Skip to main content

Motorola's 'Smart' Ware Could Cut Energy Costs

PHOENIX, ARIZ., May 30, 2000 - Motorola Inc. today launched a new line of chips, systems, and software for energy-smart motors that could help manufacturers and consumers cut their energy use by up to 50 percent.

Motorola's expanding line of DigitalDNA solutions -- microcontrollers (MCUs), digital signal processors (DSPs) and embedded application software -- provide precise, digital control and flexibility to appliances and industrial equipment.

How it works:

With applications possible in everything from washing machines to space stations, digitally controlled motors constantly adjust their work output to meet their demand. In the case of a washing machine, such a motor would provide a more efficient agitation cycle and draw less water than a conventional motor, allowing a shorter high speed spin cycle. The result: less mechanical work and potentially drier clothes.

Motorola's DigitalDNA also lets chips "know" when a machine they're running is in trouble. For example, a submersion pump in a car s fuel tank could overheat if the pressure becomes too great. A digitally controlled pump can detect the overload and shut down the pump before it overheats and puts the engine block at risk.

Do smart chips have a future? Appliance industry leaders are banking on it.

Motorola s microcontroller devices are an important part of our global efforts to design, produce and market energy-efficient appliances, said Phil Pejovich, vice president of corporate technology and engineering at Whirlpool Corporation. The added flexibility and processing power of DSPs opens up a wider range of energy and cost-saving ideas for our products."

Timing is everything

The emergence of motors that address "green energy" concerns come at an ideal time as manufacturers rev up for the worldwide demand for more energy-efficient products.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that electric motors use 60 percent of the world's electrical power with refrigeration consuming nearly 10 percent of the world's energy. U.S. homeowners spend $128 billion each year to operate such home appliances as refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dryers, water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, and lights. These appliances account for about 70 percent of all energy used in homes. By bringing digital electronic control to motors through the use of embedded chips, Motorola estimates manufacturers and consumers will save 30 percent to 50 percent of that energy.

More on this topic