Page 20 - Power & Data Connectivity Expand Electronic Capabilities eBook
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 » Improving operator use must be a focus for future design development.
In the case of autonomous charging, the connector design needs to be completely rethought. There are four different options to address this problem:
• Sliding contacts mounted on the floor or wall offer a reliable and compact solution.
• Wall-mounted docking connectors enable the transfer of power and data. This method is also more forgiving regarding misalignment.
• Wireless charging can offer increased reliability in difficult environments and can withstand a larger margin for misalignment.
• Robotic charging utilizes multi-axis robotic arms to plug in a charging connector. While sophisticated, this method is still in the early stages of development.
With new battery technologies come unique benefits and challenges, all of which will continue to evolve with the powertrain.
4. Develop with end-to-end design in mind
The electric powertrain contains five core components: a charging station, a battery with a battery management system, a power distribution unit, a motor controller, and a motor. Typically, the design process for an electric powertrain begins with defining the system requirements and functional specifications of parts. Then, details and component choices are typically designed in isolation. A more holistic approach, however, can be far more beneficial. When designing with end-to-end in mind, efficiencies can be identified across components. For example, similar contactor circuits can be used in charging stations, battery management systems, and power distribution centers. Signal and power distribution connectors can be harmonized. Working with a big picture view leads to a reduction of engineering and qualification work, optimizing the entire system.

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