New Electric Motor Saves Power and Weight On Board
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and ECM PCB Stator Technology were selected by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to help determine the feasibility of replacing a conventional motor with a printed circuit board (PCB) stator motor.
ECM PCB Stator Technology has developed a groundbreaking new stator design and optimization software that fundamentally changes the way motors are designed and manufactured.
By embedding copper-etched conductors into a multilayered printed circuit board (PCB), ECM’s patented stator design optimizes copper geometries and winding patterns, delivering superior efficiency at a reduced cost and environmental impact. These PCB stators integrate into an entirely new ironless and wireless motor design, resulting in remarkably thin, lightweight, and power dense motors that were previously unavailable.
At the heart of this revolution is PrintStator, ECM’s advanced design software. PrintStator quickly transforms customer application requirements into unique, optimized PCB Stator designs ready for rapid prototyping and commercial production. Beyond significantly shortening the design cycle, PrintStator eliminates human error and allows considerable flexibility in specifying optimization parameters and design restraints.
Leveraging a proven manufacturing process, PrintStator generates Gerber Files that are ubiquitously utilized by the printed circuit board manufacturing industry across the globe. This creates a reliable and cost effective production for the next generation of motors and generators.
“ECM’s innovative and disruptive software platform is the next generation evolution for coreless electric machines. The ability to print stators anywhere around the globe is simply an astounding development," said Brian Casey, the president and CEO of ECM.
ECM replaced the 3HP air handler motor on the MARAD training ship TS Kennedy with a 3HP motor integrated with PCB stator technology. The legacy motor that was replaced weighed 45kg and ran at an efficiency of 87.5%. ECM’s solution was a fraction of the size, weighed 15kg and ran at an efficiency of 91.6%. ABS issued a “Statement of Maturity” for ECM’s PCB stator technology and confirmed the reduction of onboard weight and increased motor efficiency.
“The use of ECM’s PCB stator technology onboard ship and the related motor prototyping process were new concepts and were demonstrated as viable, reducing onboard weight and increasing motor efficiency," said Roy Blieberg, ABS Vice President, Engineering.
“The ABS NTQ services offer guidance on early adoption and efficient implementation of new technologies — demonstrating the level of maturity — and that potential risks have been systematically reviewed," said Smarty Mathew John, ABS Manager for Advanced Technology and Research.
ECM Motors for Maritime Applications
ECM’s technology can integrate seamlessly into a range of on-board motor applications providing superior performance and reliability with less mass. On large cargo ships and military vessels, less on-board motor weight translates to reduced drag, increased fuel range and increased weight capacity. ECM’s thin form factor and the ability to produce our motor as a thin ring creates motors with high power density and minimal axial length for applications where space is at a minimum, but power is a must.
Superior motor efficiencies reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Significant reduction in raw materials and PrintStator’s utilization of well-established PCB manufacturing processes further lowers cost and environmental impact.
ECM’s motor design is considered one of the most electromagnetically and acoustically quiet motors on the market. Whether it be for large cargo vessels or small passenger ships, limiting EMI and acoustic noise in on-board systems is essential for smooth operation. By integrating the ECM platform, acoustic noise and total on-board EMI from these integrated systems is reduced.
With PrintStator, vessel modernizations are carried out quickly and precisely, allowing project managers and engineers to design customized solutions, with exact, unique operating points ready for manufacture in just a few hours.
ECM is in the process of integrating the PCB stator technology platform into systems aboard commercial and government maritime vessels, but also into the general commercial and residential market. Increased performance and a significant weight reduction are only a few of the many benefits when a motor is upgraded with a PCB stator, making the technology valuable for almost any application.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.