3D printing of motor windings eliminates traditional drawbacks
Two US companies have developed a new way to produce copper windings for motors using 3D printing which they say eliminates many of the limitations of traditional winding manufacturing techniques. Pennsylvania-based ExOne, which specializes in metal and sand 3D printers using binder jet technology, collaborates with a Tennessee-based start-up called Maxxwell Motors to develop ‘unique’ copper windings for flux motors Axial Maxxwell, which avoid the need for magnets and rare earths.
The copper windings and rotors of the motors must be optimized to enable the transition to pure hybrid and electric vehicles. However, current methods of manufacturing windings are expensive, inefficient, and limit the design and performance of the windings.
ExOne and Maxxwell have proven a new concept for high-efficiency copper winding binder jet 3D printing that they say eliminates many of the challenges associated with traditional manufacturing of these parts.
Windings produced using the binder jet process require fewer manufacturing steps, use less energy and generate less waste. They are also known to be more efficient and offer improved performance. The high speed binder jet process is said to be “relatively affordable”.
âWhen we 3D print it, a lot of the challenges go away and we can really improve the performance of the engine itself,â says Michael Paritee, CEO of Maxxwell. âWe take the most sustainable and sustainable view of additive manufacturing possible to truly improve efficiency, reduce waste and optimize performance. “
Maxxwell was founded in 2018 with the goal of improving the design and manufacture of electric motors without the use of rare earth magnets. The company now holds nine US and global patents and has launched two products: a 10 kW air-cooled motor-generator and a 150 kW liquid-cooled motor.
In one of Maxxwell’s patented motor designs, the copper coils for the stator windings completely surround the motors to conduct electricity. About 36 spools are needed, but Maxxwell and ExOne hope to consolidate them all into one 3D printed part, saving time and money.
ExOne and Maxxwell Motors claim that their 3D printing technology achieves high efficiency copper windings that avoid many of the drawbacks of traditional coil manufacturing techniques.
Image: Business Wire
Further development and testing is underway, with Maxxwell’s ultimate goal being to 3D print winding assemblies as monolithic parts, thereby eliminating the process of winding, bending and tooling, as well as the need to weld individual parts together.
Maxxwell’s axial flow motors have potential industrial applications, as well as being intended for electric cars and heavy vehicles.
ExOne, founded in 1995, is a pioneer in binder jet 3D printing. Technology turns powdered materials – including metals, ceramics, composites and sand – into precision parts, metal casting molds and cores, and tooling. It is said to save time and money, reduce waste, improve manufacturing flexibility, and deliver designs and products that were previously considered impossible.
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