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High-speed solid-rotor motors eliminate gearboxes

30 March, 2021

Yaskawa is introducing a range of high-speed, solid-rotor motors paired with variable-speed drives, which it says will offer “unrivalled” cost and size advantages in power ratings from 300kW–1.5MW and at speeds from 6,000–15,000 rpm.

The robust motors eliminate the need for a gearbox, while allowing applications to achieve high speeds. They avoid mechanical problems associated with gearboxes, while their low component counts cut the need for spares and maintenance.

The solid rotors provide high mechanical strength and stability, while saving space and weight. Yaskawa says that the motors need up to 50% less space than conventional designs. Each motor is paired with a matching VSD, providing speed control over its entire range, ensuring efficiency and saving energy.

Yaskawa argues that the age of the high-speed gearbox is starting to fade because technologies such as high-speed motors offer effective alternatives. Previously, the technology has been available only to large-volume customers and for high-end applications such as turbo pumps and compressors. Over the past two decades, Yaskawa and its Finnish operation, The Switch, have delivered “thousands” of high-speed motors to specialist manufacturers. Now they are being made available to a wider customer base.

Mikko Lönnberg, head of marketing and business development at Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, says that the initial purchase costs of the high-speed motor packages will be lower than those of traditional motors and gearboxes. “In most cases, eliminating gearbox losses will also make the system cheaper to operate,” he adds.

He sees the motors as offering “a unique opportunity” for applications such as fans and turbo blowers, vacuum systems, turbo generators, compressors and turbo pumps. They will allow machine-builders to create high-efficiency, direct-drive machines.

Yaskawa’s high-speed motor/drive package eliminates the need for high-speed gearboxes

As well as offering standard packages, Yaskawa will work with customers to produce versions to meet particular specifications.

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