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maxon goes to extremes

15 December 2010

A new New brushless motor designed for world’s toughest operating conditions, 22mm brushless motor, developed in collaboration with the UK’s oil exploration industry, has rewritten the rule book on shock, vibration and temperature tolerances expected from commercial electric drives.

Cited as the most robust motor maxon has ever produced, the electrically commutated EC22 HD (Heavy Duty) was originally designed to drive downhole technology at depths of around 5,000m, in boreholes up to seven miles long.

Building on maxon’s long experience of driving applications as demanding as fighter jets and NASA Mars rovers, the new motor boasts entirely new concepts of rotor manufacture, along with a new modular hall-effect device. A high temperature test facility was constructed, and extensive field trials undertaken, to ensure total reliability under Earth’s most extreme operating conditions.

The resulting Heavy Duty version has been tested successfully at temperatures as high as 240°C and under atmospheric pressure conditions from high vacuum to 1,700bar (25,000psi).

Moreover, the redesigned motor has been proven to withstand vibration of up to 25grms and resist impulse and impact forces of 100G: 50 times that undergone by maxon’s motors in Formula 1 cars.

Remarkably, the EC22 HD can operate while fully submerged in oil; trebling its initial 80 watt output rating because of improved heat dissipation, to deliver 240 watts from its 22mm-diameter frame.

Development and field testing of the new motor was overseen in the UK by maxon senior sales engineer Paul Williams, working closely with leading British oil exploration companies and engineers at maxon’s Swiss technology centre.

He says: "Without a doubt, this is the most robust and rigorously tested maxon motor ever… and when you bear in mind it’s a maxon, that’s really saying something.

Although developed to perform critical actuation functions in downhole tools, maxon believes the new motor’s unparalleled tolerances will quickly make it a firm favourite with design engineers in all manner of industries where reliability is essential. An efficiency rating of 88% in air (over 70% in oil) also make the EC22 HD particularly suitable for battery-powered technologies.

Paul Williams continues: "There are no second chances when you're three miles under the sea bed, and the stakes could hardly be higher. Everything rests on the motor taking the environment in its stride, and working absolutely perfectly, every time.

"Thankfully, with motors in surgical robots, aeroplane autopilots and even in space, we are well used to living up to that sort of responsibility."

The EC22 High Temperature features in the 2010/11 maxon motor catalogue, available from maxon motor UK. Contact Maxon House, Hogwood Lane, Finchampstead, Berks, RG40 4QW; telephone 01189 733337, email

salesuk@maxonmotor.com, or visit the www.maxonmotor.co.uk.

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