The winners of the 2020 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) were announced yesterday in a digital ceremony, with products across 12 categories. Critical to LEAP’s success is the involvement of the engineering community. No one at WTWH Media selected the winners. Instead, our editorial team did the arduous work of assembling a top-notch independent judging panel, comprised of a cross-section of OEM design engineers and academics — 14 professionals in total. This judging team was solely responsible for the final results.
In the Mechanical category, the winning submissions for this year are:
R+W Coupling Technology
The judges commented: “Adding to the Intelligent Coupling with an inductive power supply makes this a fantastic advancement for the future. For lab use and product development, this simple method of collecting real-time data and recording events will be very valuable.” Congratulations!
R+W Coupling Technology’s entry, Shaft Coupling Provides Wireless Torque, Speed, Vibration, and Force Data took the top prize for its Intelligent Coupling. The Intelligent Coupling allows users to see relevant data from their machine at all times. Measurement data is recorded directly from the drive train and wirelessly transmitted in near real-time to a user-friendly application. This coupling can shorten throughput times, reduce production costs, and increase product quality.
In the drive technology field, it can be extremely challenging to record accurate torque, speed, vibration, and axial force data. The problem is that a rotating drive train makes it difficult to record measurement data, because either direct networking via a cable is not possible or the required installation space is lacking. This is exactly where the R+W Intelligent Coupling comes in: The integrated sensor technology works wirelessly. It collects measurement data directly in the drive train and transmits it to smartphones, tablets, computers, or directly to the customer’s programmable logic controller (PLC) in near real-time.
The Intelligent Coupling is a smart alternative to the torque sensor. The operator always has all the dynamic parameters and relevant data for uninterrupted system availability at a glance on their mobile phone or tablet. The standard disc-pack coupling has been upgraded to include integrated sensors, which promises high-accuracy data measurement technology at a reasonable price.
Coupling with integrated measuring electronics
Just like the standard mechanical coupling series, the Intelligent Coupling can be easily and flexibly integrated into the drive train. One further advantage is the small amount of space that the coupling requires, since no elaborate auxiliary assembly is required for installation. The 2000 mAh integrated battery allows installation in very cramped spaces or mobile application areas. Alternatively, if constant data measurement is necessary, it will soon be possible to install the Intelligent Coupling with an inductive power supply. This stationary version uses a small box connected to the power supply system, which is mounted contactless several millimeters below the coupling. Near field induction will provide the required power through a set of integrated coils.
The intelligent sensors allow data measurement without having to install an external amplifier. The sensors measure torque, speed, vibration, as well as tensile and compressive forces at a sampling rate of 500 Hz. This data is processed directly in the internal electronics while being simultaneously transmitted to a wirelessly connected system.
Application-specific data transmission
Measurement data can be sent to a connected device via a low-energy Bluetooth connection in near real-time. The operator can choose between a high transmission rate or a transmission with particularly low power consumption. The Intelligent Coupling carries out many calculations in the internal measuring electronics before transmission. This ensures a high sampling frequency even at a low transmission rate, as sending only the calculated average values as well as min and max values saves energy and bandwidth without reducing the measuring accuracy. The high-performance streaming mode has a transmission rate of 500 Hz with a battery life of two to three days. In broadcasting mode, data is transmitted at 20 Hz, which increases the battery life to seven days of continuous use.
The different connection methods offer options to select the best possible representation of the sensor data depending on the application. Moreover, it is also possible to define ‘events’: these are recorded to the coupling’s memory when a defined threshold value is reached. This could be a manually selected torque value, for example. If one of these events is configured, the torque values before and after the event are also subsequently recorded following the occurrence. This is possible because the values are continuously written to memory, which means that the values before the actual event are also logged.
MPW 52 Integrated Wheel Drive
ElectroCraft’s MobilePower MPW52 wheel drive features a high torque-density brushless DC motor with integrated single-stage planetary gearbox and wheel assembly. The MPW52 integrates a 14-pole Brushless DC motor with a heavy-duty, single-stage planetary gearbox mounted inside the hub of an aluminum wheel with polyurethane tread. It’s been designed for mobile platform traction systems with optional encoder feedback to support positioning capability and an electromagnetic brake to hold position when power is removed.
The MPW52 combines optimum performance with high-efficiency, quiet operation, and long life. The MobilePower MPW series wheel drives feature an integrated design that provides increased performance and reliability at an affordable price compared to traditional motor/gearbox/wheel combinations. The MPW series wheel drives are customizable to meet specific application requirements.
• Smooth, efficient motion
• Durable and highly reliable integrated worm-gear design
• Powerful starting torque:
– Peak torque up to 12.4 Nm
– Continuous torque up to 6.1 Nm
• Configurable or completely customizable designs
– Motor, gearbox, wheel, brake, encoder, cabling
• Typical applications:
– Automated Guided Vehicles
– Autonomous Mobile Robots
Bison Gear & Engineering
VFsync Permanent Magnet AC Motors Fill the Gap Between Induction and Servo Motors
The VFsync PMAC motor line fills a gap in the fractional horsepower and integral horsepower market between a simple induction motor and a more complex servo motor. Many machine builders today are in need of energy-efficient motor solutions that draw less power but don’t necessarily require the level of feedback and sophistication found in a servo motor. VFsync PMAC motors provide engineers who need to synchronize movement across multiple axes with a solution at a price point that is much more affordable than a servo motor.
Engineers who design industrial machinery have a wide range of choices available for motor, gearbox, and drive combinations. The selection of motor and control type is determined based on machine requirements. For example, some applications work well with single-speed AC induction motors and no control. Other applications require variable speed motors and electronic drives. More sophisticated equipment requires full motion control with servo motors and controls.
Bison identified a market need for a motor that could be driven with a variable frequency drive that delivered precise velocity control. This new platform of motors, often called variable frequency synchronous motors or permanent magnet AC motors meet the market need while doing so at less cost than servo motors.
Many of today’s variable frequency drive manufacturers have the capability of driving the new class of synchronous motors. Input voltages range from single phase through three-phase; output voltages are typically 230/460V from the inverters. This is an advantage to customers as they need to meet customer power requirements while still meeting machine requirements.
VFD’s that are capable of driving VFsync motors deliver a sinusoidal output. The rotating magnetic field that is produced by this output is followed by the rotor that has magnets embedded within it. The ideal motor, to optimize efficiency, will itself have a sinusoidal output when driven as a generator.
One of the primary design challenges for the motor designer is to develop a motor that delivers this sinusoidal voltage output. The size and shape of magnets, orientation within the rotor, and design and dimensions of the rotor itself can all impact the shape of the sinusoidal voltage output. Finite Element Analysis was used to evaluate multiple designs, optimizing performance, and cost. Hundreds of FEA’s were performed in order to optimize performance. The final design included V-shaped magnet orientation and skewed rotor disks to minimize cogging forces.
For the list of winners in all categories click here.