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Mechanical considerations in alternator design

Mechanical Engineering is a diverse function which ranges across all aspects of engineering such as design, manufacture, validation, failure investigation etc. It is applied to almost everything, from the smallest parts (nuts, bolts etc.) up to complex systems (alternators, engines, gensets etc.).

At Cummins Generator Technologies, we have a mechanical engineering team that is committed to innovative design work, in depth multi-physics analyses, comprehensive testing and validation programmes and continual engineering support of product manufacture and release throughout the product's life cycle. The goal of the mechanical engineering team is to ensure that the alternator maintains its structural integrity whilst producing its designed electrical outputs. The power industry is always seeking to improve a machine's power to weight ratio but this is, however, not as straightforward as it sounds. The more power an alternator is made to produce, the more its structural stability is affected.

For example:-
One way of increasing an alternator's performance is to put more copper on the rotor. From a mechanical point of view this increases the stress in the rotor laminations, but it could also have an effect upon the thermal behaviour of the machine, which in turn may lead to variations in material properties and life expectancy.

In this instance the mechanical engineering team would work very closely with the electrical and thermal engineering teams, when evaluating any design changes such as this.

With advancements in modern technology, CGT promotes and encourages the use of software based analysis led design, however, the company still uses fundamental analysis in the form of hand calculations and validation through physical testing and experimentation, with calculations involving: - Dynamic Behaviour: Complex Stress and Strain: Thermal Differentials etc. which are performed by all†of our†mechanical engineers.

Our†Mechanical Engineers are trained to use numerous design and analysis software tools such as CREO, ANSYS, ROMAX etc. which all aid in the design and analysis process.

  • CREO ss a 3D modelling software package that is used to assist in the design and draughting processes. It can be used for primary design work or for making modifications to alternator components, all of which can be imported into the ANSYS software package (or any other compatible analysis software package) for analysis. Creo is also used to provide customers with 3D models of complete alternators, for the purpose of genset design and analysis.
  • ANSYS is a finite element analysis software package that analyses the effects of applying: - loads, displacements, velocities, accelerations, constraints, thermal energies, mass, inertia, stiffness etc. to the modelled components. CGT's Mechanical Engineers use ANSYS to evaluate the capability of designs to meet all required internal and external design and application performance specifications.

Whether it be Electrical, Mechanical or Thermal Engineering, the collaborative aim of our engineers is to provide customers with products that meet all of their current and future needs and expectations.