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issue: October 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine Part 2: Motors & Air-Moving Devices

Motors and Air - Moving Devices
Brushing Away the Competition

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Johnson Electric conducted application based reliability (ABR) testing on a vacuum in which it developed a motor designed exclusively to power a brush bar. The "Moving Floor" ABR test shown here simulates the back and forth movement of the vacuuming process.

A leading floor care maker recently approached Johnson Electric seeking a specific solution—a motor designed for a vacuum brush bar.

According to motor manufacturer Johnson Electric, vacuum cleaners work by creating an air stream, where air near the nozzle or foot of the vacuum is sucked into the unit carrying dirt found near the nozzle. Early floor care engineers later realized that additional dirt could be collected if the carpet was agitated. This brought on the introduction of beater bars on upright vacuum cleaners. Traditionally, a belt between the vacuum motor shaft and the beater bar shaft drove the bars and, sometimes, the bars included brushes that agitated dirt on smooth surfaces.

For the most part, driving the brush bar by belt from the vacuum motor was successful in creating a more effective vacuum cleaner. However, some of the power from the vacuum motor was diverted to drive the belt and beater bar, and, consequently, there was a small loss of air power. Furthermore, there was a substantial change in noise levels as the user moved the vacuum from carpet to bare floor and the load on the motor changed. Also, the wear and tear on the belt caused the need for spare belts and a capability to change those belts as needed.

Johnson Electric, working collaboratively with the vacuum cleaner maker, recognized the drawbacks and went to work on finding a solution. The motor manufacturer's answer was to eliminate the belt altogether and place a separate motor with a direct drive on the beater bar via a gear train.
Hong Kong-based Johnson Electric elected to use a high-voltage, DC (HVDC) motor in place of the universal motor that was traditionally used for a vacuum air pump. Johnson Electric says the HVDC motor is substantially smaller in both size and weight compared to an equivalently powered universal motor, which allows the motor to fit more easily near the beater bar.

Johnson Electric says the new motor also has a considerably "flatter" curve in regard to torque versus speed. This means that for a change in load, such as moving the vacuum from carpet to bare floor, there is a much smaller change in motor speed and, therefore, a smaller change in noise level. Finally, because the beater bar motor is now separated from the vacuum motor, there is no loss of air power experienced by the vacuum system.

According to application based reliability (ABR) testing, which simulates actual conditions and test product reliability, Johnson Electric says its HVDC motors can last up to two times the life of other comparable motors and feature higher operating efficiencies. Since developing the separate motor for a vacuum beater bar, Johnson Electric says it has developed HVDC motors for other applications, including mixers, dishwashers and washing machine pumps.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Johnson Electric Group

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