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issue: September 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
Brushless Motors with Neodymium Magnets


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The new EC-max series brushless motors from Maxon Precision Motors are said to deliver the performance and lifetime of a brushless motor, but at a reduced cost.

The new EC-max series brushless motors are offered with several different windings to optimize desired speed with available voltage. Hall-effect sensors are also built into the motors in order to provide feedback to the control electronics.

Utilizing an improved automated manufacturing process, Burlingame, CA, U.S.-based Maxon claims it can cost effectively offer OEMs the advantages of brushless d.c. motors. “By automating the manufacturing process (as much as possible), the labor costs can be kept to a minimum, resulting in a less expensive motor,” explains Michael D. Rogen, vice president of Electronics Sales and Marketing.

The automated process involves assembling the motor such that the coils are outside the rotor. This, the company says, allows the motor to attain good heat dissipation and high overload capability.

In addition, because the new motors are electronically commutated, the company says the short life associated with mechanical brushes is eliminated and reliability is increased. The electronic commutation is also said to allow for minimum electrical noise. “Arcing is a given in the design of traditional brush motors. Eliminating the brushes eliminates the associated arcing,” notes Mr. Rogen. “Although there can still be some electrical noise due to the control electronics, the brush noise is no longer a factor. Electrical noise is often problematic in causing disturbances to electronic equipment.”

Another feature of the EC-max series is that the motors utilize high-energy neodymium magnets, which Maxon says results in a very responsive mechanical time constant—as low as 5 ms—while minimizing overall size. “The neodymium magnets result in a higher torque output in a given volume; therefore, we have a more responsive motor,” Mr. Rogen tells APPLIANCE. “Motor engineers quantify the ability to accelerate quickly via the ‘mechanical time constant,’ which is defined as the time it takes for an unloaded motor to accelerate from standstill to 63 percent of its no load speed with the nominal voltage applied. A motor that has the capability to accelerate quickly is important for minimizing move times, which is critical for many applications, and also increases throughput in production applications.”

Designed with a stainless-steel housing, the motors vary in diameter from 16 to 40 mm (0.63 to 1.57 in), with length sizes ranging from 24 to 88 mm (0.94 to 3.46 in). Continuous output power is from 5 to 120 W, while maximum speed is up to 20,000 RPM. The motors’ ambient temperature range is -40°C to 100°C (-40°F to 212°F).

Due to their high performance and long lifetime, Maxon says its EC-max motors are well suited for a variety of applications, including automation, bio-medical devices, pick- and place-machines, robotics, pumps, and semiconductor manufacturing.

 

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