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Lawn-mower giant targets European motors market

01 April, 2004

The US engine giant Briggs & Stratton is hopping to make inroads into the European electric motors market following the launch of a Commercial Power business which will sell brushless axial-gap motors with built-in programmable controllers. The company claims that the Etek pancake-style motors (shown below) are the first of their type in the industry.

The new Swiss-based division, which will also sell engines, aims to broaden Briggs and Stratton`s sales away from its traditional lawn-mower market.

A few years ago, B&S entered the motors market with a range of brushed motors based on the designs of the British inventor Cedric Lynch. But the company could not find a large enough market for the brushed designs so has turned to the brushless technology for the new range. The motors are available in two versions - with diameters of 20.3cm and 25.4cm - capable of delivering up to 15kW peak and 6kW continuous.

The 36V DC motors use powerful neodymium-iron-boron magnets in a disc rotor to deliver high torques at low speeds. The brushless design minimises maintenance and increases reliability compared to brushed machines. The motors are also available without the controller.

Lynch motors are still being produced in Devon by the Lynch Motor Company. Trevor Lees, who runs the company, says that business is "going nicely" and reports that his company will soon be moving to larger premises.

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