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Digital twin of electric motors enhances industrial processes

The energy transition is rapidly increasing the global rate of electrification. Aalto University is involved in an ABB R&D project in which digital twins are being created for electric motors and frequency converters.

The use of electric motors and frequency converters in industry is growing dramatically, while the industry is undergoing a digital revolution in which increasingly bigger equipment and system entities are being connected to each other.

‘The development of simulation and modelling increases the use of digital twins in industry. For example, the digital twin of an electric motor is a simulation and data model that contains all the interfaces used for connecting the device to other systems in the digital world,’ says Jari Jäppinen, Technology Manager at ABB Motors & Generators unit.

Today, electric motor design is strongly steered by energy and material efficiency. At the same time, efforts are being made to improve the energy efficiency of complete industrial processes. Digital twins play a key role in this.

ABB relies on Aalto University's expertise in the development of computing tools for electric drives.

‘In the design work, we use the computing tools and software we have developed in collaboration with Aalto University. We engage in co-operation, for example, through master's theses and doctoral dissertations', Jäppinen says.

Robust investments in product development

In Finland, there are hundreds of experts working in the product development of ABB's electrical drives. Collaboration with Aalto brings a new perspective to the work. Future products and services are being built together with students and new employees.

‘Ever since Gottfried Strömberg's days, our engine manufacturing plant in Pitäjänmäki has been able to renew itself at the right time. At the same time, it has been offering great career challenges both in Finland and abroad. There is no end to this development in sight', Jäppinen explains.

‘We can certainly expect the need for the development of technologies and new products and services to continue to remain high.’

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

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