Hybrid Drive-Train Structures

Over the last few years, hybrid vehicles have been an important topic of conversation. While you know that they are good for the environment, do you know how they work? In part one of our hybrid series; we will discuss the two drive-trains that we work with here at Ramco Electric Motors.

There are two important types of drivetrains for hybrid vehicles. They are the parallel hybrid and a series hybrid. The parallel hybrid system is the most common form and has both an electric motor and a gas-powered combustion engine. This system derives its name from the placement of the motor and engine being on the same axis. When joined at an axis, the speeds of both the electric motor and the gas-fed engine are equal and both provide torque for the vehicle. When only one of them is being used, the other maintains its speed, by rotating idly. When they are not joined at an axis, known as the “Through the road” layout, the gas-fed engine runs one axle, while the electric motor powers the other. This layout allows hybrid vehicles to be four-wheel drive. Parallel hybrids use a smaller battery because they rely on regenerative braking and the gas-fed engine to act as a generator.

The series hybrid system is sometimes referred to as a range-extended electric vehicle (REEV). However, an extended range is possible with both the series and parallel systems. A series hybrid system is set up so that a gas-fed engine powers a generator rather than directly powering the wheels. The generator then powers the electric motor; which is responsible for powering the wheels. This system is very efficient because the gas-fed engine is designed to work at a constant speed to fully utilize the generator. In a way, it can be considered an electric transmission because the battery stores reserve power until it is needed. The series hybrid battery can be powered by the gas-fed engine or can be fitted to include regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking is standard on hybrids and works by converting energy from braking into electricity and then stores it in the battery.  Regenerative braking is accomplished by reversing the electric motor so it is not being used to power the wheels; the rotating wheels turn the motor and create electricity. This electricity is then stored in the battery. If the vehicle needs more stopping power, conventional disc brakes are enabled automatically.

Come back next month for part two of our hybrid series, covering the types of hybrids, including: hybrid-electric, full hybrids and stop/start.

What can Ramco and STEM do for you?

First, let’s talk about what exactly STEM is and why it matters.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM education is important because it is what helps the world run and is all around us.  Science is the natural world, from the grass in our front yards, to the farthest stars in our skies. Technology is most clearly evidenced by the device you’re using to read this, whether it’s a desktop with a big monitor or the latest smartphone. Engineering is responsible for designing our roads, airports and the cars and planes that use them. Mathematics is something we all use every day, whether we’re calculating a tip or doing our taxes. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% over the next several years.

Ramco Electric Motors is proud to be a part of the Partnering for Progress (P4P) initiative. Through this initiative we are looking to show students the importance of STEM education and to inform them of the opportunities that our community has for those fields. While many graduating students feel the only options are food service, retail, or even leaving the county all together, we would like to extend an invitation to explore a career in manufacturing at Ramco.

We believe so strongly in STEM education, that last year we started an engineering internship program.  Our interns are invited to work with us over their summer breaks and are invited back during their winter and spring breaks as well. We currently have two interns on staff, one studying the mechanical side and the other studying the electrical.  Our interns typically handle various engineering tasks such as routing, taking data and helping process engineers. We are also very happy to announce that we are currently working with local high schools to have interested students come in and intern for half of their school day.  If you are interested in the STEM fields, we encourage you to reach out to us here at Ramco.

Airline Industry Takes Off

Fotosearch_k8477754Commercial airlines are almost always in the news whether it is good or bad due to the fact that they are a necessary part of very many people’s lives. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, an airplane is surely the quickest way to get from point A to point B.

The global airline industry expects to see record high profits this year due to stabilized fuel costs and growing demand for travel. Hugo Martin of the LA Times notes that “The Geneva-based International Air Transport Assn. predicted that the world’s airlines will take in a combined $19.7 billion in profits this year, surpassing the previous high of $19.2 billion in 2010. The merger of several of the United States’ largest airlines helped boost profits by eliminating redundant services and cutting competition. Airlines will use some of the profits to add seats, pay down debt, raise wages and benefits for employees and update aging equipment, said Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation’s airlines.” This is great news for a once struggling industry. Commercial airlines could soon be better than ever.

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