ROTALINK employed Maple, the symbolic mathematics software for engineering applications from Canadian developer Maplesoft, to simulate and design a new product for its AC miniature motor range. It contributes to reducing time-to-market and development costs of the product.
Rotalink is a 70-person UK-based company that designs and produces a wide range of miniature power transmission products: motors, gearboxes and control electronics. Its motor range includes shaded pole, unidirectional or reversible AC motors, permanent or hybrid stepping motors and brushed DC motors, with geared motors torques ranging from 0,01 to 10 Nm. Applications include vending machines, automatic retailing machines, peristaltic pumps, photocopiers. Rotalink differentiates itself via a wide range of off-the-shelf market oriented products, involving high research and development investments. It is supported by component sourcing strategies that drive costs down.
The traditional way of testing motors is to build physical prototypes and then analyse their performance. With Maple, Rotalink is now able to fully simulate the operation of the motor during the design phase. “The mathematical differential equations which describe the motion of the motor are very complex. They involve the rotor inertia, the flux linkage (a fundamental equation with third harmonics), the detent torque (fundamental with second harmonic), and the applied voltage with magnitude and phase,” says John Lines, Technical Manager at Rotalink.
The full simulation model of a new AC motor dedicated to peristaltic pumps was implemented in only a few days. “We benefit from very good technical service from people like Dr Samir Khan, at Adept Scientific, the UK reseller of Maple," adds Lines. "Dr. Khan and others helped us to effectively use the dsolve command in Maple which automatically chooses the right algorithm for solving differential equations, be it for numeric or symbolic solutions.” The plotting capabilities of the software allow Rotalink teams to dynamically analyse the behaviour of the new motor.
“Maple differential equation solving capabilities are the most advanced on the market. Applications such as electric motors, electronics or mechanical systems are specifically targeted with these solving functions,” observes Dr. Samir Khan.
With the use of Maple, Rotalink hopes that in most cases it will no longer be necessary to build prototypes, reducing development costs and further contributing to the company's aim of providing the most cost effective miniature power transmission solutions.
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