Automated preliminary sizing of electromechanical actuator architectures
M. Budinger, J. Liscouet, S. Orieux, JCh. Maré
LGMT (Laboratoire de Génie Mécanique de Toulouse) Université de Toulouse  INSA, UPS 135, avenue de Rangueil, F31077 Toulouse, France
marc.budinger@insatoulouse.fr
Abstract – This paper deals with the preliminary design of electromechanical actuators at the architecture stage, aiming at providing means to compare candidate solutions. The preliminary design requires the sizing of various components (e.g. mechanical reducers, brushless motor, speed controller). A power sizing approach based on scaling laws that can be numerically implemented into a simple design model is described. The proposed approach is illustrated through examples of nose landing gear architectures.
I. INTRODUCTION AND DESIGN PROBLEMATIC
Thanks to the developpement of powers electronics and permanent magnets, electromechanical actuators are very promising with respect to, e.g. automatic operating mode, power management, reliability, maintainability. For this reason, it can be very interesting to replace current actuators based on another technology less promising in these fields (e.g. hydraulic) with electromechanical actuators. A good illustration of this tendency is the research effort towards the “more electric aircraft” in aeronautics. An electromechanical actuation system is very complex to design and to optimise, especially because of its multidisciplinary characteristic. The traditional trial and error approach for preliminary design is iterative and cumbersome. The final part of this paper will describe the proposed methodology for an automated preliminary sizing of selected architectures, which enables to compare a large number of solutions and to identify the most promising. The developed approach will be illustrated with the example of a nose landing gear leg steering system scaled to regional range commercial aircrafts. Three examples of architectures that could fulfil the different system requirements are shown in Fig. 1. The developed approach will focus here on the total mass criterion.
The preliminary sizing shall not lead to develop models and calculations as detailed as for the specific design. These models have to be simple but predictive, representative of the state of the art of technology, and consistent with a common methodology for all the involved engineering domains. For these last purposes, the developed approach is based on the modelling of architecture components using scaling laws. The next and main part of this paper will describe how the scaling laws have been established or adapted to the preliminary sizing and validated with constructor data.
II. SCALING LAWS
A. General Principles
The scaling laws also called similarity laws allow to study the effect of varying representative parameters of a given system. They are used in different domains as microsystems, mechanics, hydraulics, fluid mechanics to compare different actuator technologies [1][2][3], to adapt the dimensions of a mockup in fluid dynamics, to size mechanic, hydraulic or electric systems [4], to develop and rationalize product families or to evaluate costs [5]. This article uses the notation proposed by [1] for scaling laws calculation. The scaling ratio of a given parameter will be calculated as follows:
l
^{*} =
l'/l
(1)
with l, the parameter of the component taken as reference and
l’, 
the parameter of the studied component. 
A 
homothetic scaling of all the geometrical dimensions leads 
to 
link them all to their reference value by a single ratio l*. 
Models will be developed only for components with a
geometrical similitude. In this way, the evolution of a volume
V of a cylinder in case of an identical evolution for all
geometrical dimensions is given by:
V
*
= l
*3
(2)
This last results remains valid for any other geometry. In the
same way, it is possible to calculate the evolution of the mass
M
and rotating inertia J as function of dimension l:
M
J
*
*
= l
*3
= l
*5
(3)
(4)
In
equations linking the parameters representative of a given problematic. It is possible here to perform a dimensional analysis to establish the similarity laws [6][7][8].
some cases it is not possible to write in a simple way the
B. Sizing constraints
During scale change of components (e.g. motor, reducer, mechanism) some constraints must remain constant. These sizing constraints ensure an adequate use and life time for the components. For electromechanical components, the electric wire with their insulation part shall not overcome a given temperature, which depends on the isolation class. Therefore the scaling laws have to model a constant temperature increase ∆T:
∆T* =1
(5)
For mechanical components, the constraints in the materials
are limited by the elastic or fatigue limits. Therefore the scaling laws have to model a constant maximum constraint
σ max :
(68)
The hypothesis of a constant temperature increase ∆T *=1 allows to link the variation of dimensions l* of an electric machine with its variation of current density J* [1]. Assuming the losses dominated by Joule losses and the resistivity ρ constant leads to the following expression of the Joule losses as function of the current density and dimension variations:
σ
max
*
=
1
P J
*
^{=} J
*2
l
*3
(7)
The thermal heat flux are assumed to be evacuated by natural convection at the surface with a constant convection coefficient:
∆T = J l
*
*2
*
(8)
From (7) and (11), it is possible to express the current density as function of the dimensions:
J
*
= l
* 1/ 2
(9)
The hypothesis of a constant maximum constraint σ _{m}_{a}_{x} *=1 allows to link the variation of dimensions l* of mechanical component with the variations of its rotation speed Ω* or transmitted effort F* [5]. First assuming that the mechanical constraints are due to the transmitted effort F allows to express its variation F* as a function of the dimension variation l*:
(10)
Second, assuming that the mechanical constraints are due to the centrifugal forces allows to express the speed Ω* as function of the dimension l* variations:
(11)
F
*
= l
*2
*
= l
* 1
III. COMPONENT MODELS
Calculations for preliminary sizing require simulation parameters as inertia and thermal constant. The scaling laws allow calculating these simulation parameters from a limited number of definition parameters as the nominal torque and reduction ratio. In order to validate the choice of components, sizing variables as the rootmeansquare and rootmeancubic torques, which are representative of the component selection laws, must be calculated too. The scaling laws will also be used to calculate comparison parameters as the mass to evaluate different architectures.
This section describes how the aforementioned parameters and variables are established for the different components used in the considered architectures (Fig. 1). The results are then compared with constructor data.
A. Mechanical Reducer
This study first focuses on cycloidal reducers [9] which are characterized by their high load capacity, high reduction ratio, reduced backlash and high stiffness. These reducers are sized for a given nominal output torque C. This torque correspond to the mechanical stress limiting the reducer performance. A design based on a fixed constraint σ _{m}_{a}_{x} allows to link the variation of dimension l* to the variation of efforts F*=l*², torque C*=l* ^{3} , mass M*=l* ^{3} and inertia J*=l* ^{5} and so on. In order to select a mechanical reducer, in the frame of the preliminary design, it is interesting to get the equivalent inertia at the slow or speed shaft, the stiffness and mass of the reducer as function of the output torque C and reduction ratio N. These relations are resumed in Table 1. It has to be noticed that even if the stiffness can be evaluated, it is not regarded further due to its negligible impact on the power sizing. In case of a cycloidal reducer, the inertia does not depend on the reduction ratio, because it is mainly located on the output disc whose dimensions are constrained by the output torque. For a given mission profile with a total duration t _{m} , output
torque C and input speed n function of the time t, the
variables necessary for sizing are the mean input speed n _{m}_{e}_{a}_{n} and the root mean cubic ouput torque C _{r}_{m}_{c} , which represent the fatigue constraint. In [9], the manufacturer gives the rated
torques as function of the input torque from a given speed of 1500 rpm. Fig. 2 explains how to link this rated sizing torque C _{s}_{i}_{z}_{i}_{n}_{g} to the equivalent mission C _{r}_{m}_{c} for a given life time L _{1}_{0} .
)
1/ a
a = 3
Log( ) Cumulated angle
Mean speed :
n
m
=
(
∫
n
1
dt
)
/ t
m
Root Mean Cube torque :
C rmc
=
3 ( ∫ 
3 C dt 2 
) 
/ t 

n 
1 
m 
n 
m 
Sizing torque :
C
=
C
*
=
si
sin
g
C
rmc
(
n
1
*
.
L
*
10
)
1/ a
Fig. 2. Root mean cubic torque, life time and sizing torque.
Sizing Torque [Nm]
Fig 3. Inertia vs torque for cyclo drive [9]
B. Roller Screws
The roller screws are sized for a given output force. The resulting stress is the performance limitating factor. Thus:
(12)
As for the reducers, the different characteristics necessary for sizing can be derived from this last equation and for each component of the roller screw (screw, nut, bearings). They are given as a function of the effort variation F* in table 1. From the calculated screw and nut and bearing parameters it is possible to compute the total rollerscrew mass, inertia and efficiencies. The Fig. 4 compares the nut diameters from the proposed scaling laws with data from [11] and for a given type of roller screw.
*
= F
*1
l
*
2
max
C. Motors
The presented study focuses on two types of brushless motors with permanent magnet: motors with a cylindrical shape and a constant number of poles, and motors with an annular shape with a number of poles increasing with the size. These motors are sized for a given continuous torque. The scaling laws developed by [1] and [2] allow to link this torque to the motor dimensions. From the Laplace’s principle assuming a constant temperature we obtain:
*3,5
(13)
Another main parameter to take into account for sizing the motor is its thermal time constant _{t}_{h}_{.} It is also important to consider its maximum speed. For cylindrical motor, this speed is limited by stress due to centrifuge effects. For annular motors, the high number of poles generate iron losses that can not be neglected and limit the maximum reachable speed. The iron losses expression as given by [10] leads to the following relation between iron losses, frequency and dimension variations:
C = l
(14)
The iron losses at the maximum speed are equal to the copper (Joule) losses at stall. Thus:
(15)
For the annular motors the increasing number of poles with the motor dimension leads to the following relation between the maximum speed and dimension variations:
(16)
This hypothesis also allows to write the torque/speed characteristic of the motor as follows :
(17)
Table 2 below summarizes the scaling laws proposed for sizing of cylindrical and annular electric motors. The mission profile generally requires time dependant torque and speed. Therefore, during sizing, it has to be ensured that:
First the maximum cycle speed does not exceed the maximum motor speed; Second the maximum cycle torque does not exceed the maximum transient motor torque;
)
P
iron
f
*
=
* =
=
*
max
C
max
=
f *
l
*
l b
l
*
(1/
b
+
1)
b
l *
3
1
(
/
max
)
b
C(
Sizing force (kN)
Fig. 4. Nut diameter vs force for roller screw [11]
Table 1 Scaling laws for mechanical components
Roller screw 

Parameters 
Cyclo Drive 
Parameters 
components 

Torque 
C 
* 
Force 
F ^{*} 

Ratio 
N 
^{*} 
Dimension 
l * 
= F *1/ 2 

Inertia (slow shaft) 
J 
* 
* = C 
5 3 
Inertia 
J * 
= F 
*5/ 2 

Mass 
M 
* = C * 
Mass 
M * 
= F 
*3/ 2 

Maximum 
Maximum 

* 
* 

output torque 
C max = C 
output force 
F 
max ^{*} =F ^{*} 

Table 2 Scaling laws for brushless motors 

Cylindrical Motors
max
C
max
C 
Annular Motor
max
C
max
C 

Torque 
C = l *3.5 
C = l *3.5 

Inertia 
J 
* 
= l *5 
= C *5 / 3.5 
J * 
= l *4 = C *4 / 3.5 

Mass 
M 
* 
= l *3 
= l *3 / 3.5 
M 
* 
= l *2 
= C *2 / 3.5 

Volume 
V 
* 
= l *3 
= C *3 / 3.5 
V * 
= l *3 = C *3/ 3.5 

Thermal time 
th 
* 
= 
l 
* 
= 
C *1/ 3.5 
th 
* 
= l * 0 
= C 
*0 

constant 

Thermal 
* 
l 
*2 
*2 / 3.5 
R th 
* 
l *2 
*2 / 3.5 

resistance 
R th 
^{=} 
^{=} 
C 
^{=} 
^{=} 
C 

Maximum 
* 
= l * 
1 
= C * 
1/ 3.5 
* 
= l * 
(1/ b + 1) 

speed 
max 
max 

= C * 
(1/ b + 1) / 3.5 
Finally, that the thermal equivalent rootmeansquare torque is lower than the nominal motor torque (with evolution times shorter than the thermal time constant of the motor).
D. Clutches
For safety purposes, clutches can be implemented into the transmission architecture. This study focuses on evaluating the mass and inertia of this component that is sized to transmit the maximum torque of the mission profile. The volume of an electromechanical clutch essentially comes from the electromagnet which generates a reluctant effort. According to the relation between torque and dimensions derived from [1], the inertia variation can be expressed as function of the torque variation:
(18)
J
*
= C
*5/ 4
E. Electronic Converters
An electronic converter used for driving the electric motor is essentially made of power switches, filters (e.g. capacitor of the DC bus) and a cooling system. The latter is the major player for the total converter mass. Since the motor thermal time constant is significantly greater than the converter one, the transient mechanical characteristics will be considered for converter sizing. The apparent power will be calculated as the product of maximum torque and maximum speed. Brushless motors are characterized by relatively low reactance, therefore the real (active) power will be assimilated to apparent power. The main objective of this section is to link the power to the mass of the converter, i.e. to the mass of its cooling system. This cooling system mass ensures a given operation temperature of the semiconducting elements for the nominal power. The different parameters involved in the calculation of the temperature increase are: the losses occurring in the transistors, thermal resistors of the switches and thermal resistance of the heat exchanger.
Losses in a converter
The losses occurring in a switch are given by the following
expression:
(19)
For the study, the bus voltage E and switching frequency f _{s}_{w} are supposed to be constant. In case of an IGBT, the voltage drop V _{F} is constant independently of the current calibration of the transistor. In case of a MOS, the resistance R _{d}_{s}_{o}_{n} which defines the conduction losses decreases inversely proportional to the current calibration. The converter power P is linked linearly to the current calibration I. These different relations allow to link the electrical an thermal power variations:
(20)
Inverter manufacturer data (e.g. ABB, Télémécanique) confirms this last expression. The study of the characteristics of IGBT and CMOS transistors also shows that their thermal
P th
= V I + kEIf
F
sw
.(
t
on
+ t
off
)
P
th
* *
^{=}
I
^{=}
P
*
resistance is function of the current calibration (for a given voltage):
(18)
Thus, the temperature increase is constant:
(18)
*
R
thjc
R
= I
thjc
*
.
P
th
*
*
1
=
1
Forced Convection Heat Exchangers
The heat exchanger also ensures a constant temperature increase for the entire power range of a given line of converters. This objective defines the component size and mass. A heat exchanger is mainly made of fins mounted on a layer. As for the motors, it is assumed that the dissipation is fixed by convection. The study of convection involves many dimensionless parameters as the Reynold’s Re, Nusselt’s Nu and Prandt’s Pr numbers, which are used to calculate the convection coefficient h. These parameters give for L, the length of the fin, and v the air velocity, the following expressions:
N
_{u}
*
=
*
*
h L
and
R
e
*
^{=}
For a fin in forced convection [13]:
Thus,
N 
u 
* = R 
*0,5 e 

h 
* 
= v 
*0,5 
L 
* 0,5 
* v L 
* 
(21) 
(22) 

(23) 
The designer does not always modify all the dimension of the heat exchanger: width W, length L, height H. For a given line of converters, one of these dimensions is often fixed or varies insignificantly. In this context, it is assumed that the height is fixed and that the width and length vary together. The following expression of the dissipable power as a function of the speed v* and heat exchanger dimension d _{R} * variations:
(24)
The evolution of the speed v* gives the evolution of the flow rate Q* of the associated fan:
(25)
The pressure losses ∆P in the heat exchanger allows to express the fan power variation Pv* as function of the flow rate variation Q*:
(26)
The dimension d _{v} of the fan [6] for a given fixed speed Ω (i.e. Ω*=1) is calculated consequently:
(27)
Thus, with M _{v} * the fan mass variation:
(28)
The evolution of the heat exchanger mass depends on the air flow rate provided as function of the inverter power P. Assuming:
(29)
Gives:
(30)
P
th
*
= h d
Q *
R
*
*2
*0.5
d
*1.5
R
= v
P v
M
_{v}
*
*
=
= v
*
d
R
*
^{=}
Q
*2
*3
d
V
*6/5
*5
Q
*
*
P
v
=
Q
Q
*
= P
*
R
*
=
P
*( 2
α
)
M
With =1 : M _{R} *=P* thus M _{t}_{o}_{t}_{a}_{l} *=P*. The coefficient =1 and the relation power mass has been confirmed with constructor data [12]. In this case the fan power follows the equation P _{v} *=P* ^{2} justifying the technological changes for cooling (water cooling, liquid coolant) for high power demand.
Free convection heat exchangers There is an optimal distance S between two fins of a heat exchanger with a length L [13]. The corresponding scaling law is the following:
(31)
S
opt
*
^{=}
*0.25
L
Here we have: 

Nu 
* 
= h S 
* 
= 
1 

Thus: 
. 
(32)
(33)
The thermal power dissipated par the heat exchanger can be the n written as follow :
(34)
With N W/S the number of fins. The thickness T of the fins increases with the dimension H in order to maintain the dissipation efficiency [13]. The corresponding scaling law is:
(35)
The mass M of a heat exchanger can then be calculated using the following expression:
(36)
The inverter designer does not always modify all the dimension L, H, W for a given line. For a line with a limited power range, he will preferably varies the parameter W and keep constant H and L. In this case, the last expression becomes:
(37)
Thus:
(38)
This can be verified with constructor data [14], [15]. In the developed program (section IV) the converter sizing is based on this last equation (38). For inverter lines with large ranges of power, it is difficult to keep constant a parameter. In this case, it a geometrical similarity is assumed:
(39)
Thus:
(40)
This last equation illustrates the necessity to change from natural convection to forced convection technology for a given level of power.
h
*
= S
*
1
L H
= L
* 0.25
*
^{=}
*0.5
L
P
th
*
^{=}
*
h N
*
*
*
W H
*
T
*
= H
*
*
L H
*2
M
*
= N
*
T
*
*
= W H
*3
L
*0.75
M
M
*
=W
*
= P
*
*
P
th
*
^{=}
d
W
*2.5
*
= L
and
= H
M
*
= d
*
*
= d
*4.75
*
= P
*2.375
IV. PRELIMINARY DESIGN OF A NOSE LANDING GEAR STEERING ACTUATOR
A. Developed sizing program
From the presented approach, a tool for an automated
preliminary sizing of architecture has been developed using Matlab environment. This tool consists of modules representing each component of the studied architecture. A module includes the technological references (e.g. performance reference, operating range) and the relationships between its parameters. The mission profile cycle (torque and position as a function of time) is transmitted and modulated from function to function, i.e. from component to component, in the architecture chain. Thus, step by step, each component is sized as function of the effort and speed. At the end, a sized model of the architecture is generated where
parameters as the total mass that can be easily extracted for comparison purposes.
Fig. 5. Algorithm of the component sizing program
B. Results
The presented comparison study focuses on the mass aspect. Using the developed software tool, it is possible to identify an optimum transmission ratio minimizing the mass for each architecture, which can then be compared with respect to this criteria. The results depend of the considered mission cycle. Indeed, its dynamic aspect and the induced inertial effort can have a significant influence on the component sizing. [16] has developed an optimisation criterion for the choice of transformation ratio for reducer. The profil considered here has a rather low dynamic and do not lead to the optimum described by [16]. The models presented in this article limit the variables used by the maximum speed of operation of some components as the motor and the rollerscrew. The results also show that the high reduction ratios can be limited by other phenomena as the fatigue (an increase of the reduction ratio increases the number of cycle for a given lifetime) or the efficiency (the efficiency decreases with an increasing reduction ratio). Generally, and especially for low dynamic mission cycles, the mass of an architecture tends to decrease when the transmission ratio increases, which is often limited by technological constraints (e.g. maximum motor speed, minimum screw lead angle). However, a high transmission ratio at the roller screw decreases its efficiency and thus increases the required torque at its entry for a given ratio. It also implies higher speed at its input shaft, which impacts its
fatigue sizing. As shown on Fig. 6, these effects tend to limit the interest in high transmission ratio for the architecture based on this component, which displays an optimum (overall transmission ratio of 2349, here) before attaining technological limits. Manufacturing constraints limit the diameter of the spurgear interface with the turning tube. Thus the architectures based on this solution are limited in their transmission ratio range at the interface between the landing gear leg and the actuator. In this way a ratio of five has been assumed for this component. This impacts the sizing of the components upstream, especially the clutch and reducer. The motor sizing is impacted by the overall transmission ratio and thus indirectly by the limitation of the spur gear ratio. In general, a spur gear has a higher efficiency than a roller screw and a worm gear. This reduces the mass of the architecture B power electronics, but not enough to cover the effect of a low transmission ratio offered by the spur gear solution. Figure 7 shows how these last points make architecture B the heaviest of the three alternatives. The worm gear represents a compact solution to interface with the turning tube while offering a greater reduction ratio than with a spur gear (about 15, here). However, the still limited primary reduction ratio and efficiency of this component limit the advantages of this solution. In this way, architecture A based on a worm gear displays an optimum mass comparable to the architecture C based on a rack and rollerscrew to interface with the turning tube.
Fig. 6. Mass vs transmission ratio RLR solutions
Fig. 7. Comparison of architectures
V. CONCLUSION
The paper has described an innovative approach using scaling laws to perform an automated preliminary sizing of selected architectures, thus enabling to compare easily different solutions to identify the most promising. Scaling laws has been used in order to have simple sizing model. Accuracy of these models are sufficient at preliminary design stage. From the presented approach, a tool in Matlab for an automated preliminary sizing of architecture has been developed. Work is simplified by the modular aspect of the developed tool. To illustrate the use of this tool, three architectures for the nose gear steering of an aircraft scaled at regional range have been studied. The exploration of various more architectures is possible. Using the developed tool, first results have shown the importance of considering all the components of an architecture from the mechanical transmission to the power electronics. Indeed, each component can have a significant impact on the parameter criteria as the total mass depending on the architecture configuration and mission profile aspect (whether static or dynamic). Towards more integrated design [17] implements the developed tool in a larger methodology covering automated architecture generating, optimizing and comparison. [17] also extends the architecture evaluation to reliability considerations. In order to propose a complete integrated design approach further work should include controllability aspect and take into account ambient conditions (e.g. vibrations, extreme temperatures) while enriching the software library of components.
VI. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work has been partly founded by the ANR 05 –RNTL 028 SIMPA2C6E2 project.
VII. REFERENCES
[1] M. Jufer, Electromécanique, Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes [2] P. Minotti , A. Ferreira, Les micromachines, Hermes [3] B. Multon, H. Ben Ahmed, M. Ruellan, G. Robin, Comparaison du couple massique de diverses architectures de machines tournantes synchrones à aimants, Electrotechnique du Futur 2005, Grenoble, 1415 sept. 2005.
[4] G. Spinnler, Conception des machines: principes et applications, Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes [5] G. Pahl, W. Beitz, Engineering Design, A systematic Approach, Springer [6] E. S. Taylor, Dimensional analysis for engineers, Oxford University Press [7] G. I. Barenblatt, Scaling, Cambridge texts in applied mathematics [8] Th. Szirtes, Applied dimensional analysis and modeling, McGrawHill [9] SumitomoDriveTechnologies, www.smcyclo.com, Fine Cyclo line [10] G. Grellet, Pertes dans les machines toumantes, Techniques de l'Ingénieur, D3450. [11] SKF, www.skf.com, roller screw TRK line [12] ABB, www.abb.com, ABB industrial drives, ACS800, drive modules [13] Y. A. Cengel, Heat and mass transfer, a practical approach, 3rd edition, Mc Graw Hill [14] PARVEX, www.parvex.com , DIGIVEX Drive
[15]
amplifier
SERVOSTAR [16] S. W. Kim, J. S. Park, Computer Aided Optimum Motor Selection For D.C Servo Drive Systems, 1989, Elsevier [17] J. Liscouët, J.C. Maré, S. Orieux, Automated generation, selection and evaluation of architectures for electromechanical actuators, ICAS 2008, Anchorage  Alaska, 1419 September 2008
DANAHER,
www.danahermotion.com
,
Digital
servo
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