New axial flux electric motor with integrated inverters from Bluways: fail-safe

bluewaysa Belgian developer of SiC-based inverters, high-power NMC batteries and electric motors, has presented at the iVT Expo fair in Colognein Germany, a new type of fail-safe redundant electric motor. In this permanent magnet axial flux electric motor each inductor has its own inverter, that is, it has built-in power electronics. The prototype shown in Cologne is capable of developing 15kwweighs 10 kilograms and operates at 650 volts.

Among the technologies that are taking center stage are the engines known as axial flow (AFT) in which the field winding creates a magnetic field parallel to the axis of rotation of the rotor. Unlike radial flux motors, which are the ones commonly used in the market, the AFT motor provides a more compact design, which translates into a lower total weight. They also offer greater power density and torque and a form factor Ideal for integration in different scenarios.

Bluways, the Belgian developer of high-power NMC batteries, SiC-based electric motors and inverters (Silicium carbide) has taken this technology a little further. Thanks to the use of power semiconductors based on silicon carbide it has been able to reduce the size of the inverter of electric vehicles, increasing power density, increasing their efficiency and complying with all existing safety regulations.

The novelty presented by the prototype of this electric motor that has been shown in Cologne is that each motor inductor has its own inverter, as Wim Vander Kuylen, Project Manager at Bluways, explains. “What that means is that you have complete redundancy: even if one of the inverters fails, the motor will still run.”

The investor is in charge of convert direct current from the battery into alternating current that powers electric motors. The frequency of the alternating current determines the speed at which the motor rotates. This device uses high-level power electronics, capable of providing the voltage and amperage required by the motor at all times. The more robust the inverter, the more efficient and reliable an electric vehicle will be.

With this architecture, the inverters and power electronics share the same refrigeration circuit. In addition, the use of SiC semiconductors allows high switching frequencies, losing only half of the energy in the form of heat. The chips are especially important for 800-volt systems, where they allow faster recharging and better performance.

This advantage translates into more precise motor control and higher efficiency. “The integrated nature of the design means that instead of having two different devices to mount, you only need one with three necessary DC+/- connections and the controller. As for redundancy, it would be nearly impossible, or at least impractical, to achieve using a separate motor and inverter system,” adds Vander Kuylen.

The development prototype shown at the iVT Expo in Cologne weighs 10 kg and operates at 650 V with a current consumption of 30 A.

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