Title
Digital Motor Speed Controller
Threefold sales Increase Through the Adoption of Microcontrollers
Technologies used

Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Electrical Equipment
Abstract
Sprint Electric is an SME with 16 employees, 4 of whom are involved in electronics design, based in the South of England. Sprint manufactures a range of industrial motor speed controllers from a few watts up to 250 Kw. These products are sold throughout the world to industrial users and process machine manufacturers. The controllers are used in a wide variety of applications ranging from simple single shaft to multi-motor installations. All the existing products use analogue control methods. For units above 5 Kw the power components and control systems are 2 assemblies. The control system sends signals to the power assembly to adjust the amount of controlled power.

The aim of this Application Experiment was to design a microcontroller-based digital control assembly which could replace the existing analogue unit, bringing many advantages to the users of the products and hence improving the marketability of the product. The improvements provided by the use of a digital controller includes: control algorithms which are more accurate, with more parameters that can be controlled, menu driven user interfaces, improved diagnostics, serial communications and data logging.

The Application Experiment involved the application of digital control to Sprint's high power motor controllers. By starting on the higher rated products with their convenient split between control and power, the product functionality could be enhanced without major modifications to the thermal packaging. The ultimate objective was to gain knowledge on this experiment, and then by further integration, apply it to the lower powered (much smaller) products.

The time taken to complete the Application Experiment was 1 year and the working pre-production prototype was produced on schedule. The AE was of 12 months duration, at a cost 360 K, of which 60 K was the FUSE investment and 300K was industrialisation costs.. With the sales growth anticipated Sprint expect to recover the costs in 18 months. The expected return on the investment over 10 years of sales of the product is anticipated at 1600%.

The application experiment will be of interest to any small company working in the design and manufacture of power converters that may wish to exploit micro controllers to provide extra features and improve marketability of their product range.
Company
Sprint Electric Ltd,
Rudford Ind. Est.,
Ford Arundel,
W Sussex, BN18 OBE,
England

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Sprint Electric Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
University of Hertfordshire
Erdc, College Lane
AL10 9AB Hatfield
United Kingdom