Actuator Domain Architecture: Strategy for Optimizing Weight Reduction and CO
A typical mid-range vehicle can house hundreds of electromechanical actuators. These actuators perform functionalities ranging from radiator fan, seat actuation motors, power glass to windscreen wipers. The weight and power consumption of these actuators contribute adversely towards the efficiency of the vehicle. The last decade has observed a growing trend of design modularity and normalization of actuators for inventory management. This strategy has resulted in an ill-engineered addition of actuators. This paper presents a subjective analysis of these factors resulting cause of actuator redundancy and need for optimization. Also, it investigates the functional distribution and characterization of these actuators in the vehicle. The study reveals that many of these actuators are in proximity and thus ideally suited to achieve an actuator domain architecture. Paper proposes a novel actuator domain architecture that clusters a group of identified actuators. Furthermore method of replacing the cluster of actuators with a single domain actuator has been discussed. In the domain actuator, each functionality is achieved by a passive or active interface to control the motion/actuation. The system configuration of the proposed architecture has been discussed with an example of seating systems. It establishes the technical performance imperatives for designing the proposed actuator optimization. Paper concludes with the strategy to engineering approach. The vehicle can expect a significant drop of at least 25% in actuator count. This implies a reduction in connectors, wiring harness and corresponding weight, resistance losses and overall weight reduction. This provides an excellent method of subsequent reduction in CO2 emissions.