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Mechatronics: Power Amplifiers

Power amplifiers/drivers are important in Mechatronics because they are the ‘Movers and the Shakers’, so-to-speak, in Robotics and other Mechatronics applications.

The first devices that come to mind are Apex Microtechnology’s power amplifiers.

A recent offering was the PA164 devices. An application for such devices which I wrote about was ‘Electrostatic deflection in conformable mirrors

Apex also has amplifiers for other robotics applications like driving DC brush or brushless DC (BLDC) motors in a robotic system. The following is a typical arrangement for such an application:

Apex Microtechnology has more than 50 models of high current linear power amplifiers and PWM amplifiers with output capabilities ranging from 1 A up to 50 A and wide supply voltage operation as high as 450 V. Their single-package solutions incorporate various integration interfaces including DSP, MCU or analog inputs as well as over-temperature and short circuit protection, and cycle-by-cycle current limit to handle start-up current without de-rating. (Image courtesy of Apex Microtechnology)

Apex Microtechnology has more than 50 models of high current linear power amplifiers and PWM amplifiers with output capabilities ranging from 1 A up to 50 A and wide supply voltage operation as high as 450 V. Their single-package solutions incorporate various integration interfaces including DSP, MCU or analog inputs as well as over-temperature and short circuit protection, and cycle-by-cycle current limit to handle start-up current without de-rating. (Image courtesy of Apex Microtechnology)

Power Integrations has a great portfolio of Motor Drives. See their site here.

Infineon has an excellent selection of Motor drives as well, some with integrated drives. See their site here.

Texas Instruments also has some very unique power amplifier devices integrated in their Motor Driver Solutions as well. Their motor drivers are a well-diversified collection for many Mechatronics applications.

There are also integrated BLDC motor controller/drivers using a relatively simple state machine

The architecture for the DRV10x integrated series of BLDC motor controllers (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

The architecture for the DRV10x integrated series of BLDC motor controllers (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

Stepper motor drivers

STMicroelectronics has their STSPIN820 series of ‘Smooth & Silent’ stepper motor drivers with an integrated full-bridge power driver stage.

STMicroelectronics block diagram for STSPIN820 series Stepper Motor Drive IC STSPIN820 (Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics)

STMicroelectronics block diagram for STSPIN820 series Stepper Motor Drive IC STSPIN820 (Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics)

STMicroelectronics has an excellent introduction to electric motors.

Sometimes designers may need small increments for accurate movement/positioning in a motor. In this case, the stepper motor is an option. Here is one such option from Texas Instruments.

Here is a 2A stepper motor driver, DRV8880, with a microstepping indexer and added functionality with STEP/Direction interface and many other features. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

Here is a 2A stepper motor driver, DRV8880, with a microstepping indexer and added functionality with STEP/Direction interface and many other features. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

Brushless, 3-phase gate drivers

A microcontroller will interface to an integrated 3-Phase brushless gate driver that uses N-Channel MOSFETs externally as the power element.

The DRV8305 is an example of an integrated three-phase brushless gate driver. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

The DRV8305 is an example of an integrated three-phase brushless gate driver. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments)

Get GaN for High-Speed Motor drivers

Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corporation has their GaN devices integrated into Texas Instruments’ High-Speed Motor drive applications:

Texas Instruments has a 48V, 10A, high-frequency PWM, three-phase GaN Inverter design architecture for High Speed Motor Drives, the TIDA-00909.

Low-voltage, high-speed drives and low-inductance brushless motors need high speed inverter switching frequencies in the range of 40 kHz to 100 kHz in order to minimize losses and torque ripple in the motor.

Click here for larger image 
The TI-00909 block diagram of the 3-phase GaN inverter with TIDA-00909

The TI-00909 block diagram of the 3-phase GaN inverter with TIDA-00909

Robot Arm power

Siemens uses Efiicient Power Conversion's GaN devices in motor control here.

See more about uses of Efficient Power Conversion GaN in this article from the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) entitled ‘Comparison of Silicon versus Gallium Nitride FETs fir the Use in Power Inverters for Brushless DC Servo Motors

These are only a sampling of Mechatronics applications for Power Drivers with so much more to come in our exciting world of electronics innovation.

Other articles on this subject

Analog Mechatronics

Mechatronics: The amplifier

1 comment on “Mechatronics: Power Amplifiers

  1. EdwardThirlwall
    July 14, 2018

    For every product market, there are several companies that are competing with one another to strive towards a greater response from end consumers. Consumers are most often than not spoilt for choice and what truly influences their buying decision at the end of the day? It has to be that one product that stands out amongst the crowd. The product or service provider has to be the best even if the product is pretty much similar in every aspect as to what is being offered by their competitors. Who has the better offer takes the cake.

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