Research and Development in Virtual Engineering

Energy Recovery from Multi-Axis Machines (ERMA)

A method for energy-saving operation of robots, machine tools and custom machines is being developed in this research project. Priority is being given to using a shared energy storage system for every drive and to smartly controlling energy flows during acceleration and deceleration. This makes it possible for part of the braking energy to be reused to simultaneously or subsequently accelerate of other drive units: The energy consumption of multi-axis manufacturing machines moving tools and lifting and transporting heavy items and so forth is largely dictated by constant acceleration and deceleration. Using energy recovery systems to save the “wasted” energy suggested itself.

© Fraunhofer IFF

A 3-achsiger robot with a highly efficient flywheel energy storage system added to the DC link served as the demonstrator. The smart controller employs a mechatronic model used to determine the robot’s energy requirement in advance. Based on this model, an energy management system specially developed for it controls the flywheel energy storage system to lower the robot’s energy requirement. This approach is supported very well by the strong link between the virtual model and the real equipment.