Archive | August 2019

maxon collaborate in a world first: mining on the moon

maxon Group Australia are excited to announce their collaboration with innovative Australian space company, Space Industries, to develop new mining technologies on the moon.

It’s not every day you receive an inquiry to help build a rover that will mine the surface of the moon. When maxon was contacted by Space Industries CEO, Joshua Letcher, with this exact query, a remarkable collaboration was born.

Specialising in the development of lunar and space mining vehicles, subsystems and systems for space systems, in a world-first, Space Industries are designing and developing revolutionary technology: a rover to mine elements on the lunar surface. “Space Industries are leading the way in space mining by focusing on gas production to produce resources that will sustain life on the Moon and other planets, along with producing Helium-3 for use in Medical and Energy industries on Earth” said Letcher. Soon to be located at Australia’s only dedicated Space Precinct at Perth Airport in WA, Space Industries have strategically positioned themselves amongst other leading global companies involved in civil engineering and research & development within the sector.

It was maxon’s long-standing involvement working with agencies such as NASA, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and European Space Agency, amongst others, that prompted Joshua Letcher to call maxon. maxon DC motors, drives systems and sensor technologies have already been used to drive several Mars rovers and withstood the conditions there. The DC motors resist brutal temperature changes, dust, dirt and storms. They are also built to survive a dynamic entry, descent and landing sequence as well as the harsh daily conditions on the moon. maxon Managing Director, Brett Motum, said “we are thrilled to be a part of not only an Australian first, but a world-first, invention that is going to redefine the term sustainable energy, open up exciting possibilities within the medical and energy sectors and of course, put Australia on the global Space map”.

It’s this type of application that sits at the heart of maxon – working with companies who share the same passion for innovation, technology and development of pioneering inventions. Particularly those that help to shape the future of this planet and perhaps even sustain life on the moon.

For further information please contact maxon Group Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477 or Space Industries

Batteries of the future

Researchers all over the world are looking for new battery types and technologies. The goal is to lower the size, weight, charging time and price of batteries while increasing their safety.

In e-mobility, all is nothing without them: batteries. They deliver the “juice” for countless vehicles and applications that are exciting for the reason they don’t need to be connected to a power outlet all the time. Yet even though the technology has made great progress over the past decades, batteries still seem a little old-school compared with state-of-the-art high-tech electronics. For example, the microprocessor of a smartphone is able to perform billions of operations within seconds. However, charging the battery takes hours. In addition, batteries are the heaviest of all the installed components. Consumers might find this annoying, but it is simply in the nature of things that energy storage devices and the chemical reactions inside them can’t be miniaturised to the same extent as is customary in the semiconductor industry. In our daily lives, we encounter a number of different battery types:

  • Cheap alkaline batteries, for example in remote controls and watches
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries, with similar uses as alkaline batteries, but rechargeable
  • Lithium-ion batteries, for example in cameras, power drills, and electric cars
  • Lithium-polymer batteries, for example in smartphones and tablets. Lithium polymer batteries are a special type of lithium-ion battery that can be built very flat, since a gel electrolyte is used instead of a liquid one. However, they are more sensitive than lithium-ion batteries.

Even though lithium batteries are the gold standard today, they have certain downsides that can’t be overlooked. Most people have seen pictures of smartphones or electric cars whose batteries caught fire or even exploded—a horror scenario. This is why researchers all over the world are looking for new battery types and technologies. The goal: Lowering the size, weight, charging time and price of batteries while increasing their safety. In addition, the elements of lithium and cobalt (the main components of many batteries) are not available in unlimited quantities.

Magnesium batteries could be a potential successor. This technology is at the focus of a research project by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Helmholtz Institute in Ulm. “A magnesium battery would offer decisive advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries,” the KIT writes in a press release. “As an anode material, magnesium enables much higher energy densities and would be much safer.” Another benefit: Magnesium is about 3000 times more common than lithium and easier to recycle. “If Europe makes good progress with the development, then magnesium batteries might also help to reduce the dominance of Asian battery manufacturers and establish a competitive battery industry in Europe,” the KIT also writes. Another candidate for what is known as a solid-state battery is, surprisingly, glass. The sodium contained in glass is one of the most common elements. Sh batteries with a special glass electrolyte are potentially capable of being charged within minutes, while offering better safety than flammable lithium-ion batteries. However, some time is going to pass before such a battery technology will be ready for the market and will be able to replace lithium-ion batteries.

maxon explores the world of batteries

Batteries manufactured by drive specialist maxon? What may sound like a plan for the future is already reality. maxon began its journey into the world of power storage with the development of the BIKEDRIVE, a retrofitting kit that turns a regular bicycle into an e-bike. After some difficulties with the battery supplier, maxon decided to build its own batteries. However, this is easier said than done. Manufacturing batteries requires engineering creativity, technical knowledge, and specialised equipment. “For us, this is a relatively new, but exciting field,” says Benny Keller of maxon advanced robotics & systems (mars).

A battery pack consists of several individual cells that typically deliver a voltage of 3.7 V. Depending on how these individual cells are wired, the battery pack has different specifications. If the cells are wired in series, their voltage are added. Wiring cells in parallel increases the battery capacity. Creating an optimal combination of such individual cells requires skill and technical knowledge. “In addition, there are many safety standards that need to be met,” Benny Keller explains. A battery pack isn’t finished after the cells have been professionally glued and wired. A battery management system (BMS) is also needed. The electronics are usually installed on a PCB in the battery casing. The specialists at maxon have developed and produced their own BMS. The BMS ensures that the cells are charged and discharged evenly. This is critical for the battery’s service life. There are also safety aspects to a BMS. For example, it prevents that a battery is charged or subjected to load at excessively low or high temperatures.

It’s clear that, as a newcomer to the scene, maxon can’t start mass-producing batteries from one day to the next. However, the workshop in Giswil is very well equipped for the production of prototypes and small output quantities. For larger quantities, maxon relies on the assistance of renowned manufacturers in southern Germany. Naturally, maxon batteries are designed for e-mobility and robotics applications.

For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Medtech development: miniature surgical robot with haptic technology

A start-up company in Hong Kong has developed an abdominal surgical robot with two small arms that unfold inside the abdomen and controlled by the surgeon using a control panel.

The start-up company NISI (HK) Limited is developing a miniature surgical robot that can be inserted though natural openings in the body and only unfolds inside the abdomen. To achieve this goal, the engineers are pushing components to their limits and beyond.

In the world of medtech, there are many astonishing new developments these days. The world of surgical robots could soon be disrupted: In summer 2018, the Hong Kong-based startup NISI announced that they have successfully performed a series of gynecological operations on live pigs. This may not sound like anything special at first, however: The essence is that the surgeons used a small robot that had been inserted rectally. This is a world’s first in medical history, according to the company.

NISI was founded in 2012 and works with the universities of Hong Kong and Cambridge to develop a robotic system that enables complex, minimal-invasive surgeries in the abdominal and pelvic area without leaving visible scars. “We want to become the world’s leading expert in non-invasive surgical robotic technology,” says Dr. Corinna Ockenfeld at NISI. The successful surgeries in the summer of 2018 have given the medtech start-up a lot of momentum. Initial surgeries on humans are planned for 2021.

The idea behind the NISI’s novel surgical system is as follows: The surgical robot is inserted through a natural orifice, usually the anus or the vagina. By doing so, only a small cut inside the body is necessary to get multiple robotic instruments inside the abdomen. Current systems require several incisions, one for each instrument. The new technology has obvious benefits: Less blood loss during surgery, less wound related complications, shorter recovery time for the patient, and no visible scars.

The robot itself has two small arms that unfold inside the abdomen and can be controlled by the surgeon using a control panel. The two robotic arms are directly controlled by micromotors from maxon and have up to eight degrees of freedom. The system also has a high-resolution 2D and 3D camera and delivers haptic feedback, so that the surgeon is able to feel what is happening at the other end and can work with even higher precision.

Bringing surgical robots to the next level requires more than outstanding technicians and engineers: Quality components are a key element. NISI is therefore testing various concepts and combinations of components. “We want to push the boundaries of medical and robotic technology,” says Dr. Corinna Ockenfeld. With regard to the motors, this requires an extremely small size and extremely high power density. “We are working closely with maxon and have a weekly exchange of information. We really appreciate the support we’ve received over the past years. The collaboration with maxon is highly productive and extremely valuable for both sides.”

The prototypes of the NISI surgical robotic system currently use various brushless DC motors from the EC series, with diameters ranging from 4 to 8 millimeters, complemented by matching customised gearheads. Both partners are pushing the precision drives to their limits, sometimes running them outside the nominal specifications. However, the BLDC motors are customised for the application’s specific needs. They require high power density, must fulfil extremely strict quality standards and be sealed against body fluids. In the future, the drives will also be biocompatible.

The next steps are to make the entire system even smaller, to make the motors even more dynamic and to expand the working range of the robot. “We take care of every little detail and take innovative approaches to solving problems,” says Dr. Corinna Ockenfeld. Step by step, NISI is coming closer in fulfilling its vision of making non-invasive surgery without scars a commonplace reality.

For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Only the top of the ranks to sail the futuristic AC75 boat

The AC75 is one of the most futuristic sailing boats in history and could be the fastest monohull ever by the time America’s Cup racing wraps up in 2021.

Its extreme design is pushing the engineers and designers to the limits of current technology, but the 36th America’s Cup is not just a technology race.

The AC75 will be challenging and demanding to sail, with decisive race manoeuvres difficult to execute, making the demand on the sailors greater than ever before. To achieve the maximum performance, an America’s Cup sailor needs to be among the best.

It’s no coincidence then that collectively, America’s Cup teams won 11 medals in the last  3 months. World races such as the European Championships, the World Cup Series and iconic Olympic regattas like the Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

One of Challenger of Record’s key sailors Francesco “Checco” Bruni  won the Moth European Championship in Portugal at the end of May, with new team member Ruggero Tita, earning the bronze medal in the Nacras during last week’s World Cup Series Final in Marseille.

Giles Scott, INEOS Team UK tactician and Britain’s brightest Olympic sailing hope, is the 2019 Finn European Champion and also won the Silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma di Mallorca in April.

The Defender has a few golden boys as well. Andy Maloney and Josh Junior collected five medals between them from three regattas, confirming themselves at the top of the Finn Class. On top of winning in Marseille, Maloney was first in Palma and second at the European Championships, while Junior was third in Palma and second in France. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke also got their winning form back on track coming first at the 49er European Championship in Weymouth in May, after a 3rd at Genoa’s World Cup earlier in April.

More medals are surely to come as a full racing schedule lays ahead for the America’s Cup sailors who are squeezing in a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Campaign alongside their America’s Cup commitments.

The Cup is less than 640 days away and there no time to rest… Let’s keep racing.

maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon Group is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

maxon Australia inspiring future engineers.

Head of R&D and Astrophysicist, Dr Carlos Bacigalupo, presented Q&A to children at a Northern Sydney primary school.

Corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of maxon Australia’s business. Beyond DC motors and drive systems, maxon recognises the importance of giving back to the community and the opportunity to inspire the future engineers, astrophysicists and designers of tomorrow. An engaging and lively Q&A session was held at a Primary School on Sydney’s leafy Upper North Shore on 13 August. Dr Bacigalupo was asked questions such as what are wormholes? How did the moon get made? Will Earth ever hit the sun? Will the sun ever die? What does the moon feel like?

The future engineers showed a particular interest in the scale of the Universe and there was a lot to talk about! maxon Australia has contributed to the software development of the TAIPAN instrument aimed to measure the expansion rate of the Universe to unprecedented precision. This world class instrument also relies on maxon DC motors to perform high precision measurements of the motion of distant galaxies. The audience enthusiastically learned about the successful, and sometimes not so successful, milestones of the development process.

For Dr Bacigalupo, answering the more than 400 questions extracted from not only his knowledge of planets and all things space but also from maxon’s involvement in the Aerospace industry, including the Mars Rovers and various aerospace applications.

For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Excitement heightens as America’s Cup teams and fans anticipate first ever AC75 launch.

It is always a big deal in any America’s Cup cycle when the first tranche of AC Class yachts is revealed.

Fans and teams alike pore over every photograph and video they can get their hands on to analyse what each of the teams’ design departments have come up with.

That eager anticipation is ratcheted up several levels however when the teams are given the much rarer opportunity to design to a completely new America’s Cup class rule – as is the case for the 36th edition of the America’s Cup with the advent of the 75-foot foiling monohull AC75 Class Rule.

Even more exciting and challenging is the fact that designing and building a foiling monohull of that size has never ever been done before. It is an utterly new concept – and that means the designers are out on their own, breaking new ground with precious little, if any, relevant data available to refer back to.

It is now a tantalising prospect that four teams – the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (Challenger of Record), NYYC American Magic, and INEOS TEAM UK – could all launch their first AC75 yachts in the next few weeks.

The fifth America’s Cup team – Stars + Stripes Team USA – is yet to complete the build of its AC75, but the team hopes to have the boat on the water later this year.

So what can we expect to learn from this upcoming first round of AC75 launches?

As is always the case with the America’s Cup, the teams have been tight-lipped about the direction they have taken with the first of the two AC75s they are allowed to build under the terms laid down in the Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup.

But the Head of Design at Emirates Team New Zealand, Dan Bernasconi – who helped mastermind the AC75 design rule in the first place – said he was confident the boats would be thrilling for the fans to watch as well as extremely demanding for the crews to learn how to sail at optimum performance.

“We wanted to develop a class of yacht which was going to be exciting but also really challenging to sail,” Bernasconi said. “We will find out when we launch and actually get out on the water, but we think the new boat is going to achieve those aims really well.”

According to Bernasconi, until the teams reveal their boats nobody has any idea what they will each look like – but he expects there to be some big differences.

“It’s pretty interesting because the design rule is quite open,” he said. “There is a lot of openness in the hull design – the shape of hull and the layout of the deck – and also in the mainsail configuration and the foil wings and the flaps mechanism.

“So there will likely be quite a big variation between our yacht and everyone else’s yachts. In fact I think they will all be quite different – so there is a huge amount of interest from all the designers in different areas to see what other teams have come up with.”

Martin Fischer – co-design coordinator at Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team – was also involved in coming up with the AC75 class rule. He says designing to a totally new America’s Cup class rule has added an extra level of excitement to the process for the designers at the Italian syndicate.

“The opportunity to design an America’s Cup boat to a brand-new rule is very rare – typically something that happens only every 10 or 15 years,” Fischer said.

“Everybody in the team here is really excited to get the chance to work on designing to this new class rule. I think every designer who has been given this opportunity will be really excited, like we are.”

Fischer says the task of producing from scratch one of the first ever 75-foot single-hull yachts has required he and his team to take several steps into the unknown along the way to launching their first iteration of the design.

“We are definitely getting into new territory with these new boats,” he said. “A foiling monohull of this size has never been designed and built before – so there are many, many unknowns.

“There is lots of pressure on the design team because there is no experience from previous boats. Obviously we have the experience from the AC50 catamarans – but there’s never been a boat like the AC75 before.”

“That means you have to turn over every stone and look at every aspect carefully, because around every corner there could be something unexpected. You definitely don’t want to get a nasty surprise once the boat is launched and that adds to the level of pressure on us as designers.”

NYYC American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said he and his team were revelling in the challenge of bringing the large-scale foiling monohull concept to life, along with the pressure of delivering a competitive design.

“It’s always great to be on the leading side of design and development and it’s always something that our group have prided ourselves in,” Hutchinson said. “We are in a competition, and we want to win. With that goal comes pressure to deliver.

What differences there might be between the teams’ first AC75 designs, Hutchinson said he was waiting to find out like everyone else.

“We will have to see once the boats hit the water,” he said. “All of the design teams are of the highest standard, so it is an exciting time for everyone.”

Sir Ben Ainslie, team Principal and skipper at the British INEOS TEAM UK syndicate, said he expected there to be huge interest when the first AC75s are launched.

“This is an entirely new concept of boat so there has been a lot of anticipation about how it will sail and how it will perform at this scale,” Ainslie said. “We have seen the test boats out there over the last 12 months or so, but to get the real deal – 75-foot foiling monohulls out there means there will be a lot of interest.”

Ainslie described the planned launch and first sail of the British AC75 as a milestone moment for the team – especially given that the first opportunity for the teams to race against each other will be in April 2020 at the America’s Cup World Series regatta in Cagliari, Sardinia.

“Certainly as a team there has been a huge amount of work and effort that has gone into designing and building this boat,” He said. “It will be a real thrill to get it out sailing for the first time and to get it up on the foils and see how it manoeuvres.”

The five-time Olympic medal-winning yachtsman said he expected the new boats to be stunning to watch and a real handful for the crews – despite being made up of some of the best sailors in the world – to master.

“I think this boat will turn heads for sure,” he said. “I’m expecting it to be the most exciting boat that I have ever sailed – a 75-foot foiling monohull. The predicted speeds of these boats are really quite phenomenal, and it is going to be a huge challenge and a huge adrenaline rush to sail them well.”

The team that will have to wait a bit longer to feel the rush of flying the AC75 is the second American challenger- Stars + Stripes Team USA, led by Mike Buckley.

“Our plan is to launch our AC75 later this year, but the exact date is still to be determined,” Buckley said. “The other teams’ anticipated launch dates are a little bit prior to that, and we will definitely have boots on the ground, and we’ll be trying to learn as much as we can while our boat is under construction.

“The most exciting day for me is the day when we put this AC75 in the water and make sure she floats. Then we will take a deep breath and say: ‘well we have a boat that floats – now let’s make sure we have a boat that flies”.

“There will be a lot of hard work on the back end of that, Buckley said. “Every day we will be trying to get a little bit better and keeping the fire burning in the team. We will be hungry and we will be pushing, like everybody else.

Although the precise timing of when individual teams might splash their AC75s for the first time is a closely guarded secret, it is likely that they will conduct one or more unannounced ‘private’ test sails, potentially followed by a more public official launch or naming ceremony.

For now that’s going to keep sailing fans around the world guessing as they eagerly await the first glimpses of what the AC75s will look like.

The good news though, is that under the rules of this cycle of the America’s Cup the teams are not allowed to shroud their boats with skirts or covers, meaning there should be plenty for us all – the fans and the teams – to discuss when the photos and videos are finally made public.

maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon Group is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

Parvalux motor for use in the industrial automation industry.

With a long service life and reputation for reliability, this brushed DC motor is perfect for use in demanding industrial applications.

Parvalux’s PM50-25-GB0 family of brushed DC motors offer 30-100 W power, 12-220V, a speed rating of 1,500-8,000 RPM and are IP44/54 rated. The standard options can be modified to suit individual applications such as shaft variations, brakes, encoders, output flange options, various cable lengths, paint finishes and terminal boxes. These geared motors are found in a diverse range of industrial applications such as packaging machines, hoists, conveyor belts, automatic shutters and printing equipment. Reliability and service are critical in industrial applications thus Parvalux has a dedicated service, spares and repairs unit based centrally in Birmingham, UK. Parvalux became a part of the maxon group in December 2018.  For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron announces key dates for 150th celebrations

A plethora of events will be held throughout 2021 to mark the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s 150 years, which also coincides with Auckland hosting the 36th America’s Cup.

Throughout the clubs amazing 150 year history it has led the world of yachting in many respects, being the only club to win, lose and then win back the world’s oldest sporting trophy – The America’s Cup.  It has trained many world champions in various disciplines of the sport.  The largest sporting club in New Zealand also runs a variety of volunteer programs that will be essential to the delivery of what will be a bumper 2021.

Visitors and locals alike can be assured of an exciting and diverse calendar including J Class racing, superyacht regattas, as well as offshore and New Zealand based races.

RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young is thrilled with the events secured in the calendar so far, and with the other events that are close to being added to the 150th year calendar.

“We have already added some really great events, and pencilled in some others, throughout the America’s Cup period and for the duration of the year that we believe our membership base and the entire country can really get behind.”

Kicking the sesquicentenary celebrations off with a race to Kawau Island on New Year’s Eve 2020 which will be followed by the Kawau New Year’s Day Regatta, and then by a Kawau to Great Barrier Cruise from the 3rd – 6th of January.

The Squadron has also secured two offshore races for their 150th year. The first is a race from Sydney to Auckland in conjunction with the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, starting on the 1st of February. The second is a race from Auckland to Southport Yacht Club in Queensland, starting on the 1st of June.

In what is one of the most anticipated additions to the calendar, the Squadron is hopeful of a number of J Class Yachts coming to New Zealand with planned sailing in the Bay of Islands in February, and in Auckland 1st to 6th of March.  There is strong interest from the class already with entries now open for them to commit to these events.

The J Class yachts will be a spectacular sight and will add a great deal of excitement for the general public and especially for avid sailing fans during the America’s Cup period.  The J Class yachts are 40-45 metres long and have a crew of 30 plus professional sailors on board. They were used in the America’s cup during the 1930’s period.

There will be an abundance of Superyachts joining in the celebrations, with a Superyacht regatta locked in for the 25th – 27th February that the RNZYS is organising in Auckland, which will likely be the biggest that has ever been seen on New Zealand waters.

These visitors will inject millions into the local economy, creating jobs along the way.  The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will ensure they have plenty to do whilst in New Zealand to support this.  For visiting superyachts the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron also offers full logistical support to ensure their time in New Zealand is as stress free as possible. They simply contact to have anything required arranged.

Dates are to be confirmed for the America’s Cup Christmas Regatta and the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series in January /February 2021.

The biggest event of the year is the 36th America’s Cup match which will see its opening weekend in Auckland on March 6th and 7th 2021.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager, Destination Steve Armitage says 2021 is going to be an unprecedented year for the region.

“Auckland is gearing up to host a mega year of events starting with the 36th America’s Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons 150th and finishing with APEC Leaders’ Week. There will also be a diverse array of international sporting events such as the Women’s Rugby and Cricket World Cups, World Softball Championships, the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, along with the exciting annual events calendar,” he says.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the world here and showing off Auckland’s stunning natural attributes, culture and city sophistication.”

There are also two more globally recognized events that are in the pipeline, as RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young explains – “We have formally invited the 52 Super Series fleet to join us from Europe for an official 52 Super Series regatta, as well as the 12m fleet to join us from Europe and USA to celebrate our big year with us. Whilst shipping is a considerable cost for both of these fleets to get to NZ, we are hopeful that Kiwis will get to see them both racing here in 2021.”

Writer and sailing historian Ivor Wilkins is currently putting together a beautiful coffee table style book that will chronicle the entire 150 year history of the RNZYS, as well as including the 150th year celebrations, which will be released on the 2nd of October 2021. The Squadron is also in the works to have a special commemorative coin, and other precious memorabilia that will be available for all to purchase and cherish.

“The team at the RNZYS are very busy working behind the scenes to get all of the planned events fixed in the calendar.  Entries are now open for the major events, so stay tuned for more dates and details to be announced in the coming weeks.” – RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young.

maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Source: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 19 June 2019

maxon Group is an Official Supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand. We follow the progress of their journey as Defender in the 36th America’s Cup campaign, March 2021.

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