Total Ownership Cost of Motor Controller
Almost every financial decision we make involves a tradeoff between specifications and price. This is especially true when sourcing controllers for motor control. Whether you need just 5 ADC channels or 12? Whether you need hardware trip zone protection or not? ... There are compromises that have to be made here and there.
There are many old sayings that are full of wisdoms. “Cheap things cannot be good”; “you buy cheap, you buy twice” … It is unwise to pay too much, but it is even worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything. The common law of business prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it simply cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, you might want to add opportunity cost to get a comprehensive estimate.
When picking motor controller for sensorless control, you may not realize that the controllers you buy actually cost a lot more than the initial paid price. A management team needs to weigh in the following factors to determine the comprehensive cost of products. They are bills of materials, development cost, time to market, and quality of the products.
Bill of materials (BOM): BOM or product structure is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts, and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product. The trend of higher integration is mainly driven by the desire to reduce BOM. This is a visible cost which is understood without much confusion;
Development cost: for motor manufacturers, motor parameters vary to accommodate various load and application scenarios. Sensorless control offers advantages such as simplified motor manufacturing process, improved reliability and enhanced performance. But it does pose challenges during development stage. Nowadays, the usual way to deal with these challenges is to tune each motor and each load separately. Users need to spend countless engineering hours and have to manage many versions of firmware for different products. Therefore, online parameters identification, adaptive control and other advanced algorithms are necessary in order to enable proliferation of sensorless control in motor applications.
Time to market: when we interviewed with engineering heads at our customers, their most painful point is to deliver the product on time. In the past, due to high silicon cost, firmware engineers had to write very efficient firmware on a perfectly sized silicon. For example, fix point arithmetic prevails and assembly code is adopted here and there. The downside of this approach is that it is prone to errors. Engineers, especially junior engineers, often make mistakes when sizing fix point numbers. They are not trained in school to write assembly code any more. Black-box function tests do not have enough test coverage. Therefore, errors are usually corner cases and are found very late in the development or after product initial release.
Quality of products: the recall from the field is arguable the most horrible nightmare for any brand owner. It not only puts a dent on the brand reputation, but also consumes enormous corporate resources to fix the problem. The quality of an IC comes from many careful considerations. At each stage of design, validation, reliability qualification, product final test, a significant investment of time and money is required. Brand owners are very careful in sourcing parts and components for their product.
Spintrol was founded in late 2014. Team Spintrol dedicates itself to industrial and automotive field. In particular, the team focuses on motor control in the near term and provide products meet the high standards of customers.
From chip perspective, the key differentiations of Spintrol motor control products are higher performance and higher integration. Higher performance means high computing performance, sufficient memory for real time sensitive code execution and storage; and advanced motion control peripherals. Higher integration reduces BOM counts which improve reliability and lower the system cost. Spintrol provides 3 different level products for customer to choose: controllers, SoC with pre-driver and fully integrated SoC.
All the analog components needed, such as 14-bit ADC with 140 ns conversion time, PGAs with differential input, comparators with DAC reference input, are fully integrated inside controllers. Compared with controllers, SoC with pre-driver further integrates pre-driver and power management. Fully integrated SoC takes integration to another level by integrating driving stages. Different products help customer to choose the best fit product for their applications and reduce the total BOM cost, not only in components, but also in PCB size and assembly cost.
Higher performance and higher integration significantly reduce time to market and lowers development difficulty for customers’ product team.
In order to reduce customer’s development cost and time to market, Spintrol also put a great deal of efforts into the development of world-class motor software, motor turning GUI tools and even turkey-solutions. Spintrol’s motor-ware has the characterization of high performance, good adaptability to various motor parameters and qualified through white-box test in simulation and in lab, which provides a very good foundation for customer to develop their own motor control software. For key applications, Spintrol also provides mass production level solutions to customers, including hardware design and software programs.
To deliver high quality products to customers, besides careful QMS from design to final test, Spintrol also sets up high bar when we select our fab and AT suppliers. So far, all the suppliers are Top 3 vendors in the industries. Till now, more than 25 million units have been shipped at our Tier 1 customers and historical shipment data provides good evidence for our quality.
At Spintrol, we not only sell ICs to our customer but also provide motor control package service to help customer in above 4 key aspects.
Please contact sales @ Spintrol.com for inquiry.
任何问题请联系sales @ Spintrol.com。