Home > Thien eDrives cuts electric motor controller development time in half with Model-Based Design using MathWorks code generation tools

Thien eDrives cuts electric motor controller development time in half with Model-Based Design using MathWorks code generation tools

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article image Thien eDrives permanent magnet synchronous motor

According to MathWorks , Thien eDrives (formerly ATB Technologies), a developer of electrical drive systems used MATLAB and Simulink to model, simulate and implement an electric motor control system on TI’s C2000 microcontroller unit (MCU).

Thien eDrives was able to reduce development time by 50% by applying Model-Based Design, which helped them move rapidly from the first prototype to the final series.

Thien eDrives was developing an electric drive for a fuel cell vehicle compressor unit, including the motor control software, electronics, motor, and other mechanical components. The company needed a design approach that enabled early verification of control strategies, code generation and rapid design iterations throughout the project.

Thien eDrives chose the Model-Based Design approach as it allowed verification at multiple stages of development, helping produce a high-quality component within a shortened timeframe.

Automatic code generation was preferred over the time-consuming and error-prone hand-coding process, and also provided added confidence of compliance with certain MISRA C standards.

Using models also simplified design reviews with Thien eDrives customers by eliminating the need for code review-driven processes.

Georg Staffler, development engineer at Thien eDrives comments that they have simulated and verified their designs in Simulink on past projects, but decided to go with MathWorks’ automatic code generation tools for this specific project, enabling them to complete the compressor project twice as fast as a similar project that applied Model-Based Design with hand coding.

Automatic code generation resulted in fewer bugs, better quality and faster iterations, enabling a modular approach that facilitated model reuse across projects.

According to Jon Friedman, automotive industry marketing manager at MathWorks, electric drive projects are becoming more complex as they require the many components within a system to work together for maximum performance and efficiency.

He adds that Model-Based Design offers a workflow that enables engineers to work on the design at both the component level and the overall application level. The Thien eDrives project showcased how this design approach brought efficiencies and advantages to every stage of the development process.

In addition to MATLAB and Simulink, Thien eDrives used tools such as Simulink Coder, Embedded Coder, Stateflow, Signal Processing Toolbox and Simulink Fixed Point.

Model-Based Design enabled Thien eDrives to deliver the compressor motor on schedule. The motor is currently produced and embedded in fuel cell cars on the road today.

MathWorks is a leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB is the language of technical computing while Simulink is a graphical environment for simulation and Model-Based Design of multidomain dynamic and embedded systems. 

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