Alma Automotive is supporting PUNCH Hydrocells in an advanced project focused on the development of innovative combustion control strategies for future hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines.
Alma Automotive plays a crucial role in this advanced project collaboration, offering highly specialized technical support and innovative components. The groundbreaking devices, capable of non-invasively controlling combustion, have proven to be a decisive contribution to the efficiency and reliability of hydrogen-powered propulsion systems.
Another noteworthy aspect is the strong bond between Alma Automotive and the University of Bologna. This collaboration with the educational institution has facilitated a constant exchange of knowledge and access to cutting-edge resources and expertise in hydrogen propulsion research.
The collaboration between Alma Automotive and PUNCH exemplifies both companies' commitment to innovation and sustainability in the field of mobility. The use of hydrogen as an energy source holds the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry, and this partnership is laying the foundation for a cleaner and more efficient future.
PUNCH Hydrocells has earned an excellent reputation in part thanks to our rich and storied background in automotive engineering. With more than twenty years’ experience in developing diesel engines and control systems, we are now building on that heritage to provide answers to the many problems facing the transition of energy sources which is so vital for tackling climate change.
We have the benefit of a world-class team of highly skilled experts across several specialized fields including artificial intelligence, control electronics, and mechanical and electrical engineering. This diverse team allows PUNCH Hydrocells to cover the entire value-chain of the hydrogen ecosystem, incorporating: Production, Storage and Distribution, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines.
We make hydrogen power a practical proposition by delivering:
for propulsion and power generation
We build our excellence around passionate and professional people.
Sanitization activities currently dominate 60-80% of technical service field operations, exclusively handled by technicians due to the operation's complexity, health risks associated with sanitizer solutions, and the inability to monitor crew actions.
This situation presents a clear trade-off for businesses. On one hand, increasing technical visits can ensure the best quality of sanitization services, but it may lead to higher operational costs and resource constraints. On the other hand, expanding dispensing installations geographically and reaching low-volume outlets can improve efficiency but might compromise the consistency and quality of sanitization.
Finding the right balance is crucial. Introducing innovative solutions, like automated monitoring systems and safer sanitization technologies, could mitigate health risks and improve efficiency while maintaining high-quality standards. Businesses need to strategically assess their priorities and leverage advanced techniques to strike a harmonious equilibrium between optimal sanitization outcomes and operational effectiveness.
These challenges have paved the way for Hi-ClO, a real game-changing solution of Celli Group based on a Gate srl technology, engineered with Alma Automotive and UQIDO.
Hi-ClO offers an effective remedy to the challenges faced by traditional sanitization methods, making it a promising innovation for the future of technical services by reducing dependency on manual interventions.
Hi-ClO optimizes resource allocation and improves overall efficiency in the sanitization process, eliminating health hazards and empowering businesses to maintain consistent disinfection standards.
The Alma Automotive crew designs and produces all the electronic parts dedicated to the digitalization of the Celli group equipment. The Company’s products are the key elements between the drink dispenser machines and cloud data analytics.
Hi-ClO is eco-friendly, stronger in respect to actual solution and safe.
The electronics inside the Hi-ClO allows the system to be connected in two different ways:
Celli Group and Uqido
Celli Group is a global leader in the field of beverage dispensing systems and accessories for beer, soft drinks and water. With almost 1000 employees and located near Rimini, Celli runs 10 manufacturing plants in Italy, France, Spain and the UK, and has sales offices in Germany, Singapore, Brazil, and the United States, selling its products to over 100 countries worldwide. The Group is recognised by its clients for its innovation, digital capabilities, design, quality as well as for a strong ESG push. The Group has acquired the Italian software house Uqido in July 2022 with the aim to lead the digital and technological transition of the beverage industry, providing the dispensing world with new digital interaction and consumer experiences. Founded in 2010, Uqido is an Italian excellence based in Padua and Milan which operates in the ICT and new technologies sector. With its team of 30 developers, it specialises in four main business lines - IOT, Augmented and Virtual Reality, AI solutions and ERP platforms - accompanying companies and partners towards Digital Transformation paths through advanced engineering projects.
The partnership with the most important OEMs and the University of Bologna allows Alma-Automotive to look forward into the future through its fully programmable ECU SPARK applied in innovative fuel systems. Thanks to a wide I/O interface and SW flexibility, together with our partners, we implemented the SPARK into an engine test bench dedicated to development phases.
The SPARK is a fully programmable control prototyping system based on sbRIO-9651. The Xilinx Zynq™, with its Dual Core ARM® Processor, Artix-7 FPGA on top and 512MB RAM, provides outstanding flexibility, efficiency and accuracy, enabling complex control algorithms and signal processing to be performed. NI solution expanded with our in-house designed hardware result in a system capable to meet the needs of any standard, motorsport and development application.
SPARK’s power stage is able to command the most common high and low pressure injectors (gasoline, diesel, H2, gas) and coils (active or passive) with a full programmatical and flexible SW approach.
Injectors' parameters are calculated in open loop chain or in closed loop system, using the two available lambda UEGO channels, to increase precision on test.
To minimize time consuming, maximize precision of test results and decrease costs, we customized the SPARK software to directly implement the engine control and thanks to the internal ADC at 200 kS/s, we integrated the combustion analysis software (Alma-Automotive On Board Indicating) for 2 cylinders engines. In this configuration, the ECU could control the engine with real-time feedback on last cycle combustion without any external combustion analysis device.
CAN, RS232 and TTL protocol allows every user to easy integrate SPARK in research & development laboratories, test benches or on-board application as a primary or secondary unit, based on customer need.
Alma Automotive gives to its costumers the possibility to autonomously implement software strategies or rely on the experience of internal engineers, with competence in software development and engine testing activities with both traditional and innovative fuel applications.
Battery health and energy saving are crucial factors to consider for any electric vehicle powertrain systems. A battery that fails unexpectedly can be a major inconvenience, leading to huge performance degradation, costly repairs and lost time. To address this issue, AI-powered algorithms have been developed to monitor battery State of Health and operating conditions in Real-Time. These algorithms provide alerts for battery issues and even predict potential failures before they occur.
Our battery performance and health predictor algorithm has been developed to release power and usable energy increase. Implementing advanced State of Health estimation and reliable safety logics, this AI-based system makes the Electric Powertrain Management System more powerful.
AI algorithms need a huge amount of data to well train the models. Indeed, data acquisition and management for AI based applications are usually critical issues for the model development. This is the reason why, as explained in our recent news, R&D engineers’ efforts have been firstly dedicated to the implementation of reliable and accurate models. In our approach, simulation results can be a source of data to train the AI model, improving and speeding up its training process.
A sneak peek of our Battery Performance Algorithm application is here reported. In the experiment performed, a battery pack internal resistance variation has been triggered. The algorithm analyses the input signals during a specified time buffer and from that moment on, it is able to estimate an overall warning index related to the operating and health conditions of the battery pack.
Even if the battery electrical and thermal features continue to be inside the acceptable range, our AI algorithm detects the anomaly operation and it is able to trigger both alarms and safety logics if needed.
Battery pack performances are widely affected by the temperature of the cells. It is basically all related to their chemical and physical nature. Moreover, cell temperature relies on several factors such as cell internal resistance and cell heat exchange.
An accurate battery pack thermal model implies a deep knowledge on thermo and fluid dynamics of the system components, not only inside the battery but also in all the sub-systems working with the heat transfer medium.
The figure below shows the results of an experiments carried out during our validation activities of a racing electric powertrain with a liquid cooled battery pack. Cell and coolant temperatures are modeled with a maximum error of ±1.5°C.
The model is able to simulate the temperature of each cell inside the battery pack, keeping the computational effort low, and allowing the use of the model even in Real-Time applications. The model is flexible and easily tunable to cover the whole range of thermal management solutions.
Compact models with accurate results is the main goal we aim to accomplish.
In this case, a brief comparison between simulated battery pack voltage and State of Charge with experimental data is shown. Our battery pack model is an easly tunable model that can be used to simulate the electrical performances of HV battery packs composed with different Li-ion cell types.
Thanks to several calibration activities, our model allows us to simulate the battery pack voltage with a relative error lower than 1% with respect to the experimental data and the battery State of Charge with an absolute error even lower than 1%.
The variety of applications in which the model has been deployed enables us to check simulations reliability and precision, verifying the goodness of the results in 800V automotive powertrains architectures and many other.
What distinguishes us from existing solutions:
Alma Automotive provides electrified test cells and its expertise to offer testing services dedicated to electric powertrains. Our test engineers are ready to supervise the tests and create accurate reports at the end of each one, following the customers in every step.
The company has developed a model capable to perfectly simulate the battery pack, starting from the characterization of the cells used or supposed to be used. The system can emulate the electrical and thermal behavior of the device under test. Having the ability to drive power electronics from several suppliers, our system is very flexible and accurate. The common 600V DC bus is used to drive a 200kW battery emulator up to 1050V.
The electric machine to be used as a dynamometer is chosen according to the specific needs of the test: this can be supplied directly from the Borghi&Saveri catalog or purchased ad hoc from our selected suppliers.
Various tests can be performed for the characterization of the electric powertrain, including:
Each test cell is equipped with an acquisition system based on the National Instruments platform, featured with temperature, pressure and accelerometer sensors. The test management system can directly or remotely control every component of the test cell, such as ventilation, power supplies, safety systems and it can digitize any type of test cell transducer.
Thanks to our custom-made thermal management system, we are able to simulate and reproduce the thermal management of the electric motor and inverter. We are able to perform motor and inverter tests by managing the coolant temperature in real time, emulating the temperature profile that would actually occur in the driving cycle or by testing the components at a desired temperature.
The system installed in the test room allows to the mechanical characterization of the system, by measuring:
Drag tests can be conducted to measure mechanical losses and we are able to electrically characterize the system under test, using precision power analyzers.
We can also supply our Predictive Maintenance tool to determine deviations from healthy conditions of the device under test in working conditions.
The A.I. based system uses input data to estimate expected indicators levels (plant model) and then compares them with actual indicators intensities. The approach can be extended to estimate the remaining useful life or optimal maintenance intervals.
Beverage companies do not know the exact dynamics that involve their own products in the so-called "last mile".
The question is: when, how, and who is pouring a drink?
Over more, the increasingly need to monitor the operating status of the equipment, implementing predictive maintenance algorithms and measuring the performance levels of the individual components, leads towards the use of connected technologies.
The Alma Automotive solution
Long time experience in high demanding manufacturing sectors, let Alma Automotive be the perfect partner for multiple services, from professional engineering consulting up to a complete electronic systems design.
To support the upcoming “digital revolution”, Celli Group decides to entrust the design and production of their electronic systems applied on the “smart" beverage equipment to Alma Automotive, while developing in house a complete cloud based solution for OTA management and Analytics.
A close-knit group of R&D Electronics Engineers have been dedicated to the activity, leading Celli Group to reach a full-proprietary architecture called Celli Digital Solutions and conduct several field-tests, in very short time, then launching mass production.
The innovative IoT electronic platform engineered by Alma Automotive, is leveraged by Celli Group in several industries as water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Celli Digital Solutions is in making dispensing systems “smart” by allowing them to collect and send data to a processing system to obtain valuable information on the equipment’s status, on the quality of the dispensed beverage, and on consumption habits.
It is possible to monitor in real time the status of installations, consumption, offer management, promotions, price and payments, promptly and effectively managing service and maintenance on all the installed base. This is an efficient solution from a management stand point but above all from an eco-sustainable one.
Celli Digital Solutions provides remote control over all the host systems through the ability to check the perfect conditions of the equipment at all times, or to take immediate action in case of problems. It therefore allows to leverage on huge potentials and to achieve true competitive advantages, including: sharp reduction of downtimes, limited on-site interventions, optimal spare part supply management.
QR code and NFC tag reader, touch screen, UVC led, and many other components for collecting data and creating a totally customised experience.
Celli SpA was created in Rimini in 1974, dedicated to the world of beverage dispensing and cooling. In 2009 the company was in a strong growth phase and hence moved to its current headquarters in San Giovanni in Marignano. In 2013, the Celli family then sold part of the company shares to the Italian private equity fund Consilium. This step projected the company towards great new challenges of expansion and internationalization, transforming a company that is already a leader in the sector of drink and beer dispensing equipment into a virtuous and established multinational company, which today is known as the Celli Group.
Benefitting from the direct experience of its founders, Celli immediately developed a customer-oriented approach. Having a company vision that is always attentive to innovation and technology has led to constant investments in research and development to create increasingly performing and efficient products. These products are, at the same time, sustainable and able to meet the needs of users. Two decisive aspects that have always guided the company: the reduction of the environmental impact that the plants produce and the experimentation of material and components. The R&D team's constant commitment of the Celli Group team has given concrete results. This includes over 30 patents developed in the last 20 years and great results achieved in the use of sustainable materials and substances in its new product line. All this has been achieved without sacrificing excellent performance. Today, the Celli products are exported to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Let's take a closer look at the case of UniBoAT, an educational and research project of the University of Bologna. It allows students and PhD students to apply their knowledge developing solutions aimed at sustainable mobility. The single-seat racing catamaran "Futura" takes energy from different sources: high pressure hydrogen converted into electricity via a fuel cell, latest generation lithium batteries and high efficiency solar panels.
The team participates in the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge (MCSEBC), an international competition open to the public, which welcomes students and professionals from all over the world to compete in three different classes: Energy, Solar and Open Sea Class
Boat & Propulsion Characteristics:
UniBoAT needed to boost the electric motor reaching state-of-the-art performance.
Alma Automotive designed a completely new inverter that controls the electric motor in order to extract the highest possible power.
The Company involved its own group of engineers dedicated to the development of electrification solutions in order to design the new power and control electronics, that guarantee greater performance without affecting the reliability of the Electric Boat Drive.
Starting from the original device, we have completely redesigned the electronic board. It was possible to double the native power, remaining within the geometries originally envisaged for the commercial inverter. The result does not affect the reliability and it ensures the maximum efficiency.
The system is based on a STM32F4 family microcontroller, it has a CAN interface used for control and a USB interface for configuration.
With the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, the process of replacing technologies that use fossil fuels with those that use electricity has taken over. Focusing on public/private transport and agriculture sectors, we are witnessing an increasingly massive use of electrical technologies to replace traditional powertrains.
The magnitudes involved have changed compared to the past, leading us to develop automated test systems for elements with high specific power, generally with the need of liquid cooling.
Alma Automotive designs and produces customized test benches for high voltage components (up to 1000V), based on NI (National Instruments) platform, giving to V&V engineers tools to minimize development times and increase productivity.
In addition to this, the know-how gained on hardware systems, allows us to always be up to the project requirements while maintaining the excellent balance between performances and available budget.
The HIL systems dedicated to verify and validation (V&V) the control devices present in electrified vehicles, need to have a platform that allows you to:
Alma Automotive supplies test benches capable to:
📍 We are at Hall 10, Booth 1376
Automotive Testing Expo is the world’s leading international expo for every aspect of automotive testing, development and validation technologies, taking place every year in Detroit, Shanghai and Stuttgart. In Europe, as elsewhere, it is the leading event for the technologies and services in ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing, electric and hybrid powertrain testing, battery and range testing, EMI and NVH test and analysis and the full spectrum of test and validation technologies for full-vehicle, component and systems development.
Via Terracini 2 , 40131 Bologna
Via Provinciale Bologna 28/30
40066, Pieve di Cento (BO)
Gli aiuti di Stato e gli aiuti de minimis ricevuti dalla nostra impresa sono contenuti nel Registro nazionale degli aiuti di Stato di cui all’art. 52 della L. 234/2012 e consultabili qui