Motor manufacturer co-operates with additive manufacturing experts to create high power density electric motor.
Eectrification company, Equipmake has teamed up with additive manufacturing organisation HiETA to develop a next-generation motor under Innovate UK grant funding.
The project has the aim of producing an extremely lightweight, efficient but low-cost electric motor with peak power density of more than 20kW per kg – more than four times as power dense as a conventional electric motor.
Code named AMPERE, the key to its performance is a combination of advanced motor design with additive manufacturing, allowing its metal structure to be 3D printed, rather than milled from a solid billet.
This brings many advantages. Firstly, metal is only put where it’s needed. Secondly, thermally efficient thin walls and optimised fine surface details can be combined directly with the motor’s structure, replacing multi-part assemblies with a single, complex architecture that has exceptional cooling ability, is lightweight, has low inertia and allows for greatly increased rotational speed.
The project participants are targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg. By comparison, even the best standard permanent magnet motors in use today would struggle to muster 5kW per kg.
Commenting on the move to additive manufacturing, Equipmake’s MD, Ian Foley believes that this is the key to unlocking the next level of change in motor design and that this project has the potential to totally change the concept of what an electric motor can offer.
“With such a huge amount of performance in a such a small package at as low a cost as possible, this motor is set to further revolutionise e-mobility, whether that’s in automotive or aerospace,” he says.
According to Andy Jones, Innovation Programme Manager at HiETA, AMPERE provides the opportunity to apply both HiETA’s thermal management expertise and complex, thin walled structure manufacture enabled by additive manufacture to electric motor design to realise ambitious power densities.
“We typically reduce the size of thermal management components by five times compared with conventional techniques which will allow next generation heat transfer features to be integrated into the rotor, stator and electronics cooling. In addition, the freedoms of additive manufacture will be used to optimise structural performance. We are integrating these benefits with Equipmake’s advanced electric motor design from the ground up and are looking forward to manufacture and test in the near future,” he concludes.