SBIR Phase II: Low-Cost Ultra-Efficient 50-gm, 300-W Servoelectronics Module with Integral Sensors

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0823008
Agency Tracking Number: 0712348
Amount: $516,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
DUNS: 620793612
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Townsend
 (617) 252-9000
Business Contact
 William Townsend
Title: DEng
Phone: (617) 252-9000
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase-II research project aims to cut the manufacturing cost of an innovative power-efficient ultra-miniature, brushless-servo-electronics module from $1,000 to $100. The module integrates all rotor-position sensing, vector-based commutation, controls, and power supplies needed to drive high-performance brushless servomotors rated up to 300 W (Root Mean Square) and 2 KW (peak) into a single 50-gram module not much bigger than a bottle cap. The cost reduction relies on a set of innovations led by replacement of laser optics used for rotor-position sensing with an array of magnetic field sensors measuring a calibrated target magnet. Phase I demonstrated that well-placed shielding enables high precision and excellent commutation performance even in the proximity of stray fields produced by high switched currents and spinning rotor magnets located in the motor body only millimeters from the sensor array. This servo-electronics module fits the definition of disruptive technology for entrenched players, such as Danaher/Kollmorgen, Siemens, Fanuc, and Yaskawa, while it will enable scores of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to improve the performance, compactness, power efficiency, and reliability of their machines at competitive prices. As machines become more intelligent through embedded processing and sensor fusion it will improve not only industrial productivity, but quality of life as society ages. While embedded processors and MEMS-based sensors have become tiny, highly effective, and affordable, similar improvements in servomotors have evolved more slowly. At fractional-horsepower levels the power electronics contribute significantly to total motor-system bulk and complexity. Providing smaller and more efficient servo-electronics will enable OEMs to increase the competitiveness of their products. Robots will become more agile with additional degrees of freedom and less mass to accelerate.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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