Engineering services to design critical motion control, motor drives, choppers and integrated power control systems for transportation, test, manufacturing, oil & gas, aerospace, military and other applications.
In manufacturing lines and distribution centers globally, automation is increasing productivity and reducing the monotony of day-to-day tasks. Robots and motorized systems to push, pull, pick, pack and place are driven by precision power controllers.
PCI can support this market with servo drives featuring:
- Dense power capabilities using wide-band gap electronics
- EtherCAT, CAN and other common platforms for communication and configurability
- High rotation speeds up to 150,000 RPM for highly dynamic applications
- Customized packaging or unusual configurations
In the late 1980s, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approached Performance Controls to develop radar pedestal controls for precision 2-axis (elevation and azimuth) radar towers. Radar servo amplifiers provide precision position control for a variety of applications such as air traffic control and weather observation. As a result, PCI developed power supplies for Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) and Air Route Surveillance Radar (ASRS-4), which are still in use today. Performance Controls’ rugged, proven amplifiers handle extended temperature ranges and have built-in health monitoring capabilities that enable safe flying and long range surveillance across North America. Because of the amplifiers’ demonstrated reliability and PCI’s responsive support services, PCI has been awarded follow-on contracts for additional servo drives.
Sample Aviation Products Include:
Starting with our one of our core platforms, Performance Controls can customize a power motor drive to meet your needs by making modifications to bus voltage, the control and communications interface or packaging. Typical volumes are 50 to 250 pieces per year.
For truly unique applications with higher volumes of 100 to 1000 pieces or more per year, PCI can design a new power control system to your specifications of power, packaging and performance. Performance Controls’ design team includes engineers for power and control electronics, mechanical design and software development as well as design-for-manufacturing specialists to ensure repeatability and cost control as production scales.
Flywheels & Magnetic Bearings
Flywheels are being used to stabilize the grid, rapidly charge electric vehicles and to store and return energy to transportation systems. These challenging applications require high voltage, high commutation speeds and high efficiency. Performance Controls scalable technology can drive these flywheels at over 50,000 rpm, at 1500 V and higher, for almost any power rating. Efficiency and durability are high because our amplifiers power the magnetic bearings that the flywheels float on. Turbomachinery, dynamometers and high-speed centrifuges all benefit from this technology.
Early in its history, Performance Controls provided servo drives for turret positioning on US military combat vehicles. Today, military vehicles are moving away from hydraulics and towards electrified control of actuators for positioning of accessories and weapons. In fact, the US Army plans to introduce electrified powertrains into military vehicles by the mid-2020s.
Performance Controls has experience to support this market with unique capabilities:
- High power – power supplies designed with bus voltage up to 800 V and current to 2100 A rms
- Power density – using wide band gap components for maximum performance per weight
- Rugged design – packaging for high vibration, shock, high performance temperatures (with air or liquid cooling) and dusty environmental conditions
- High commutation – speeds up to 150,000 RPM
- High-reliability – designs with high Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) ratings
Oil & Gas
Electrification of controls currently performed by aging hydraulic systems is a growing trend in oil discovery and harvesting.
Performance Controls offers unique packaging for controllers and power supplies to enable electrification of multiple oil patch applications:
- Miniaturization, ruggedization and 175⁰C heat survivability for downhole drill controls with measurement while drilling (MWD) or logging while drilling (LWD) features
- Ruggedization and high voltage requirements for Blow Out Preventer (BOP) actuator controls to 10,000 feet below sea level
- ATEX certification for fuel valve metering and other explosive environments
- Ruggedization, clean power and form factor customization for power amplifiers used in a marine towed array acoustic application for seabed characterization that is not harmful to sea life
Test & Instrumentation
Performance Controls PWM amplifiers are used to drive voice coil actuators in instrument applications such as shock and vibration test systems. These amplifiers can be used individually or configured in parallel for large systems that demand high current – more than 2,000 amps. PCI amplifiers are also used in circuit breaker testing and other applications with high power demands in either current or voltage mode.
Sample products include:
Transportation, EVs and AGVs
Electrification of vehicles is a megatrend. Both on-road and off-road vehicles are seeing increasing conversion to electric for performance or environmental reasons or both. Applications exist for power transmission (i.e., basic drive function) as well as countless work vehicle extensions (e.g. lifting, loading, carrying, moving, braking, etc.) Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs), driven by electric power for use in warehouses, are also rapidly increasing in availability, application and utility.
Unmanned vehicles are now available for all kinds of novel applications in the sea, on land or in the air. Another application that requires unique power control is high speed compressors for cooling of electric vehicle or fuel cell motors. Performance Controls motor controllers are used today for AGVs and other EV applications.