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Brushless motor tackles toughest operating conditions

08 November, 2010

The Swiss motor manufacturer maxon has developed a 22mm-diameter brushless motor that, it claims, rewrites the rule book on shock, vibration and temperature tolerances for commercial electric drives. The electronically commutated EC22 HD (heavy duty) motor was developed in collaboration with the UK oil exploration industry and is designed to operate at depths of around 5km in boreholes up to 11km long.

As part of the motor’s development programme, a high-temperature test facility was built, and extensive field trials were undertaken. The motor (above) been operated at temperatures up to 240°C and under atmospheric pressure conditions from high vacuum to 1,700bar. It has also been proven to resist impulse and impact forces of 100G – 50 times higher than forces experienced in Formula 1 cars. It can operate while submerged in oil, trebling its 80W output rating to 240W because of the improved heat dissipation.

“Without a doubt, this is the most robust and rigorously tested maxon motor ever,” says maxon senior sales engineer Paul Williams, who worked with British oil exploration companies and engineers at maxon’s Swiss technology centre, to develop the motor. The heavy-duty design required new concepts of rotor manufacture, along with a new modular Hall effect device.

Although developed to perform critical downhole actuation functions, maxon believes the new motor will also appeal to other industries where reliability is essential. The motor’s efficiency of 88% in air (and above 70% in oil) makes it particularly suitable for battery-powered applications.

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