It’s tough to get through hundreds of projects, here is some help!
i. Is this a unique solution to a particular challenge facing the world today?
There are lots of motor controllers out there, good, bad and ugly.
There are few motor controllers capable of moving a car.
There are no open source motor controllers capable of moving a car and pushing the boundaries and reach of electric vehicle technology like Axiom does.
And the world certainly needs to get good at this, motors are driving our civilization and comprise most of the energy usage, we need to accelerate our motor control tech. The best way to drive the technology forward is to open it up to the world, open source, and let all the clever and hyper interested people join together in one reliable, high power, high performance, flexible platform we’ve called Axiom.
ii. How thoroughly documented were the design process & design decisions?
I’m sure you’ve already read the project logs and really appreciate the magnitude of our work. The core work of the Axiom project is the schematic, bill of materials and main processor firmware; all open source. Although it only took a few weeks to generate the schematic and bill of materials, they are based on nearly two decades of intense professional design for high performance electric vehicles as well as commercial and military aircraft. In fact, the team members came together on a side project (managed by Arlin Sansome) to help with some of the motor control technology elements to push the boundary beyond reasonable limits, directly into world record breaking limits. Needless to say there is a wealth of experience on the team which allows for generating working schematics in a short period of time. The design itself is heavily documented. Simulation using Matlab/Simulink and PSpice helps to define circuit functional basics to system integration. MathCAD/Smath was used for much of the advanced analysis such as electrical stress, component sensitivity and tolerance analysis.
iii. How ready is this design be taken to market?
Several individuals, companies and universities are already stretching the muscles of their Axiom drives. We have been selling beta boards and complete controllers for a few months now to get early feedback while simultaneously building up some operational hours to prove out the design. We are expecting to take the product to market in 2020 for turn key 100kW motor drive power.
iv. How complete is the project?
Axiom is a complex convergence of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, thermals, firmware, software, safety, racing, distributed work, user interface, artwork and the will to meet the most challenging requirements.
The Axiom control board product is already complete, working to control a limited number of high powered motor drives all over the world and will be available with all the bells and whistles in a complete high power, high performance, full up motor drive in 2020.
i. Concept- Is the project creative, original, functional, and pushing boundaries? Does the project benefit society in some way?
Axiom sports a creative assembly to simplify the production, it's been proven by many customers, not to mention the thousands of smaller controllers out there using the same VESC software we use and contribute to, and it is fueling the boldest high power applications not only electric cars but also turbogenerators, bikes, ROVs, big machinery and more.
If Axiom succeeds in its quest, the whole world will become better at spinning motors -one of the major energy consumers-. Pushing the boundaries is exactly where the Axiom product positions itself. An earlier version of the hardware broke the world record for fastest front wheel drive car on the ¼ mile¹. In fact, Arlin is currently working on the next iteration using Axiom to reaching higher and pushing boundaries further²
ii. Design- Is there a depth of design detail available (like a system design, CAD models, project test methods, etc)? Is there base-level planning for the functionality (eg: functional block diagram, list of specifications and how they will be met, etc.)? How user-friendly is the design?
Glad you asked! Block diagram, schematic, enclosure, powerstage validation, safety mechanisms, a datasheet outlining the specifications and application notes describing how it all works in a full up controller. But that’s not all, there’s also an awesome open source graphical user interface (GUI) making motor setup easy and providing tools for deep data analysis.
The electronic bits of the full up motor drive are established. What we are still working on is how to package the product such that it is quick to assemble while remaining visually stunning.
iii. Production- Is the project reproducible (consider materials, skills, and processes)? Are the manufacturing processes detailed? Are those processes realistic for scalability?
Axiom has been designed from the ground up to be easy to assemble, reducing wiring, parts and streamlining the setup of each unit.
A single sided control board, its friendly bill of materials, and very standard manufacturing processes are in place for production. The Axiom control board is already in limited production, populated and tested using automated means. The control board is designed for drop in place into the full up motor drive to be offered by EV Power Designs Inc. Ease of assembly is paramount to long term success as a product. We are currently working on good packaging so that the Axiom control board can be quick ‘drop in’ installed along with all the other components that make up the complete motor drive.
iv. Benchmark- How well is the project impact and viability demonstrated? Are estimated costs realistic? Are direct, indirect, and future competitors clearly identified?
The best way to gauge axiom success is with the sheer amount of requests, multiplied by the fact of being in a premium and high margins market. The Axiom control board has exact pricing for producing in batches of 10, fully populated, firmware loaded and product tested. The full up motor drive, which uses Axiom control board, also has a completed bill of materials with exact pricing, assembly and functional test costs included. The only part of the full of 100kW motor drive that has not yet been confirmed is the mechanical enclosure but we have some promising quotes.
In terms of viability, the best proof is if there are interested buyers in many markets. We get requests for pricing and availability every day from individuals working on a hobby project to large corporations looking to jump start their R&D division. We take this as a positive sign of product viability.
There is really no need to compete with low prices, as Axiom simply delivers better what the market needs: a powerful and reliable motor controller that can be deeply tuned to your needs.
v. Communication- How thoroughly have the final round requirements been completed? How well documented is the project? How “Open” is the design? Is the project marketable?
Documentation is key for our customers so we have a datasheet, a full schematic available, bill of materials, 3D models and 150.000 lines of open source firmware, software and toolchains for our customers to build upon. We have an application note that describes how to include the Axiom control board into a full up motor drive. Furthermore, we also sell the complete full motor drive including our custom made DC link capacitor and Axiom control board. We believe the product is highly marketable for two reasons. The automotive industry is huge and moving into “all electric” at a staggering pace.
The marketing campaign will get shocking when we get to show the sheer power of Arlin's honda CRX powered by 2 Axioms and the list of customers test driving an Axiom in their own unique and interesting applications. We are hopeful to have the opportunity to learn from Supplyframe’s knowledgeable staff and industry contacts to help this marketing and advertising campaign make productive business to business connections.