BLDC motor demand soaring on ‘new generation’ technology

13-02-2019 |   |  By Nnamdi Anyadike

In 2018, the global BLDC motors market was estimated to be worth $6.21 billion, having grown at a CAGR of roughly 9.4% since 2015. BLDC motors also known as electronically commutated motors (ECMs, EC motors), or synchronous DC motors, offer several advantages over earlier brushed motor technology. These include: increased reliability, reduced noise, longer lifetime, elimination of ionizing sparks from the commutator and reduced electromagnetic interference. As a result, they are increasingly used in: electric vehicles, consumer durables, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, robotics, industrial automation, and medical equipment.

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Credit : TI Winning Solutions

‘New generation’ BLDC motors

Recent rollouts of new generation BLDC products include the ‘BLDC 40’ motor that is part of a newly developed electronic family of motors available from the Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany based PM DM GmbH. Describing the product the company says, “The customer simply transfers his parameters via a computer to the motor and adjusts the drive to his needs. An integrated closed-loop control makes it possible to measure, monitor and precisely control the speed, current consumption, temperature, position and voltage.

The BLDC 40 motor can be used as a battery-powered application. Multiple motors can also be synchronized via the integrated position measurement. Algorithms for implementing an electronic wave are already integrated into the firmware. The motors are either controlled analogously via a simple PWM control, LIN/CAN bus or single wire UART.

High precision – limited space

Also in Germany, Faulhaber Group a leading supplier in the area of high precision miniature and micro drive systems has expanded its successful 16 mm diameter BHx series with an even more compact version. This powerful 1645 BLDC motor, which is only 45 mm long, is designed for applications that demand a lot of power and offer little space. The bigger 1660 BHS and BHT series can be used if more installation space is available.

The BHx series consists of gapless, brushless high-performance motors with 2-pole technology. At 100 000 rpm, the new 1645 BHS version reaches a significantly higher speed compared to similar-size motors on the market. It is also capable of delivering a very high 800 nNm torque, at just 12 000 rpm. Digital Hall sensors are built in. An integrated incremental sensor is optionally available.

A wide range of connecting components is available for different applications, from speed and motion controller through to control and the gearhead. The motor's rugged, compact design and outstanding performance data make it particularly suitable for a number of demanding applications. Typical uses are electric grippers, small handpieces, robotic systems, lab automation or mechatronic instruments of all types.

Low cost

Meanwhile in the UK, the Beckenham headquartered Geeplus Europe Ltd that specialises in the design and supply of advanced actuation devices has announced the offer of new motors in the 42mm and 57mm flange range. These allow a direct mechanical replacement of the previous stepper motors in existing machine designs. The Geeplus BLDC motors come with Hall Effect sensors that allow easy commutation setup.

By using alternative encoders or resolvers, Geeplus BLDC motors can also be used as low-cost servo motors in positioning applications. Optionally, the Geeplus BLDC motors can also be designed as spindle actuators. Distribution is performed by the Adelsdorf Company’s Actronic-Solutions GmbH. The products will be showcased at ‘MedtecLIVE’ in Nuremberg in May.

‘Ultra thin’ BLDC motors

The Nanjing, China-based I.CH Motion Co. Ltd, which specialises in researching, developing and servicing electric motors, gearbox and high precision gears, has unveiled a new ‘ultra thin’ BLDC motor. The company claims that applications include different kinds of SMT machines, chip mounters, and chip shooters. “With a 1.8deg angle step, super thin size, JST connector, strong holding torque, light weight, this BLDC motor controls application accurately,” says the company.

Outlook

The outlook for BLDC motors hinges on sustained demand growth in key, as well as in up and coming, end-use sectors. There is a trend in the HVAC and refrigeration industries to use brushless motors instead of AC motors and this trend is likely to accelerate in the coming years. BLDC motors have also become a popular motor choice for model aircraft, helicopters and drones. Indeed, they have now revolutionised the market for electric-powered model flight, by displacing virtually all brushed electric motors.

Their popularity has also risen in the radio-controlled (RC) car area, having been legal in North American RC car racing since 2006. BLDC motors provide a great amount of power and, if paired with appropriate gearing and high-discharge Li-Po (lithium polymer) or LiFePO4 batteries, RC cars can achieve speeds over 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph).


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By Nnamdi Anyadike

I have 30 years experience as a freelance business, economy and industry journalist, concentrating on the oil, gas and renewable energy, telecommunications and IT sectors. I have authored a number of well received in-depth market intelligence reports. And I have also spoken at conferences.

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