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Rockwell Automation drive creator wins innovator award


July 2, 2009
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation honored Navid Zargari from Rockwell Automation in Cambridge, Ont., as Innovator of the Year. The award celebrates inventors who have played a significant role in developing a commercially successful product or service based on a breakthrough technology.

In May, he was recognized at the Premier’s Innovation Awards ceremony in Toronto and received a $200,000 grant.

A manager of medium voltage development at Rockwell Automation, Zargari was a major contributor in developing the transformerless medium voltage motor drive, “a technology that is helping increase energy efficiency and reliability to achieve sustainability in industries, such as oil and gas, power utilities, mining and cement, and water/wastewater,” the company says.

Zargari, along with Bin Wu of Toronto’s Ryerson University and Steve Rizzo and Yuan Xiao of Rockwell Automation, co-invented the integrated DC choke for the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 7000 medium voltage (up to 34,000 horsepower/22.5 MW) drive.

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The patented, integrated DC choke helps eliminate the need for an isolation transformer to mitigate common mode voltages in the PowerFlex 7000 medium voltage drive. “This helps companies reduce manufacturing costs by 20 to 25 percent per drive,” the company says. “The DC choke also helps improve sustainability by increasing drive efficiency by nearly 40 percent and creates a smaller footprint than the previous generation of medium voltage drives by decreasing the size and weight by nearly 30 percent.”

“Navid led the research, development and technology transfer as the senior design engineer on the PowerFlex 7000 project team,” says Rizzo, manager of medium voltage drives. “His groundbreaking work has helped us grow medium voltage sales significantly with growth rates in the double digits year over year.”

The $200,000 grant will be used toward preliminary technology development and a feasibility study for wind energy conversion systems.
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