The employment of contactless inductive energy transmission for charging electric vehicles (inductive charging) along with inductive charging devices for small appliances strongly dominates public perception.
There are other diverse and comparably significant applications for contactless energy transmission in industrial environments, production engineering, machine tool construction, and automation technology.
Applications that have already entrenched themselves on the market include contactless power supply systems for overhead conveyors and driverless transport systems in production technology. These systems have been available for more than 20 years and are now established and widely used in industry. Leading manufacturers of such systems are IPT (formerly Wampfler IPT), Vahle, and SEW-Eurodrive.
Significantly smaller systems in terms of size and transmission performance have been employed in the field of automation technology for several years; whether as a wear-free replacement for sensor-actuator connectors or with the aim of enabling new degrees of freedom in automation technology systems, e.g. in the usage of rotary tables.
Suppliers of such systems are various traditional manufacturers of industrial electronics, automation technology, and measuring systems. Manufacturers and product lines are in particular BIC (Balluff Inductive Coupler) from Balluff and similar products from Tyco and Weidmüller.
The IEW has been cooperating with Balluff, the market leader in this field, for several years. Open questions are the conception and optimization of inductive energy transmission systems with small and medium power.
As part of an initial project in 2012, performance and efficiency were significantly increased by optimizing the basic system design. No changes were made to the actual coil systems, installation space, and costs.
Subsequent projects with Balluff deal with a wide range of challenges. These range from comparatively specific topics in power electronics to fundamental questions of overall design.
Balluff BIC product overview.(