Industrial Automation and Power Electronics Laboratory - MElting Lab

Main contact person : Claudio Bianchini

Referent: Davide Barater.

The MElting Lab laboratory was born with the specific aim to melt together knowledge in the mechanical, electronic and the electric engineering fields. MElting Lab is part of the Department of Engineering Enzo Ferrari of the University of Modena and Reggio and supports research and teaching in the field of Power Electronics, Electric Drives and Electrical motors.

Our expertise is attested by the participations in research projects at both national and European level, the ongoing collaborations with companies and a number of scientific publications in leading journals and conference proceedings. MElting Lab group has successfully coordinated two European Projects (ALEA and RAISE) in the field of green mobility, aiming to improve efficiency and reliability of electric drives.

The main research areas are:

  • Motor Drives

Research on motor drives is mainly focused on the development of advanced digital motor control techniques based on microcontrollers, Digital Signal Processors (DSP) and FPGA. Our main goals are the optimization of control strategies and the improvement of driving efficiency by means of high dynamic control and advanced PWM strategies. The activity concerns AC Motor Vector Control techniques, involving sophisticated magnetic models or state observers and including synchronous (SPI) or asynchronous (SCI) digital communication field bus, as CANBUS or ModBus. Typical applications are drives for hybrid/electric traction for the automotive and the more electric aircraft sectors. 

  • Power Converters

Research in this area deals with high quality and high efficiency DC-DC/DC-AC power converters based on wide-bandgap power devices, such as SiC and GaN. In the last years, our research in this field has led to the design of several Automotive, PV plants and Industrial converters with power range sweeping from few kVA, up to 1MVA. The research team holds many patents about Power Converters Architectures and innovative PWM modulation strategy.

Our research also deals with the sustainability and integration of the different energy storage technologies to meet the requirement of high specific energy and power of modern green transportation systems. 

  • Electrical Machines

MElting Lab holds a strong expertise in electrical machine design by Analytical or Finite Element Methods. Synchronous Reluctance Motors (SynchRel), Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSM), both with surface or interior PM, are the most promising research subjects. Complex multiphysics, electromagnetic and thermal simulations are performed to meet the best performance in power density and torque density. Another topic concerns the study of the impact of fast voltage transitions (dv/dt), enabled by wide-bandgap devices, on the reliability of the electric drives and degradation of the winding insulation system.

The laboratory has facilities for the design of PCB and, thanks to the Matlab/Simulink Campus licence plus Simulink Coder Toolbox, it is possible to design sophisticated control algorithms and to automatically generate code, compliant to industrial and automotive standards, for a wide number of DSP and Microcontroller families. 

MElting Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentations for research in the field of power electronics and electric drives. Among the others: a 4 channel Power Meter, able to measure active and reactive power, currents, voltages, efficiency and to perform power quality analysis; Digital Oscilloscopes 4/8 channels with current and high voltage differential probes; typical electronic instruments such as multimeter, power sources, smd soldering stations; DSP development systems; an electric motor test rig; and a 320 Amps battery test/emulator.