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issue: June 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Brushless Motor System

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The Etek Brushless Motor System from Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power (Chicago, IL, U.S.) is said to offer increased performance, durability, and reduced maintenance when compared to brush-type motors used in commercial floor care equipment.

The Etek Brushless Motor System from Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power uses Neodymium Iron Boron (NeFeB) high - strength magnets in a disc rotor arrangement, which allows the motor size to be reduced while making it more powerful in a smaller area. The magnets are glued on the rotor disk, and the rotor is repelled, or rotated, by the stator windings.

The motor system’s “pancake-style,” axial-gap motor design, combined with an integrated programmable electronic motor controller, reportedly creates a motor system that offers increased power, reduced noise and maintenance, and longer run times between charges. “The Etek Brushless Motor System represents the next generation of electric motors for floor care equipment,” says John Fiorenza, principal engineer for Briggs & Stratton. The motor is capable of producing up to 15 hp (8-hp continuous).

The motor is a permanent magnet synchronous motor. It has a stationary three-phase motor winding, with a very simple permanent magnet rotor. The stationary windings, or stator, consist of copper coils placed in a laminated steel core. This is unlike other brushless motors in use, Mr. Fiorenza says, because the steel core is not made of individual laminations pressed into a motor shaft. “This motor uses a continuous strip of steel, wound like a roll of tape,” he explains.

This is said to differentiate the Etek system from other brushless motors on the market, whose rotors are typically made of laminations pressed onto a steel shaft, with the magnets glued on the circumference. “Our motor uses a 1/4-in thick, 6-in diam steel disk, with magnets glued on the face,” Mr. Fiorenza reveals. “This is a much easier part to manufacture since we do not have to stamp and assemble 50 to 100 motor laminations per motor.”

The system’s sealed aluminum housing is also said to promote increased motor durability and help ensure consistent motor performance in myriad environmental conditions.

Because a floor care application is either a high-moisture environment during scrubbing, or a dusty environment during burnishing/polishing, water and dust collects on the internal components and reduces the life of the motor when open-design motors are used, Mr. Fiorenza says. The Etek system’s fully enclosed design reportedly prevents dust and moisture intrusion, allowing the motor to last the life of the product, particularly in harsh environments.

The motor, which can be reduced in size without a loss of power through the use of high-strength magnets, also provides engineers with new design flexibility because they are able to put a motor in places that it would not have fit previously, Mr. Fiorenza explains. “For floor care appliances, it will allow the pad to be raised higher during maintenance procedures, allowing for easier pad access,” he says.

The motor also does not require maintenance, he adds, because, unlike motor brushes that need to have re-machining of commutators and replacement of gearboxes, the Etek motor system does not contain these components.

“The only moving part is a steel magnetic disk, rotating on a shaft with a sealed ball bearing at each end,” Mr. Fiorenza notes. “Because we use high-strength magnets, which are typically three times stronger than ceramic (ferrite) magnets, this allows us to shrink the motor size and make it more powerful in a smaller area.”
Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power


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