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Research Analysis: A New Solution for Detecting Electric DC Motor Rotation


It is estimated that the average car has around 80 electric motors - many due to motorists' insatiable demand for greater comfort and convenience. In a top-range Mercedes-Benz, for example, there are around 12 motors in each seat incorporating a mass of thin wires and fragile connectors to send the position or angular rotation information from the sensors back to the motor controllers. But UK-based technology company IDEAdvance reckons that it has a better solution.


The company has developed a sensor-less rotation detection, control and monitoring method for brushed DC electric motors. IDEAdvance claims that its so-called DCM-MotionTechnology can eliminate the need for Hall sensors, sensor wires and connectors that are used around brushed DC electric motors.


To help fund this development, IDEAdvance was awarded a grant by the UK government to help it prove the feasibility of DCM-MotionTechnology. This funding has further helped the company open an R&D and customer support centre in Bracknell. Built around an electrically powered seat motor driving a linear actuator, IDEAdvance's demo kit emulates a power seat control unit that detects the motor commutations as the motor rotates and uses these signals to control, store and recall seat positions.


"Our patented, sensor-less DCM-MotionTechnology eliminates the need for sensors, sensor wires and connectors traditionally used in all the comfort systems you find in modern cars, and can potentially improve the motor lifetime," Jan Nottelmann, CEO told just-auto. "Therefore it is an attractive solution for manufacturers. Our sensor-less detection method has been under development for a number of years, but until now we could only talk about the technology and how it worked, but we could not demonstrate the performance in a real application, and that was a disadvantage. Therefore we have just finished the development of a sensor-less power seat demonstrator. We have already demonstrated this to a small number of customers and their response has been extremely positive."


IDEAdvance also claims that its technology can bring substantial cost and weight savings for the OEM. "The automotive industry often looks to obtain savings of only a few pence in each of their systems," added Nottelmann. "Replacing a sensor-system like a Hall sensor, magnet, wires and connectors in a single electric motor seat system with our technology may save in the order 20-25 pence. However, if you think of a more complex luxury car seat system with up to 12 motors in a single seat the savings become important. If you then include all the other seats and comfort systems driven by electric motors - often 100 motors or more are used in a modern luxury vehicle - our solution becomes very attractive in terms of saved cost and saved weight. We believe this is the main reason the automotive industry is showing an increased interest in sensor-less solutions for their comfort systems."


Together with its technology partner, Control Developments (UK) Ltd, the pair are in the process of demonstrating the new technology and develop solutions to automotive customers. Their plan for 2014 is to secure three or four real customers who use this technology for commercial gain, i.e. who now need sensors that can be eliminated. "We then wish to develop lower cost implementations of the detection hardware fully integrated with the motor controller," said Brian Thompson, MD of Control Developments. "To this end we are focussing on municipal vehicles with tail-gate lifts, disability vehicles with tail-gate and ramp access, and step controls for public vehicles."


                                                                                  From JUST-AUTO.COM

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