Shaping the future of industrial drive technology

Three questions to David Kater on the “DC-INDUSTRIE2” research project

What is the project goal and status?

"Direct current for the factory of the future" - with this guiding principle the research project "DC-INDUSTRIE2" has started. In short, the aim is to better exploit the potential of direct current technology for industrial production plants. DC-INDUSTRIE2 follows directly on from the very successful DC-INDUSTRIE research project, which focused on the development, adaptation and testing of power electronic devices for supplying and protecting DC networks in production cells as well as methods for their robust operation. In the second phase, the DC grid is now to be expanded into an intelligent DC grid for a production hall or a large-scale process plant. With 35 industrial partners, five research institutes and the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), which supports the project with an industrial working group as part of its association activities, DC-INDUSTRIE2 is one of the largest joint research projects in Germany.

What is the “KEB part” in the project?

For many years we have been developing DC system solutions on machine level for customers consisting of Active Infeed Converters (AIC), several frequency converters and suitable EMC filter solutions. For the predecessor project DC-INDUSTRIE we developed drive controller demonstrators, which will be used and evaluated in the future together with KEB AICs and the corresponding EMC filter units in the model plants.
Compared to the previous project, the larger extension of the DC network results in new challenges for the components, especially with regard to the electromagnetic compatibility of the system. For example, we are working on solutions with which parallel feeders no longer necessarily have to be decoupled by heavy and inefficient isolating transformers, but instead achieve a correspondingly high common-mode suppression by means of specially developed EMC filters. This common-mode suppression is necessary so that all components involved in the power supply system are supplied with a clean DC voltage and function without interference.

What is the practical idea of our participation?

By participating in DC-INDUSTRIE2, we want to actively shape the future of industrial power supply and drive technology. All participants are united by the goal of developing framework conditions and specifications for an open-manufacturer DC grid that will allow the great potential of the DC supply to be exploited. We would like to make our contribution by contributing our experience and know-how on conventional DC interconnected systems and EMC. Only through the active cooperation of manufacturers of all necessary components - from the feed-in technology, drive and protection technology to the connection technology - as well as the research institutes is it possible to design an efficient and convincing DC grid.

Interview by Daniel Kappmeyer