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Motor Technology has supplied the drives and motors that operate critical components within a huge wind simulator, capable of recreating the conditions of a Category 5 hurricane.

Motor Technology worked with Cambridge Consultants, who had designed a wind simulation system for the University of Western Ontario, Canada, for use in research into wind damage to domestic housing, known as the Three Little Pigs project.

The vast simulator was designed to operate within the Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes, a facility big enough for a full-size house to be tested.

The idea was to recreate severe wind conditions and monitor their affects on the structural integrity of complete buildings to the point of destruction.

The system designed by Cambridge Consultants involves a series of 100 pressure-loading actuators, which are mounted against the walls and roof of the structure to be tested.

Within each actuator is a rapid-acting valve system that allows the simulation of wind pressures, with rates of change up to seven times a second.

Each actuator is linked to a control system that recreates the complex, rapidly changing pressures that would occur in a real storm, across the entire surface of the house.

Motor Technology supplied a motor and drive system for each of the actuators, which would be capable of delivering the rapid pressure changes.

Despite the high performance required, Cambridge Consultants specified a low power consumption requirement, as during the test cycles all 100 drives and motors would be operating at the same time.

To achieve this, Motor Technology’s team designed a custom brushless servo motor, providing 12Nm at 1,000rev/min, in a direct-drive configuration to eliminate power losses of around 4 per cent from a gearbox.

By doing this, the team were able to reduce current requirement by 15 per cent, achieving a power saving of 40A across all 100 drives.

By using the flexibility of a Metronix servo drive, the team were able to use the standard resolver in the servo drive as an absolute feedback device.

This eliminated the need for separate encoders and made a huge cost saving for the project.

Additionally, Metronix expanded the Ethernet capability of the drives to enable full control over Ethernet.

This included full control over the control loops, power stage and positioning control.

Thanks to the elimination of unnecessary components such as gearboxes and encoders, each drive system is completely maintenance-free.

Motor Technology

For over 25 years Motor Technology has supplied servo and automation components, including motion controllers, servo drives and motors, feedback devices, precision gearboxes and couplings, all backed by our sales and technical support.

Our in-house design team has worked with some of the biggest names in industry to design and install drive and control systems, and provide solutions for everything from the relatively simple right the way through to the most complex and demanding of applications.

Catering to maintenance engineers we also offer a spare parts and in-house repair service. Whether you are looking for a replacement product or require an equivalent component, we are here to assist you. Drawing on our experience and knowledge of the servo and motion control market we can also source products from outside our standard range. Very often we can even replace out-of-date components by sourcing compatible products manufactured under license.

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