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2017: a year of record growth for the maxon motor group

Global DC motor and drive specialist maxon motor has recorded growth across innovation, markets, revenue and production in 2017.

Sachseln/Obwalden (Switzerland) – The maxon motor group accomplished record revenues in 2017reporting a rise by 8.6% to CHF 459 million (up from CHF 422.5 million in the previous year). All markets contributed to the growth. Cash flow increased to just under CHF 50 million (up from 41.7 million). The number of employees globally increased to 2577. At a 40% revenue share, medical technology continues to be the strongest sector, followed by industrial automation at 28%. With R&D investments of CHF 34 million and more than 360 employees in our R&D sites worldwide, maxon has succeeded in bringing more than 20 new motors and gearheads to market and expand the company’s position as a leading manufacturer of high-quality drive components and systems. maxon looks to the future with confidence.

The impetus of growth behind maxon is mainly from the innovative precision DC motors and drives with high efficiency as well as the matching electronics for controlling complex motion sequences. The company produces in Sachseln/CH, Sexau/GER, Veszprém/HU, Cheonan/South Korea, and soon at its new factory in Taunton near Boston/USA. In addition to the sites above, R&D facilities are also located in China, France, and the Netherlands.

Growth in all markets worldwide

The biggest market in Europe is Germany, followed by Switzerland and the UK. Italy and the Iberian peninsula also grew markedly. After some years of stagnation, a strong growth has also picked up in the US. In Asia, maxon achieved new records in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. In China, maxon has seen double-digit growth over the past years. “The revenue increase by 100 million over four years has posed a great challenge to us as a company in regard to quality and service. Owing to our highly trained employees, we have been able to master this challenge successfully,” says majority shareholder Karl-Walter Braun.

20 + new products released in 2017 alone

One in seven maxon employees works in research and development. As a result of these steadily expanding capabilities, maxon launched more than 20 new electric motors, gearheads, encoders and controllers in the past year. In aerospace, the motors work at temperatures as low as -130°C, while ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter space probe has to withstand temperatures of more than 350°C on its flight toward the sun. In 2020, high-performance maxon motors will be used in two rover missions by ESA and NASA, after having run for more than 15 years in the hostile Mars environment despite a scheduled service life of only a few weeks.

“Our ‘Mission 2020’ strategy for growth, which we launched years ago with the goal of achieving forward integration of drive systems, is showing some initial success,” says Eugen Elmiger, CEO of maxon motor group. “For example, we’ve been able to secure a large order for pump systems to reduce nitrous gas emissions in Diesel cars in the highly competitive automotive market. We also drove forward the development of complete surgical power tools, as well as micro-pump systems used in minimal invasive cardiac surgery.” Eugen Elmiger also expects healthy growth for the user-friendly and efficient high-performance multi-axis controllers made by zub, a company acquired by maxon last year.

Looking ahead: a strong start

The first months of the new year were characterised by strong growth across the group. Pending orders and revenues exceed the figures of the previous year. Due to the overall economic development, the company expects growth to slow down somewhat in the second half of the year. “We will approach further expansion with the necessary caution,” says Karl-Walter Braun.

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

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Design considerations for an exoskeleton for children

Developing Exoskeletons for children present their own engineering challenges simply because children are still growing.

Exoskeletons were largely developed for people that have sustained paralysis or suffer muscular dystrophy. For adults who have stopped growing there is no risk of outgrowing the exoskeleton. However for children their growth and ability present a multitude of challenges for design engineers. An exoskeleton that fits a six-year old perfectly may be much too small by the time the child turns seven. For a child with spinal muscular atrophy an exoskeleton is designed to recognise users are not completely paralysed but are able to move their legs to a certain extent. Sensors within the frame detect weak leg movements and respond immediately to provide support. As a result, the child is able control the exoskeleton directly with the legs.

Spanish company, Marsi Bionics, manufactures exoskeletons mainly for adults but have developed two exoskeletons for children, the Atlas 2020 and Atlas 2030. Weighing approximately 14 kgs it is made for children from 3 years up who have a neuromuscular disease. The exoskeleton can be adapted to various leg lengths and hip widths, so that it also fits teenagers up to about 14 years of age. The “Atlas 2030 is an upgrade of Atlas 2020”, explains Elena García, creator and co-founder of Marsi Bionics. “The main difference is that Atlas 2020 is intended for use in hospitals for gait training and rehabilitation, while Atlas 2030 is designed for use in private homes as an integral part of the patient’s everyday life. Both devices are ready for industrial production and until then, Atlas 2020 will continue to be used in hospitals for clinical research.”

maxon motor have five drive systems in each leg of the children’s exoskeleton. Brushless flat EC45 motors deliver very high torque in a compact design, coupled with inductive MILE encoders that act as sensors. The motors are controlled by servo controllers from maxon’s ESCON series.  “EC flat motors provide the best power-to-weight and power-to-volume ratio”, explained Elena García. “This is a variable of paramount importance, as gait exoskeletons require high power but a very low weight and volume.” The exoskeletons will be made available commercially once CE certification marks have been received.

For more information contact maxon motor Australia Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Saving the lives of preemie babies.

Paul is a robotically simulated training model of a 27 week old preemie baby. Created by an Austrian paediatrician to help train medical practitioners, maxon motors replicate the breathing movements of the baby.

Meet Paul. The smallest and most advanced high-end patient simulator in the world. Paul is a 27 week old preemie. He is 35cm long and weighs 1kg. He breathes on his own with a consistent heartbeat. His chest gently moves up and down, veins and arteries are visible under his thin skin. Paul needs artificial respiration and will sometimes turn blue.

Born to train medical staff in emergency situations that occur every day in neonatal intensive care units, the creator of Paul is Jens-Christian Schwindt, an ex-paediatrician in the Division of Neonatology of the Vienna General Hospital. In 2015 Schwindt started his company SIMCharacters, that arose from a need where “Critical situations in preterm care have to be trained time and time again, under as realistic conditions as possible, to ensure that everything goes equally smoothly in a real crisis” says Schwindt. With the ability to evoke emotions and cry, the baby looks exceptionally lifelike and is full of high-technology on the inside. His skull hosts a Linux system, he is charged cordlessly by induction using a customary charging pad. Paul can be operated for up to two hours. When he has difficulty breathing or the oxygen saturation drops, his head turns blue. Sophisticated hardware and software fit into a silicone skin.

maxon DC motors, gearheads and sensors ensure that the thorax and abdomen move in accordance with the programmed test scenarios. Three DCX 12mm motors with gearhead and sensors are used – two for Paul’s thorax and one for the abdomen. Another maxon DCX 6mm motor moves a valve in the lung of the simulator, with a total of 40 motors installed. The motors were selected for their torque, density and quiet running. The robust design and the ironless maxon rotor make these motors a perfect fit for this unique application. Maxon’s DCX motors are brushed and available in sizes from Ø 6 – 35 mm. They can be easily configured online and customer can select from graphite and precious metal brushes, sintered and ball bearings, and many other components.

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

maxon DC motors drive natural beauty treatments.

A recently patented technology uses maxon DC motors to help people look their best.

endermologie® is a beauty therapy, cell stimulation procedure, created by French company LPG nearly 30 years ago. Initially developed to treat scar tissue and aid in the skin’s healing process, it became apparent that this treatment served twofold. Use of the instrument led to tighter, supple skin, and a reduction in cellulite and fat cells in the hypodermis. Today, approximately 200,000 people in 110 countries undergo treatment with LPG technology every day. Recently LPG launched a new version of this technology announcing the Endermolift method. Organically reactivating skin cells’ processes, this 100% natural, non-invasive, non-aggressive mechanical skin stimulation technique works by applying suction to the skin by the head of the device. Stimulation is brought about by two pulsing flaps, whose beat frequency can be adjusted by the therapist. In the machine is a maxon brushless DC motor and planetary gearhead. The gearhead was customised with the addition of plastic parts to minimise the noise level. The DC motors were selected for their quiet operation, reliability, torque, speed and long service life.

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

New Autoclavable brushless DC motor range and sterilisation cycles.

There are many different benchmarks in the marketplace for the sterilisation capabilities of devices. maxon motor explain the cycle and testing process for Autoclavable brushless DC motors.

maxon motor develop brushless DC motors that can be sterilised for medical and dental applications. Recently released is the new ECX range of motors with sterilisation capability on 13,16,19 and 22mm diameter versions. The new range of motors complement the existing 4 pole sterilisable 30mm brushless 150W motor and offer high speed capability up to 120,000rpm. maxon motor test the brushless motors to either 1000 autoclave cycles or 2000 cycles depending on the product. For motors with hall sensors fitted the motor is typically cycled through 1000 autoclave cycles and without hall sensors 2000 cycles. Gearheads are available with additional shaft seals. With the additional seal they are tested to 2000 cycles and without, 1000 cycles. Another new product that offers a completely sterilisable positioning system for the first time is an encoder rated and tested for 1000 cycles.

The maxon motor internal autoclave testing is carried out with the autoclave with a vacuum phase. The motors are unpacked and mounted without any additional protection. Three vacuum cycles are made at the beginning to ensure the internals of the motor become damp. The sterilisation atmosphere is built up with steam which remains constant for 18 minutes at 134˚C, 100% humidity and 2.3 bar of pressure. The unit is then cooled to 70˚C and dried. Each individual autoclave cycles takes approximately 1 hour. After 100 cycles the motors are removed from the autoclave and visually checked and motor operation is checked. Following this the motor is then removed after 250 cycles and visually checked in addition to data acquisition of the running data, motor noise, vibration and electrical strength test at up to 500V DC. Typical batch test cycles are conducted with 10 pcs and the tests are repeated with design changes. Internal testing of the motors to 2000 cycles takes approximately six months.

Contact maxon motor Australia for assistance with Autoclavable brushless DC motor options Tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Custom DC motor for maximum power density

New brushed DC motor design from maxon motor.

maxon motor Australia have configured a combination of brushed DC motor, planetary gearhead and digital incremental encoder with completely customised features for a prominent medical manufacturer and have produced it in 11 working days.

An interactive 3D model of the entire assembled combination showing all modifications and final production part numbers can now be generated within an hour of specification request along with data sheets showing the working points of the application. The new process eliminates large amounts of traditional internal procedures, with the robotic production line and parts procurement all linked together with the new design tool. The new motor pictured below shows a unique stepped planetary gearhead that uses a 26mm diameter on the high speed input stage and a 32mm on the high torque output stage. Focusing the wear and strength attributes by placing components specific to their role also increases the motors power density. In order to allow for the full use of shaft length that is tailored for the application, a new process of laser welding the inner race of the output bearing directly to the shaft material has been used over the traditional methods of c-clips and shaft collars. This is also naturally stronger than glue and press fit methods. The motor is capable of producing over 10,000rpm and the gearhead up to 12Nm with ratios to 1526:1. Zero cogging and linear characteristics combined with new encoder resolutions up to a staggering 65,536cpt open new position control possibilities for automation, tool and robotics applications.

Contact maxon motor Australia for assistance. Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

Maxon motor posts record revenues.

Throughout 2016 maxon invested significantly in expanding its facilities, bringing a large number of new technologies & innovations to market and expanded on their market leading position.

Sachseln/Switzerland – The maxon motor group further increased its revenues in 2016. Compared with the previous year, revenues grew by 5% to a new record level of CHF 422.5 million (from CHF 402.5 million in the previous year). The number of employees rose to 2,500 and for the first time in company history, maxon employs more people abroad than in Switzerland. The highest revenues were achieved in medical technology (43% market share), followed by industrial automation & robotics (26%) and aerospace industries (6.5%). Investment in R&D rose to CHF 28.5 million in 2016 (up from 27.1 million).

Maxon is increasingly becoming a specialist in mechatronics and systems, launching the first fully sterilisable drive system this year. Drive combination units consisting of brushless DC motor, gearhead and sensor are designed to withstand 1000 autoclave cycles. Maxon’s new DC motor controllers also stand up to extreme ambient conditions. The electronics are protected against contaminants and corrosion by a polymer coating. In addition, the device is highly resistant against vibrations and shocks.

For the e-bike market, maxon motor developed a new S-Peledec motor with a 500 Wh battery and intuitive operation for urban applications. The bike reaches speeds of up to 45 km/h and the device stands out because it can convert any regular bicycle into an e-bike. maxon is also active in the field of autonomous delivery robots. This is a market where the energy-efficient and lightweight drive systems by maxon are in particularly high demand.

For more information on DC motors and accessories please contact maxon motor Australia tel +61 2 9457 7477.

Discontinuation of maxon EC19 DC motor and GP19 planetary gearhead.

With the introduction of the ECX 19 SPEED brushless DC motors, maxon are phasing out the EC 19 and Planetary Gearhead GP 19.

The EC 19 and the GP 19 M were officially introduced in 2014. They will be replaced with brushless DC motors – the ECX SPEED 19 series. Final orders will be received up to December 22, 2017 with last delivery scheduled for March 30, 2018.

The alternative is the brushless ECX range of DC motors. Configurable online, these brushless DC motors are sterilisable, have ceramic bearings and are available with or without hall sensors. With an ironless winding these DC motors have an exceptionally large speed range, high power, excellent control characteristics and are highly durable. Choose from matching gearheads and with the option to configure the electrical connection.

For more information on an alternative DC motor or for application assistance, please call maxon motor Australia on tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

World First: robotic system for eye surgeries

Dutch company Preceyes developed a world first robotic system for retina disorders, using haptic feedback and maxon DC motors.

Detached retina surgery requires precision to an nth degree where the stability of human hands are no match compared to robotic systems. This is why Dutch company, Preceyes, developed a completely new robotic system for eye surgery. Especially designed for the treatment of retina disorders, the robotic device improves precision up to 20 times more than a Surgeons hand, making operations once deemed impossible due to lack of precision now being successfully performed.

Surgeons operate via a joystick while looking through a microscope. The joystick controls a robotic arm, controlled by maxon DC motors, assisting surgery in millimeter increments. A haptic feedback function allows the surgeon to see and feel their actions and the robotic system supports quick retooling. This is an important factor because it reduces operation time bringing a multitude of benefits to the patient.

For more information on DC motors and drive systems in robotic medical applications, please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

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The new robotic system is used in surgery to treat disorders of the retina. © Preceyes

The first of the new breed ultra-small 6mm and 8mm DC servo motors arrive in Australia

Close inspection of the gear motor combination reveals the extent of motor customisations possible, normally for niche hand built servo motor and gearhead combinations that the Swiss engineers have become famous for.

Completely configured by the end user, maxon motors new micro DC motors system of online motor design and fully automated construction is set to change the future of motor manufacturing technology. Without human interference the tiniest of microdrives can be tailored to the application via an online tool. From the shaft length, diameter and flat features to the mounting method, gearhead reduction, winding characteristics, cable length and connector type. All direct from the motor design portal to the automated manufacturing line. Laser welded steel construction, dual stainless ball bearings and integral strain relief on a motor with only 6mm outer diameter beguiles Australian engineers. Over 17,000rpm at much lower noise levels than previously attained and torque levels to 200mNm make the new 6mm and 8mm servo gear motors incredibly power dense.

The ultra-small DC servo motors have linear control characteristics, zero magnetic detent (cogging) making them suitable for applications such as micro pumps, medical and laboratory dosing devices and robotics.

Contact maxon motor Australia for application, engieering or project assistance.
Ph: +61 2 9457 7477.

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