Simulation Drives Development of Magnetic Drive Systems
In any design project, simulation plays a key role in testing (and discarding) the often countless possible variations of any given construct. Being able to quickly focus on the best possible configuration can speed time to market — something Sheffield, UK-based Magnomatics has been able to leverage in the design of its magnetic power transmissions.
Magnomatics (which was spun-off from the University of Sheffield) has developed a direct drive system called the Pseudo Direct Drive that integrates a permanent magnet motor with non-contact magnetic gearing. The system delivers enough torque density that it can be packaged in a vehicle’s wheel. The company is involved in projects including marine propulsion, defense, and direct-drive electricity generators for wind turbines, and last year snagged contracts with Ford and Caterpillar Engines for hybrid vehicle projects.
To get there, the company’s engineers had to evaluate thousands of design variations using Cobham’s Opera electromagnetic simulation tool. Magnomatics has built a library of magnetic gear and motor/generator design utilities that allow engineers to investigate new powertrain designs quickly.
A magnetic gear uses permanent magnets to transmit torque between an input and output shaft with no mechanical contact. This eliminates friction, noise, and vibration, while reducing weight and increasing efficiency.
The company recently demonstrated an in-wheel version of the drive called HiTED for bus applications in collaboration with Volvo, Kollmorgen, and Magnet Applications. Another project, this time with Dennis Eagle, MTL and MIRA, involves axle-mounted systems for refuse collection vehicles.
You can view a video explaining the technology below: