Maxon motor is launching a new range of heavy-duty compact motors for use in extreme operating conditions. With its 'extreme' motors already widely used in fields as challenging as space, robotics and Formula 1, maxon accepted the challenge of creating a small motor reliable enough to operate at depths of 5000m in oil boreholes.
The resulting motor, maxon's award-winning EC22 Heavy Duty, features important refinements to its rotor, winding, magnets and bearings; together these features enable it to survive temperatures as high as 240degC and to operate reliably at 200degC and in pressures from high vacuum to 1700bar (25,000psi).
Maxon explains that the project involved constructing an entirely new testing laboratory, complete with extreme temperature facilities and vibration rigs. Here - and throughout extensive field trials - the 22mm motor was proven to perform despite vibration of up to 25 'g' rms, and resist impulse and impact forces of 100 'g' - which is 50 times those experienced by the company's motors in jet fighters and Grand Prix cars.
Moreover, testing while fully submerged in oil revealed that the motor's 80W output rating in air could comfortably be trebled under such conditions because of vastly improved heat dissipation.
Now, in response to requests from engineers, maxon will incorporate the same modifications into 16mm, 32mm and 42mm HD motors, covering a broader range of applications; further developments are promised in the near future.
Paul Williams, maxon's senior sales engineer, oversaw development of the successful EC22 HD. He comments: "A lot of engineers were already pushing our motors to the limits of their operating tolerances, so the EC22 HD has opened up new possibilities; not just in oil exploration, but all manner of fields where performance under extreme temperature, pressure or vibration is important.
"Around 50 per cent of our motors include custom specification, and in this case that has helped us to make real leaps forward in rotor technology and glue-less construction, as well as other refinements.
"These new motors will make those capabilities available to a wider range of engineers, and will doubtless inform our mainstream production in the future.
"Of course, the story does not stop there. Our challenge now is to go even further, broaden the range and hopefully push on towards 300degC!"