Future Electronics – Why the market for motor-control systems and components is set for steady and rapid growth


Adil Saleem
EMEA Technical Product Marketing Manager
Future Electronics

The amount of sophisticated, electronically controlled motors under development in many sectors of the electronics market, is growing fast. The car is a perfect illustration of the reason for this. The number of electric motors per vehicle is increasing at a rapid pace – there can be over 100 in a sophisticated modern car – as consumers expect motors to power and control not only the essential functions but increasingly more and more convenience features which are added. Equally, industry 4.0 dictates an increasing requirement for motors as secure, safe and efficient automation becomes the norm.

Not only are more motors being installed: the motors are also growing in sophistication, and this is driving growth in the number and performance of the semiconductor components in motor-control systems. For instance, the move from brushed to brushless-type motors means that a system which once required only a single power switch or relay now needs six, plus drivers and controllers. Similarly, Predictive Maintenance is driving the needs for intelligent motor-control systems using sensors to monitor its health and identify upcoming faults thereby reducing expensive down time and also extending lifetimes overall.

This issue of FTM highlights some of the attractive products for new motor systems on offer from the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, such as the STMicroelectronics H-bridge drivers, or the Motion SPM® 2 inverter modules from ON Semiconductor.

Energy and noise regulations are also causing a shift from simple on/off controls to variable-speed motors, and this calls for the adoption of higher-resolution sensors. TE Connectivity’s resolvers for motor control, are extremely accurate and precise at rotation speeds of up to 8,000rpm. The ams AS5x47 magnetic position sensors, use sophisticated error compensation technology to support operation at very high speeds of up to 28,000rpm.

And at the heart of the sophisticated new motor systems finding their way into industrial, home automation, transport and many other types of end products, are a new generation of microcontrollers with dedicated motor-control features. Devices such as the i.MX RT1050, not only incorporate motor-control hardware such as quadrature encoders/decoders and timers, they are also supported by dedicated motor-control software libraries, helping to reduce the development time and effort and accelerate time to market.

Another resource to help in the development effort is the team of applications engineers available via branches of Future Electronics.