US company seeks to scale up super-compact pancake motor to 250kW

The Infinitum motor, which features printed circuit boards as the stator, was developed for fan and pump applications.The Infinitum motor, which features printed circuit boards as the stator, was developed for fan and pump applications.

An American company Infinitum is seeking to develop a 250kW version of a new concept of electric motor, which could be used in the marine market, writes Dag Pike.

Currently there are versions of this advanced motor up to 15hp that are ready to be shipped but the company says that the next stage of development will be motors of 250kW that could be ideal as power units for small-sized electric vessels. These will offer a more compact and lightweight motor with the ability to design the motor to match the application. There is also the possibility of reduced costs per horsepower.

In these new electric motors that stator windings of traditional electric motors are replaced by a printed circuit board which the designers claim is both a cheaper solution and much more compact as well as being more efficient. Traditional electric motors use coils of copper wire for the stator, the fixed part of the electric motor whilst in the new type of motor the stator is a slim printed circuit board reducing both size and weight as well as improving reliability.

The CEO of Infinitum, Ben Schuler commented, “We are ‘strongly encouraged’ for an ARPA-E grant that will allow us to produce a 250kW propulsion motor. This motor would offer world-leading power density and be applicable to the majority of EVs (electric vehicles including marine applications)”. ARPA-E grants are offered by the US Department of Energy for the development of electrical systems and applications.

Infinitum’s electric motors are currently mainly aimed at the fan and pump market sectors. The company is aiming to deliver 7,500 units over the next 24 months, Schuler said. The motors will use a variable frequency drive and be cloud connected so that they can be remotely monitored. The compact size of these new motors includes the control system that is incorporated with the casing.

In addition to Texas-based Infinitum, Florida-based ECM is also developing a similar new type of electric motor. Both companies’ technologies use printed circuit boards as the stator. ECM is understood to be at a similar state of development with its motors.

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