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PCB-stator axial-flux motor offers “class-leading” efficiency

06 January, 2023

Infinitum, the Texas-based developer of air-core motors with PCB stators, has announced a next-generation, axial-flux propulsion and traction motor that delivers high power and torque density and operates with “class-leading” efficiency over a wide range of speeds and load conditions to maximise vehicle ranges on or off road, on water, or in the air.

The Aircore Mobility motor has been designed to power passenger and commercial electric vehicles, as well as aviation, marine, construction, agricultural machines and auxiliary applications.

The motor replaces the heavy, copper-wound iron stators used in traditional motors with a lightweight PCB (printed circuit board) stator that is claimed to be ten times more reliable. Compared to conventional motors, it is 10% more efficient, 50% smaller and lighter, and uses 66% less copper. By replacing the iron core with a PCB stator, efficiency is increased, while mechanical losses, noise and vibration are reduced.

The liquid-cooled motor is said to achieve up to 4-5x the current density of conventional liquid-cooled motors. Its cooling technique allows the coolant to be in direct contact with the stator, removing heat across a larger surface area, and allowing high overloads and extended operating lives.

“Our air-core motor topology eliminates core losses and delivers a broader range of speeds and load conditions where the motor can operate at high efficiency levels,” says Infinitum’s vice-president of technology, Paulo Guedes-Pinto. “The Aircore Mobility motor offers a new avenue in extending range for Class 1-8 vehicles, aerospace, marine, construction and agricultural machines.”

The motor is being designed and manufactured with a sustainable, circular lifecycle in mind. It can be produced using fewer raw materials, while its modular design allows the housing, rotors, and stators to be re-used multiple times, giving parts second and third lives. The motor can be manufactured locally almost anywhere in the world, without needing complex assembly equipment. Its small size means that more motors can be shipped in the same space, cutting transportation-related emissions.

“Infinitum’s motor design using PCB stators offers promising performance and efficiency benefits for mobility applications due to superior heat mitigation and high power density,” comments Sam Abuelsamid, a principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “With supply-chain challenges, the motor’s materials, rapid assembly and scalable production should also be attractive to automotive OEMs seeking dramatically simpler manufacturing going forward.”

“Transitioning to a zero emissions future requires the electric vehicle industry to reduce waste and leverage circular design,” adds Anuj Monga, research director for mobility at Frost & Sullivan. “Aircore Mobility’s modular design and reusable components allow for easier remanufacturing and serviceability, extending motor and vehicle life.”

Infinitum’s Aircore mobility motor uses a liquid-cooling technique that removes heat across a large surface area, allowing high overloads

The motor is protected by 32 issued and 44 pending patents. It will be available from the second quarter of 2023.

Infinitum was founded in 2016 with a mission to disrupt the way electric machines consume and create energy. Its PCB-based stators with etched copper tracks replace traditional stators with copper windings. In January 2019, the company announced that its “transformational” PCB-based motor technology would cost up to 25% less to produce and weigh up to 60% less than comparable machines. A year later it revealed its first commercial product – an IE5-efficiency 15hp (11.2kW) motor aimed at HVAC fan applications.

In 2021, Rockwell Automation took an equity stake in the Texan motor developer as part of a $40m funding round that took Infinitum’s total funding to $55m. In 2022, Infinitum announced $110m of additional funding, which it is using to expand and automate assembly a 65,000ft2 (6,038m2) facility in Mexico to meet “a significant increase in demand” for its motors. The company’s total funding to date now exceeds $165m and it says it has secured more than $900m of potential orders from companies involved in heavy industry, manufacturing, HVAC and transportation.


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