COVID-19 Update

SPS continues to function as effectively as possible during these challenging times in order to support our staff, customers and economy. The safety of our staff is of course paramount. As requested by UK government, where possible they are working from home.  All staff have access to all their normal design tools and resources. Please use e-mail as first means of contact.

Where manufacturing or test/validation work is involved, staff will be in work. We have plenty of space so can easily meet the 2m safe “social distancing” advice. We have also taken additional steps to minimise risk as best as possible in terms of delivery hygiene and additional cleaning etc.

The partners of SPS would like to reassure its customers (and prospective ones) that the business is in a good position to weather this storm both in terms of its finances and its logistics. We have been in contact with our key suppliers and in the vast majority of cases they working although with slightly increased lead-times.

Be safe everybody and let’s hope that some positives can come out of this!!

Motor Drive Development – Still innovative after 20 years!!

Recently our Commercial Partner (Ms Patricia Elliott B.Eng) was kindly given an item by the company she used to work for (Nidec SR Drives Ltd.).  It was the last product she worked on before she left to set up Smart Power Solutions with our Technical Partner (Dr. Charlie Elliott). It is a high-power commercial vacuum cleaner unit used in larger homes and hotels in the US.

In order to keep size down and allow for long-life, a high-speed 2-phase Switched Reluctance Motor was used. To minimise input current whilst keeping cost low, a valley-fill power-factor improvement circuit was used. The control was implemented in a sub $1 microcontroller. As far as we are aware, nobody else has ever implemented such an innovative motor drive for this application since. When it was powered up in our lab, it worked after being sat in storage for almost 20 years!!

SPS is very well positioned to carry out motor drive development on all conceivable motor types. It has experience from low power 20W fans all the way up to 1MW mining applications. You won’t be surprised to hear that SPS is heavily involved in electrification of transport projects for both on and off-road use.

Innovative Motor Drive

Visit to Dynex

Our Technical Partner Dr. Charlie Elliott visited Dynex in Lincoln yesterday. As well as a general catch up he wanted to discuss possible technical collaboration utilisting SPS’s experience with power electronics systems development. Charlie first came across Dynex when they were GEC Plessy Semiconductors as a graduate trainee at GEC Electrial Projects in 1991. It is about 15 years since he last visited and he reported that is was great to see them thriving with investment from majority Chinese owners CRRC. Not only are they busy with manufacturing their existing range of power semiconductors, but they are pushing hard to improve them.

Their power assemblies unit is continuing with its excellent reputation for supplying specialist traction refurbishment and other high power applications. It operates at power levels well above what SPS can manufacture so there is no real overlap. SPS is hoping it can complement what Dynex already does and assist with power electronics systems when their customers are looking for this capability.