ebm-papst Drive Systems – Benefiting High Tech Applications

Helen McHugh – Product Manager ebm-papst UK Ltd - 20th March 2018

Electric drive motors form an integral part of modern society as we enthusiastically embrace automation in all areas of our lives, whether it’s robotics, industrial automation, electric vehicles, medical equipment or household appliances. They all demand advanced motor and drives solutions to deliver the performance required, with many applications demanding higher performances in a smaller package. Today’s drive solutions must be both lightweight and powerful, and the ability to accurately control and monitor performance is becoming increasingly important.

ebm-papst are leading manufacturers of drive systems, which are used across a wide range of market sectors. By taking a modular approach, ebm-papst provide customers with the flexibility to optimise the solution to meet their specific requirements. Drive modules include compact high-power EC motors, gearheads, encoders, sensors, brakes and control electronics; ranging from simple commutation to autonomous controls with CANopen interface.

EC drives are being adopted in place of traditional AC servomotors with frequency converters, as their compact size and high-power density deliver significant efficiency benefits as well as improved performance. Their integrated electronics make it possible to tailor the drive solution to meet a specific application profile. Unlike conventional DC motors which must be designed to meet torque and speed ranges of each application, a single EC motor can be used across a wide range of settings.

With the inexorable growth in demand for robotics and automation, EC drive systems are becoming an essential part of many applications. Just a few of the applications already benefiting from the EC modular drive solutions are discussed below.

Key benefits of the EC drive systems include

  • Wide power range: 3w to 750w (up to 2,100w using the variodrive C mains powered motor)
  • Gearbox options: planetary, angled (Crown), and spur gears.
  • Control options: integrated electronics, sensors & bus systems, programmable.
  • Monitoring: Intelligent motors allow performance monitoring & predictive maintenance
  • Compact design: typically 50% smaller than equivalent AC motors
  • High efficiency: up to 90% efficient, providing significant energy savings
  • Smooth running
  • Low noise
  • Safety, EMC protection
  • Long life

Medical Engineering

In addition to the compact size and exceptional power to weight ratio, the EC drive systems have EMC protection and exceptional reliability, making them ideal solutions for critical medical applications.

Operating Tables

One application to benefit from using EC motors is modern operating tables. The high powered operating tables use drive systems to accurately adjust the patient position. A compact, low noise, powerful drive solution is required, and safety and reliability are paramount.

A typical drive system used is the ECI 63.40, with either planetary or angled gearhead, encoder and brake.

Peristaltic Pumps / Dialysis Equipment

Peristaltic pumps used in equipment such as dialysis machines, regulate the flow of blood or fluid. These pumps must be compact, smooth running, extremely low noise, and as with all medical applications, safety and reliability are essential.

Typical drive systems used in dialysis pumps are the compact VDC 54.14 with spur gear.

X-Ray equipment

X-ray equipment found in hospitals and dental surgeries use high performance ECI motors to adjust the position.

Important factors include accuracy and controllability without the need for cabling or external drivers. The ECI motors meet the high safety standards, and the built in K4 electronics enables maximum control.

Drive systems used include the ECI 63.40 K4 with gearbox, integrated controls and brake.

Intralogistics

Conveyor systems are used to transport packages and divert goods to the required location, whether in a warehouse, a production line or an airport luggage transfer. To give maximum control and performance, individually driven rollers are used, where the motor and gearbox are built into the roller. The driven rollers are spaced out along the conveyor to give optimum control, for example one powered roller may be used per pallet length.

The powered rollers use an ebm-papst EC motor with gearhead and K4 electronics. The rollers receive information from pressure sensors which tell them when pallets are present and where they are. The rollers are able to react to changing conditions with automatic breaking and acceleration.

An example of a powered conveyor is a flow rack system.

BITO PROflow active racking system, uses ebm-papst ECI 63.20 K4 to drive individual rollers. The powered rollers are used to nudge pallets forward or stop them as required.

Flow racks are designed with an incline so that pallet movement is driven by gravity, however problems arise if pallets fail to move or stop suddenly. This can increase the time to load and unload, and cause damage if pallets run into each other.

By using driven rollers, the pallets are pushed along. This eliminates unwanted stops and keeps pallets separated from each other to prevent damage.

It is also possible to reduce the angle of the rack, which means more pallets can be stored in the same space.

As this is a dynamic application, power and torque requirements will vary; therefore it is important that the individual solution is configurable to meet specific requirements.

The drive motor must fit inside the roller, therefore the solution must be extremely compact.

The solution is an ebm-papst ECI 63.20 K4, with a 2-stage planetary gearbox, K4 electronics and integrated brake; which fits securely inside the roller.

The180W EC internal rotor motor has on board electronics, enabling the system to run without a central control.

Access Automation

Access systems include turnstiles, security gates and barriers. These applications are now commonplace in airport security, subways and commercial buildings. Access systems can also be seen in automatic doors for lifts, building access and public transport.

An important feature of any access system is to operate reliably and smoothly, to prevent injury or damage to people or goods in transit. The drive solutions for this application must be compact, powerful and have accurate control.

ebm-papst drive solutions can be found in access gates in corporate buildings around the world; where precision, reliability, and low noise are of high importance.

A range of motor sizes are used together with either planetary or angled (EtaCrown®) gearheads.

Similarly, for elevator doors solutions must be compact, and reliable.

The ECI 63.20 with K4 electronics and planetary gearbox is used.

Product Information - Drive motors

1. ECI Range – Brushless DC, Internal Rotor

  • EC internal rotor motor, up to 90% efficient
  • Compact – 50% smaller than equivalent AC motor
  • Power Range 30w - 750W
  • Nominal Torque up to 1.8Nm
  • High power density
  • High overload capacity
  • Long service life
  • Low noise operation
  • Electronic commutation - infinity variable speed control
  • Gearhead options include planetary and angular (crown) gearheads.
  • Motor shaft extends through the drive, for encoders & brakes to be attached.

2. VD & VDC Range - Brushless DC, External Rotor Motor

  • EC external rotor motors
  • Power Range 5 – 125W
  • Nominal torque up to 0.3Nm
  • High efficiency
  • Very low noise
  • High power density, Compact design
  • High overload capacity
  • Smooth operation
  • Separate or integrated electronics.
  • Gearhead options include, spur gears, planetary or angular gears.

3. BCI Range - Brushed DC Internal Rotor Motor

  • Internal rotor permanent magnet DC motors,
  • Power Range 10-93W
  • Nominal Torque up to 0.27Nm
  • High power density, compact design
  • High efficiency
  • High overload capacity
  • High starting toque
  • Mechanical commutation
  • Motor shaft extends through the drive, for encoders & brakes to be attached.
  • Gearhead options include planetary, Crown, Spur & worm gears

Product Information - Gearheads

1. Performax / Optimax - Planetary Gearhead

  • Compact design
  • Reduction ratios up to 3,500:1
  • Up to 3 Stages
  • Output Power up to 750W
  • Maximum Torque 68Nm
  • Smooth running
  • Quiet operation
  • High overload capability

2. ETA Crown – Angled Gearhead

  • 90º Output – Left/Right/Dual/Hollow
  • Reduction ratio up to 289:1
  • Output Power up to 250W
  • Maximum Torque 40Nm
  • High power density
  • High Efficiency

3. Spur Gearhead

  • High power density
  • Reduction ratios up to 2,135:1
  • Output Power up to 250W
  • Maximum Torque 30Nm
  • High radial loads permitted
  • Compact, Slimline Design

Controls Solutions

The EC motors have built in electronics with different levels of communication and control to suit all needs. The electronics ranges from the K1 version which has onboard hall sensors and an external drive control, to the K4 version which has a programmable integrated drive control with speed, torque and position regulation. There is also the K5 electronics which has the built in programmable driver with additional CANopen connectivity.

Controls Solutions

The EC motors have built in electronics with different levels of communication and control to suit all needs. The electronics ranges from the K1 version which has onboard hall sensors and an external drive control, to the K4 version which has a programmable integrated drive control with speed, torque and position regulation. There is also the K5 electronics which has the built in programmable driver with additional CANopen connectivity.

  • Speed, torque and positioning control for BLDC motors
  • Choice of operating modes and parameters using RS485
  • Extensive interface with numerous inputs and outputs
  • Activation of the power amplifier via digital input
  • Integrated braking chopper function
  • Set rotation speed control range
  • High efficiency and power density in compact construction

This compact drive solution provides the flexibility needed to adapt to meet the most complex requirements, as can be found in applications such as industrial automation, conveyors and sorting systems. The optional torque limitation in the control system is particularly advantageous for medical and laboratory pumps, lifting and positioning units, and winding drives found in the textile industry.

For enquiries and further information about this article, please contact Hannah.Morphew@uk.ebmpapst.com