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issue: August 2007 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Designing inside the Box

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Appliance engineers with tight space constraints have a new motor option that offers a thin profile and high performance.

The planetary gear train pancake motor is available with a 3.75° step angle, has 4:1 gear ratio, and provides up to 120 oz•in. of torque (85 N•cm). High torque density is achieved through use of advanced magnetic materials.

At just 18.5 mm thick and 80 mm in diameter, a new planetary gear train pancake motor from Haydon Switch & Instrument, Inc. uses a unique rotor design. According to Keith Kowalski, vice president of technology for the Waterbury, CT, U.S.-based supplier, the motor’s gear train is built inside the rotor. “This design utilizes the concept of keeping everything concentric,” he tells APPLIANCE. “Permanent magnet (PM) stepping motors typically have a hollow space in the rotor; this space for a traditional motor, so they came to us for help,” Kowalski says.

The new motor required a complete redesign of the rotor and support assembly. “Only the stator is common with the non–gear train motor,” Kowalski explains. “In addition, thin-section bearings are used to support the many rotating components. Every bit of space was utilized.”

The company’s design strategy was for engineers to rethink the gearbox design. “A traditional gearbox design would not fit inside the motor,” Kowalski explains. “Instead of stacking components axially, everything was done in a concentric manner. Everything was designed with the minimum thickness to get the job done, and components were integrated as much as possible since subassemblies would have occupied too much space.”

Other features of the motor include high torque density through use of advanced magnetic materials, and like most PM-type stepping motors, low weight. “In addition, the design has an inherent simplicity with only the necessary moving parts,” Kowalski adds.

The end result is a new motor that can be utilized in devices that require high-torque, low-speed position capability in a slender package. Possible applications include security appliances and medical devices. “Although this product is certainly not
application-specific, an example would be some sort of peristaltic pump that must be worn by a patient at certain periods,” Kowalski says. “The motor would be thin and as unobtrusive as possible and would not weigh as much as other motor solutions.”

Because the motor operates as a traditional stepping motor, no special controls are required, making installation easy. Kowalski also says that the company is able to match mounting and shaft configurations to a customer’s unique request.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, Inc.

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