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2012 Advisory Panel Electromechanical System Solutions. Joe Beno Center for Electromechanics The University of Texas at Austin 12/4/2012. Introduction. Electromechanical System Solutions

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2012 advisory panel electromechanical system solutions

2012 Advisory PanelElectromechanical System Solutions

Joe Beno

Center for Electromechanics

The University of Texas at Austin


  • Electromechanical System Solutions
    • Synergistic combination of electromechanical hardware (actuators, motors, generators); controls and related software; sensors and related software; communication and related software; transducers; power electronics; processors; materials science; and all interconnections.
  • Key applications
    • Almost any electrically powered device or system that moves itself or something else under its own power.
    • This talk focuses on motion control systems, actuation systems, robotic systems and anything else not covered by other talks.
key challenges get ahead of the wave or at least ride it
Key Challenges – Get Ahead of the Wave (or at least ride it!)
  • Exploit advances in all related fields, especially computation, analysis and power electronics.
  • Improve Integration and Systems Engineering.
  • Identify commercially viable products and commercially viable new science.

Mechatronics: New engineering discipline that emerged in ~2000.

CEM vision also includes material science and systems engineering.

At Universities the disciplines of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences are still largely represented by separate departments – after 40 years CEM still needed to focus on cross discipline applications.

Source: Lyshevski textbook

on Mechatronics

significant recent programs
Significant Recent Programs

Hobby Eberly Telescope

  • 20 ton robot to move optical package along trajectories to within ~5 microns in real time.
significant recent programs2
Significant Recent Programs
  • Giant Magellan Telescope Azimuth and Elevation Drives Design Study
  • New class of super large telescopes
  • Operational in ~2020 in Atacama Desert, Chile
  • 7 Large mirrors, viewing area 80 ft in diameter
  • Long circular track (~60 m); permanent magnet direct drive solution
  • 4 forcer heads per track, ~6,700 lbf total
  • Integrate with GMT control system
  • Less than 2% force ripple (desire close to 0.1%)
  • Must stay with 2o C of ambient
  • Minimize size and weight
significant recent programs3
Significant Recent Programs

GMT Azimuth Drive Design Tour Video

significant recent programs4
Significant Recent Programs
  • Oshkosh 90,000 lb Airport Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Active Suspension System
  • 2.5x to 4x increase in vehicle per wheel mass compared to previous vehicles
  • Required hybrid power train development: 10 Farad Cap storage, 200 kW peak power, 48 kW avg power
  • 6 actuators, each with 17,300 lbf peak and 6,600 lbf continuous
  • 3.5x force and 2x speed (7 m/s wheel vertical speed) of previous suspension actuators
  • Result: 3x increase in cross country speed
  • Result: Greatly improved handling and safety – eliminates roll on high g turns
significant recent programs5
Significant Recent Programs

ARFF Highlights Video

significant recent programs6
Significant Recent Programs
  • NASA Vibration Isolation System
  • Isolates electronics racks on heavy lift vehicle launch platforms (e.g., space shuttle mobile launch platform).
  • Disturbance rejection up to 2 kHz (high bandwidth actuators)
  • 2.75 ton payload
  • Vertical velocity primarily less than 1 m/s
  • Actuator stroke ~6 inches
  • Very low friction system
  • Developed new “voice-coil” actuator
significant recent programs7
Significant Recent Programs

NASA Vibration Isolation Video

recent and ongoing smaller scale em system examples
Recent and Ongoing Smaller Scale EM System Examples
  • High Temperature Superconducting Magnetic Bearings for Ultra Low Loss Flywheel Systems
  • Aggregate Screen Actuator (sifts and separates gravel by size; 100 Hz, 3250 lbf, homopolar actuator with PM bias)
  • Canfield Joint as Gimbal Replacement System for Satellite Reaction Wheels (~2 kg)
  • Small programs with potential to expand CEM expertise and applications
key cem strength balanced system design

System Design

Power Electronics

Mechanical Advantage

Power Source


Geared Actuator Weight vs. Gear Ratio

Key CEM Strength – Balanced System Design

High Peak-to-AverageDual Motor Controller

~3 MW Flywheel Battery & Power Electronics

Active Suspension Alternator

key cem strength multidisciplinary analysis
Key CEM Strength – Multidisciplinary Analysis

EM FEA of Coil Circuit of Screen Actuator




X axis,140 turns @ 12 Amps per coil

M19 Laminations 0.063 in, 1.5 deep

Air gap 0.100 in @ 14 in diameter

O.D. 20 in, I.D. 8 in

0 Hz

Neumman Boundary Conditions

key cem strength effective use of energy storage
Key CEM Strength – Effective Use of Energy Storage


Mechanical Springs

PM (Potential Energy)

Caps; Ultra-Caps


how to develop 3m to 5m new annual funding for em systems
How To Develop $3M to $5M New Annual Funding for EM Systems

Identify and Develop New Opportunities

  • CEM traditional customer’s budgets are declining. Their response: keep current staff and reduce/eliminate external contracts (Army R&D centers/labs, NASA, ONR)
    • One exception: Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs: established by Congress and must be externally contracted to small businesses
  • Some military system procurements surviving
    • More focused on application of existing technology, more production oriented, less research
    • More focused on OEM’s
  • DOE: Doing energy research (a CEM strength), but has major cost share requirements
  • Impact:
    • Must develop new customers (DARPA, industry)
    • Must team with industry more for military procurements
    • Must team with industry more for SBIR/STTR’s (small contracts with opportunities for expanding CEM areas of expertise)
    • Must team with industry more for DOE opportunities
    • CEM program mangers must expand outreach to industry and new customers (travel)
how to develop 3m to 5m new annual funding for em systems1
How To Develop $3M to $5M New Annual Funding for EM Systems

Identify and Exploit New/Emerging Technology

  • CEM uniqueness is applied R&D through advanced prototype hardware
    • Usually (but not always) exploits basic R&D or new products from other organizations
      • Example: Toray T1000G fiber critical to increased flywheel energy density that was significant motivation for government sponsors to fund CEM flywheel research in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.
      • Example: Emerging permanent magnet materials and improved processing/controls critical to development active magnetic bearings that was significant motivation for government sponsors to fund CEM flywheel research in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.
      • Example: Emerging COTS motor generators, advanced analysis capabilities, new processing/controls technology critical to CEM active suspension program from 1993 to ~2005.
      • Has been a major source of CEM innovation in the past.
  • Impact:
    • CEM must expand outreach efforts to identify new/emerging technology
    • CEM must expand awareness of relevant R&D developments and their potential before industry and other R&D organizations
how to develop 3m to 5m new annual funding for em systems2
How To Develop $3M to $5M New Annual Funding for EM Systems

Develop New Areas of CEM Expertise

  • Active funded areas of R&D grow old and funding wanes.
    • Newness and excitement wears off.
    • Upcoming government and industry leaders want to make their own mark.
    • Sometimes, after sufficiently long lulls, R&D area re-emerges
      • New technology expands possibilities
      • Other options don’t pay off and they wear out their welcome
  • Impact:
    • CEM must continually develop new areas of expertise
    • Past examples: flywheel energy storage systems, active suspension systems, oil and gas support areas (subject of later talk); telescope movement control systems
    • How to establish a new area of expertise?
      • Get smart through equivalent of IR&D
      • Team with other experts
      • Establish a presence through papers, conferences, meetings, outreach.
how to develop 3m to 5m new annual funding for em systems3
How To Develop $3M to $5M New Annual Funding for EM Systems

Required Resources

  • One 3 day trip per month (~$1,800 average travel cost per trip)
    • Cultivating new sponsors, joint planning/budgeting/proposing activities with industry members, visiting government agencies, attending meetings, and attending 2-3 conferences per year
    • 0.5 days planning and arranging trip, preparing briefings, etc.
    • 1 day follow-up from trip
  • 2 hrs per day when not on travel for white papers, responding to budget requests, maintaining contact and presence with sponsors and team members, searching for funding opportunities, etc.
  • 3 major proposal efforts per year (4 PI man-days and 4 engineering support man-days each)
  • Total: ~$9.5K / month
  • My current B&P budget: $1,670/month (not enough to cover one average trip if I use vacation time to cover my labor cost).
  • If successful, UT will earn $1M to $1.6M in overhead and CEM will receive $290K to $500K direct funding for admin, lab services, software, etc. per year after the building year.
near term focus
Near Term Focus
  • Re-energize flywheel energy storage programs
    • After having plateaued for ~20 years, Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) offer 30-50% improvement in energy density in near term to reinforce existing carbon fibers and 1 to 2 orders of magnitude in long term to replace existing carbon fibers
      • Team with organizations with appropriate CNT expertise
      • Exploit SBIRs/STTRs to get started and build technology and “presence”
      • Will significantly outperform other forms of energy storage (e.g., Li batteries)
      • Cost will be an issue
    • After having plateaued for ~20 years, magnetic bearings are poised to make major step in efficiency through use of High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) Trapped Field Magnets (TFM)
      • Also exploits advancements in COTS cryo-cooling technology
      • Builds on CEM recognized expertise in HTS generators
      • Builds on past CEM STTR for HTSMBs for flywheels
      • Exploit SBIRs/STTRs to get started and build technology and “presence”
    • Government is showing renewed interest in flywheel energy storage systems (Li batteries are showing initial signs of wearing out their welcome)
    • NASA has major internal flywheel development program, needs CEM composite and HTSMB expertise, and want to team with CEM to go after DARPA money
      • Favorable circumstance: new DARPA program manager, friend of NASA, and flywheel advocate
    • Flywheel Technology Status and Roadmap paper may help focus Government funding
near term focus1
Near Term Focus
  • Exploit leading edge telescope motion control system expertise
    • Follow-on to Giant Magellan Telescope main axis drives system study
    • Several consortiums have new super large telescopes in various stages of planning and design
    • Contracts often spread among consortium members and consortium countries
  • Continue to pursue industry support for active suspension projects
    • Builds on existing CEM customers and CEM active suspension reputation
    • New Government interest in Semi-active suspension systems (subset of CEM technology
  • Expand to new areas
    • Robotics
      • U.S. lags in industrial robots but leads in compliant robots that physically interact with humans
      • Have will continue to team with Professor Deshpande, U.T. Department of Mechanical Engineering