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The motor control industry is a very fundamental industry.

In fact, almost all popular industry technologies - such as AI, AGV, autonomous vehicle, drone, robot, new energy vehicle, blockchain - have a lot to do with motor control.

It can be said that motors are everywhere. According to statistics, 28% of the power consumption comes from motors.

Motors are used in various fields such as industrial, home appliances, vehicles, security, medical, communications, etc., but the requirements are ever-changing, so the requirements for motor control are also different.

In industrial applications, the automation system consists of servo drivers, PLCs, and DCSs, etc., to achieve a higher degree of automation, and improve the reliability of the products and production efficiency. Therefore, industrial applications require the motor control system to provide higher performance and reliability, precise positioning and speed control.

In home appliances, DC brushless motors are used to achieve power saving. The requirements for motor control systems are higher efficiency and more cost-effective.

There are many motors in vehicles (especially new energy vehicles), such as in engines, air conditioners, pumps, etc. The motors can help the vehicle to reduce emissions. The automotive industry requires the motor control system to provide higher reliability and wider temperature range.

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At the end of June, “Future Motor Control Seminar” was held in Hangzhou. Engineers from various industries meet with industry-renowned semiconductor suppliers, talking about the new motor control trends and technologies:

Which motor control systems are on the highway?

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The above figure shows the future trends of the motor control industry, with the horizontal axis representing the industry growth rate in 2017 and the vertical axis representing the CAGR for the next three years.

“From the figure, we can see that industrial robot, lithium battery equipment, intelligent logistics, CNC machine tool and some other industries will maintain rapid growth, which provide huge opportunities for motor control,” said Martin Yu, senior business development manager of Motor Control, Future Electronics.

“These industries have also put forward higher requirements for motor control. The robot industry, for example, both industrial and cooperative robots require the servo system to provide bigger torque and faster response, and also smaller size. While machine tools and manufacturing equipments require servos for more accurate position control and higher power density.”

In various industries, Future Electronics has its own focus.

“We focus on robots, industrial servos and inverters, automated guided vehicles, BLDC fans and pumps, as well as motors in new energy vehicles,” Martin Yu added.

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  • Robots include industrial robots, cooperative robots, service robots, educational robots, etc.;
  • Industrial servos and inventers include servo drivers, PLCs, inverters, elevators and other specific servos;
  • Automated Guided Vehicles include AGVs for factory automation, storage AGVs and sorting robots for intelligent logistics, and unmanned forklifts;
  • BLDC fans and pumps are in the period of transition from conventional motors to DC brushless motors, and Future Electronics provides a complete solution;
  • There are many motors in new energy vehicles. Future Electronics can provide solutions for high-power engines, highly integrated oil pumps and on-board compressors.

Robot – redefining the future

Robots, combined with artificial intelligence, may redefine the future in the coming days.

At present, industrial robots, cooperative robots, SCARA robots, parallel robots, and service robots are the widely used types. Almost all types of robots maintain rapid growth and find more and more application scenarios.

In 2017, the Chinese robots market continued to be hot, reaching a market of 120 billion and an increase rate of 25.4%, of which 134,000 are industrial robots and 40% are domestic robots.

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Industry Trends:
Cost-effectiveness will become the key point of competition, while digitalization, networking and intelligence will become the important development directions.

The automotive industry will continue to be the main application fields, and collaborative robots are expected to help domestic robots to surge.Customers currently supported by Future Electronics are mainly in the fields of industrial robots, collaborative robots, service robots and AGV cars.

Intelligent Logistics – AGV
In 2017, China's AGVs maintained rapid growth, reaching a market of 2.85 billion and an increase rate of 50% over 2016.
In 2018, the growth rate is expected to reach 40%, which will exceed 4 billion. The main growths come from intelligent logistics, factory automation, and unmanned forklifts, etc.

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Future Electronics can provide a complete solution for AGV customers. VCU can provide MCUs, interface devices, TOF sensors, gyroscopes, connectors, wireless communication modules, etc. The motor drivers can provide complete FOC software, MOSFETs, gate drivers, encoders, current sensors, etc.

Industry 4.0 – Servo/Frequency Conversion

The mid- to high-end market of domestic servos are still occupied by foreign brands, and domestic servos are concentrated in the low-end market. However, the entire servo driver market has grown rapidly with the growth of the industrial automation, robots, and new energy vehicle markets.

In 2017, the domestic servo market reached 16 billion, which is 17% higher than last year. In 2018, it is expected to grow by 15%, which will exceed 18 billion. The high-speed growth fields include: 3C electronics manufacturing, new energy vehicles, robots, testing machinery, packaging industry, etc.

With the improvement of technologies, domestic servos will break through the technological monopoly of foreign brands in more fields, and will have more space for growth.

Future Electronics can provide higher performance chip solutions and more cost-effective devices to help the rise of domestic servos.

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Future Electronics’ expertise teams consist of professional BDMs, AE engineers with rich experience in motor development and motor control FAEs who can provide on-site technical support.

Future Electronics provides customized solutions, as well as complete product solutions, such as customized on-board air-conditioner fan drivers, brushless motor treadmill drivers, and general purpose driver board for solution evaluation, etc.

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Customized on-board air-conditioner fan drivers by Future Electronics

Which new technologies can solve the problem?

On the day of this seminar, the well-known semiconductor suppliers introduced their latest motor control technologies:

  • Microchip introduced the design tips and key points of a permanent magnet synchronous motor FOC controller.
  • DIODES introduced its updated motor control solutions, including gate drivers, MOSFETs, IGBTs, etc.
  • Infineon shared a simple, low-cost, and high-efficiency DC and brushless DC motor driving method, the applications of Infineon IGBTs in motor driving, and its sensors for driving applications.
  • Maxim shared its applications in motor driving.
  • NXP introduced its MCU products and solutions for motor control and power conversion.
  • ON Semiconductor introduced its high performance IGBTs and intelligent power modules for motor control.
  • STMicroelectronics introduced its three-phase (PMSM) motor control ecosystem, its driver innovation in industrial and power conversion control, as well as its STM32 motor control platform and development kit SDK5.0.

 

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After the meeting, the experienced engineers gathered in the demonstration area and communicated with each other.

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 Demo: NXP collaborative robot demo

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  Demo: the complete solution provided by Future Electronics SDC