines in applications such as pumps and fans in industries including food and beverage, chemical processing, and HVAC. The appraisals revealed consistent performance patterns for di’erent types of motordriven applications, with fans typically o’ering the largest energy savings. “Finding an average of 31% energy savings across 2,000 motors shows that electric motordriven systems are a great untapped opportunity to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon society,” says Erich Labuda, president of ABB’s Motion Services business. Survey of 2,000 motors shows their energy use could be cut by 31% pSchneider Electric has announced a technology collaboration with the Israeli AI chipmaker Hailo Technologies, to integrate Hailo’s processors into future automation systems. The Hailo-8 processors can perform up to 26 tera-operations per second, supporting advanced machine-learning applications, as well as precision real-time data analysis at the edge. Objects in pick-and-place applications could be detected six times faster than using CPUs, while classi cation processes for quality control could run 20 times faster. pMitsubishi Electric has formed a joint venture with Visual Components, a Finnish specialist in 3D manufacturing simulation, to develop and sell 3D simulators for manufacturing applications. The JV, called ME Industrial Simulation Software Corporation, which will have its headquarters in Japan and a development site in Finland. p A survey by has revealed that US automation professionals with less than two years of experience now earn an average of $123,402 (£97,424). This has shot up from $67,500 (£53,290) in 2020. Those with 3-5 years of experience earned $124,669 (£98,424) in 2023, compared to $99,500 (£78,553) in 2020. The survey also reveals that 14.8% of the 1,243 respondents won pay rises of 11% or more in 2023, while 14% got no pay rise at all. p The Japanese robotic automation specialist Mujin has opened its rst European o™ce, in the Netherlands. It says this represents a pivotal step in its global expansion, driven by an $85m Series C funding round. Mujin’s robotic systems including random palletising, depalletising and bin-picking technologies. The European operation will be led by CEO Lukasz Drewnowski, who previously worked for ABB Robotics in Poland, China and the UK. pRS has chosen Siemens Digital Industries Software to supply design automation software for its new, cloud-native, DesignSpark Circuit Simulator tool. RS will use Siemens PartQuest cloud-based circuit simulation tool – which supports analogue, digital, and mixed-signal designs – to design, model, simulate and analyse electronic and mechatronic systems for the 1.3mmember DesignSpark community. NEWS BRIEFS THE BRITISH ELECTRIC motor developer Advanced Electric Machines (AEM) has secured £23m of new investment which it will use to scale up production, establish a global sales operation, and boost its R&D capabilities. Washington-based AEM’s motors avoid the need for rare-earth metals, thus cutting costs and the reliance on supplies of the metals from China. The motors are also designed to be recyclable with low environmental footprints. AEM claims that its motors are more e™cient than permanent magnet machines. Instead of PMs or induction designs, it uses steel rotors which, it says, are more sustainable to produce and easier to recycle, as well as being more power-dense. AEM was founded in 2017 as a spin-out from Newcastle University, led by CEO, Dr James Widmer, and CTO, Dr Andy Steven. The company’s vision is to design and build the world’s most sustainable motors for the automotive and transport sectors. Although AEM is developing its motors primarily for the automotive sector, they could also have applications in industry and the railway sector. The company’s HDSRM motor, designed for commercial vehicles, is already being used in vehicles produced in the UK, Europe, North America and the Asia-Paci c region. AEM’s technologies are covered by 46 international patents that protect its motor designs and manufacturing processes. For example, a patented high-speed rotor design delivers high torque densities and e™ciencies, and can reach speeds of 30,000 rpm. A compressed coil technology increases power densities by up to 30% by replacing copper windings with recyclable aluminium, while a single-speed, two-stage, high-reduction transmission system delivers a wide speed range, low masses, high e™ciencies and low noise levels. By removing copper, the motors will be recyclable. Historically, engineers attempting to develop alternatives to rare-earth PM motors have struggled to match their performance. AEM claims its technology overcomes these challenges. The new Series A funding will allow AEM to: n scale up production, creating 40 new skilled jobs over the next two years; nestablish a global sales and service operation; naccelerate the development of its SSRD highspeed motor; and nbolster its R&D capabilities to put copper-free motors into production, moving it closer to its goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable motor manufacturer. Substantial energy and monetary savings are possible by adopting high-e™ciency technologies such as UK developer of rare-earth-free motors wins £23m of funding