Rugged, Efficient Drives Keep UAVs Flying

Compact, high-power-density drives run electromechanical rotor in innovative helicopter drone

Whether they serve military, civil, or industrial applications, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) make the world a safer place. Helicopter drones offer great maneuverability, including hovering, fast turns, and vertical takeoff and landing. For decades, however, designs have used mechanical linkages to position the blades. They get the job done but they are also large, heavy, and complicated. When Chinese manufacturer ZHZ set out to design an improved helicopter drone, they wanted to replace traditional mechanical control assemblies with electromechanical technology. To accomplish that goal, they needed high-power-density servo drives tough enough to survive the vibration and harsh operating conditions of diesel-driven flight. They found their solution in ultra-rugged ExtrIQ Hornet servo drives from Elmo Motion Control.

ExtrIQ drives are specifically designed for harsh environments. They boast fast servo-loop bandwidth, built-in EtherCAT/CAN networking functionality, and have field-proven reliability from serving some of the world’s most critical missions on land, air, and underwater. The high power density of the drives enables ZHZ to minimize the size and weight of the electrical cabinet, so that the fuel goes into lifting payload and extending range, and not simply to getting the aircraft off the ground.

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