Converter - the heart of the drive system with unimagined potential

As a manufacturer of frequency inverters for commercial vehicles, construction machines and ships, ARADEX AG offers extremely fast, compact and precisely adjustable frequency converters up to a voltage range of 1080 V.

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As an element of power electronics, converters are an integral part of any electrical drive train. The fundamental task of the converters is to ensure that currents and voltages of converters (or rectifiers or inverters) are regulated and all components in the overall system are supplied with the ideal current or voltage ratings.

However, inverters can do much more than transform currents and voltages. While a great deal of attention is paid to the most expensive component in the drive system, energy storage, the converter's potential to significantly improve efficiency and efficiency is often underestimated.

This context is explained below.

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The converter is a key component for an economical & efficient overall system

With a share of about two percent, the power electronics, i e the converter, represents a comparatively low cost share in the overall system. By far the largest share of the total costs is caused by the battery at a cost of about 50%. However, at first glance, saving the battery does not represent an attractive option to lower costs - the loss of range would be painful. However, precisely controllable converters open up their potential for efficiency and cost-effectiveness:

Less battery capacity at the same range

Thanks to an converter which is optimally adapted to the drive system with precise control technology, the overall efficiency and thus the efficiency can be significantly increased. With ARADEX's robust and flexible converters, significant cost savings have already been achieved. ARADEX's VECTOPOWER converters enable control optimization with a resolution of up to 2μs, which is comparatively an absolute peak value. This exceptionally high precision allows for an efficient utilization of capacitance of the semiconductors, whereby higher currents can be achieved with the same semiconductor. In addition, interactions between the individual components can occur, which can lead to mutual interference. Thus parasitic current oscillations of a few 100 A amplitude can arise during load changes, which is why fine tuning of all components in the overall system can lead to considerable efficiency improvements.

By means of a precisely adjusted and efficient inverter, the most expensive part of the drive train, namely the battery, can often be dimensioned smaller without having to accept losses in the range of reach. As a result, the savings in battery capacity will exceed the cost of a high-quality converter and motor.

Project example: Efficiency increase in the electric bus

In the case of the electric bus "Sileo" is an 18-ton and 12-meter long electric bus, which should be used 16 hours per day in urban traffic without intermittent charging of the batteries. ARADEX's VECTOPOWER technology has reduced the efficiency of a "normal" electric bus of this size from 1 kWh / km to 0.7 kWh / km at Sileo. This resulted in a savings potential of 30% for the battery capacity, which was reflected in the overall costs of the propulsion system and enormously increased economic efficiency.

The "Sileo" already developed shortly after its introduction to the European market leader - the complete project report on the cooperation ARADEX / Sileo can be found here.