maxon DC motors are currently on Mars, helping collect vital information on the Red Planet.
On November 26, 2018 NASA’s InSight rover touched down on Mars. maxon DC motors went straight into action to unfold the two solar panels, securing the energy supply that operates the all-important probe. There are two main instruments onboard InSight, a seismometer to measure potential quakes on Mars and a heat sensor designed to drill down five meters into the ground. The sensor was developed by German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). Its rod digs into the hard soil using a hammer mechanism, driven by a DCX motor from maxon. The rate of boring down strongly depends on the composition of the soil, which hasn’t been ideal, the rod hit an obstruction in the very first hammering cycle. However, the engineers at DLR are confident these complexities can be overcome and that the sensor will reach the projected depth.
To efficiently drive the penetrometer into the ground, the DC motor needed to withstand forces in excess of 400 g – and more than 100,000 times. It took a number of variations and failed tests to find the right solution. The result is a standard DCX 22 motor, greatly modified with additional welding rings, bearing welds and specially shortened brushes. The GP 22 HD gearhead, on the other hand, only needed Mars-specific lubrication.
InSight’s mission is to carry out several measurements over a period of two years and provide insights into Mars and the formation of Earth. The mission is being conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA.
For more information on DC motors and gearheads that withstand exceptionally harsh environments, strong vibrations and extreme temperatures contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
The latest issue of maxon’s driven magazine looks at developments and trends in e-mobility.
50 years ago, it wouldn’t have been dreamed of that a family could go on a trip in their car without burning a drop of fuel. Or that inexperienced cyclists could tour vast mountain ranges. Or that robots pull weeds, not humans. These are three, of many, examples that show the influence of electric drive systems on our daily lives and our mobility.
In addition to e-mobility developments, readers get an insight into the battery development at maxon and meet a friendly superhero with a disability. For inquisitive minds, there is an in-depth technical article about inductance in iron-core DC motors.
For more information or to download your free copy of driven click here. Contact maxon motor Australia for application assistance tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
driven, the maxon magazine, appears twice annually in three languages and is full of interesting reports, interviews, and news from the world of drive technology. The current issue is available online or can be ordered in print, free of charge.
Introducing the new configurable ECX SPEED 6 M brushless DC motor that accelerates from 0 to 100,000 rpm in 5 milliseconds.
The ECX SPEED 6 M is a new brushless DC motor from maxon. With an ironless winding suitable for speeds up to 100,000 rpm and available in 3, 6 or 12 V nominal voltage. With the option of two power ratings, the High Power version delivers approximately 25% more torque than the standard version. The brushless motor is offered with Hall sensors or as a sensorless version. It is configurable and can be combined with matching gearheads and encoders.
This particular DC motor is useful in applications with space constraints that require high precision positioning tasks such as those found in medical and lab automation and robotics industries.
For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
In November 2018 after 2 years of construction, a new centre for the manufacture of microdrives in the medical technology industry officially opened in Sachseln, Switzerland.
To keep up with demand maxon motor built a new Innovation centre for continued collaboration of various R&D departments as well as state-of-the-art cleanrooms to produce microdrives for use in the medical technology industry. These DC motor drives are used in insulin pumps, medication delivery systems or surgical robots and the cleanrooms enable maxons’ continued fulfilment of highest quality standards.
The new building is the fifth building at maxon headquarters. A solar panel system on the rooftop provides up to 180 megawatt-hours of energy every year. More than 1200 employees currently work at maxon headquarters. The Innovation centre cost approximately CHF 30m and represents an important part of maxon’s growth strategy. “With this step, we are strengthening our Swiss headquarters and our ability to focus even more on individual markets worldwide,” says maxon CEO Eugen Elmiger. The measures include establishing a global R&D team and continuous expansion of the eight production sites. With more than 2600 employees worldwide, the company is set to focus on complete drive systems and their integration into a wide variety of applications.
For more information on drive system solutions particularly in the medical field please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
maxon motor is excited to announce the acquisition of British gear motor manufacturer Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd. This expands maxon’s product portfolio and introduces new capabilities within the medical technology and industrial automation fields, amongst others.
maxon motor acquired the British-based Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd. Parvalux has been in operation for more than 70 years and offers brushed DC motors, AC motors and gearheads. Covering three production sites across the UK and with more than 185 employees, Parvalux generated revenues of £23 million annually with exports reaching approximately 40% worldwide.
The new technologies available to maxon include AC motors, worm gearboxes and DC drives with power ranges up to 1.5 kW. maxon is also better placed to serve the industry (robotics and transport systems) and medical technology (stair lifts, electric wheelchairs, etc.) markets.
In turn Parvalux benefits from maxon’s global sales network for its continued growth, and plans to expand the business’s workforce. The management board of Parvalux remains unchanged and an agreement to keep the price of the acquisition will remain confidential.
Another alignment between maxon and Parvalux was their vision to provide highly customised solutions tailored to individual customer requisites. maxon’s strategy of long-term sustainable growth is evident in this partnership. “We want to be a long-term market leader in the drives market and offer our customers the best service possible,” says maxon CEO Eugen Elmiger. Chairman of the board of directors Dr. Karl-Walter Braun adds: “I’m confident that Parvalux will contribute to this goal with its know-how and high quality products, and that the company will prove to be an outstanding addition to the maxon world.”
For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. + 61 2 9457 7477.
The 2018 Junior RoboCup Competition was a success for the teams from Fort St High School and maxon were proud to be on board.
maxon motor Australia were delighted to sponsor Fort St. High School in this year’s Robocup Junior competition. The team competed in two divisions; Rescue, where robots navigate an obstacle course to locate and rescue a victim, and Soccer, where four robots contest each other in a game of soccer.
Fort St. High School have extensively used maxon DC motors particularly the DCX 19S and A-Max motors, selected for their excellent power-torque ratio. The A-Max motors proved useful in Open Rescue, being used as part of a claw mechanism due to the high torque and thus grip. The DCX19S were used in the Open Soccer robots.
At the NSW State Competition, the School teams achieved excellent placings:
- 2nd Open Rescue: Mars Rover
- Rescue Innovation Award: Mars Rover
- Rescue Innovation Award: PATANEtial Nationals
And at Nationals (Melbourne) the School received the Award for Best Robot Design for Open Rescue: Mars Rover.
maxon is proud of the achievements of all of the students that entered the competition and recognises the hard work and dedication from the teams and teachers, and all supporters who help to invest in the engineers of the future.
For more information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
With a focus on research and motor controller integration, Dr Carlos Bacigalupo has joined maxon motor’s Sydney office.
Maxon motor Sydney is delighted to announce the addition of Dr Carlos Bacigalupo to their team. His responsibilities as Head of Research and Development include the expansion of maxon’s software and robotic systems with a particular focus on the integration with existing systems.
Today’s requirements are more complex for motors. Diagnostics, networking or functional safety are becoming increasingly relevant. The advanced customisation and integration of maxon’s controllers offer broader functionality and flexibility of use.
For over 25 years, maxon motor has offered a complete controller portfolio covering simple current and speed control to highly dynamic and motor-integrated controllers. There is also a focus on the area of motion and dynamic control for both, brushed and brushless DC motors.
Dr Bacigalupo’s professional background includes international business development, software engineering, project management and scientific research. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Buenos Aires, a combined Honours Degree in Advanced Science from the University of Bristol and Macquarie University, and a PhD in Astrophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney. He joins maxon from his most recent position in the Astronomical Instrumentation Industry. He has been involved in the development of world class astronomical instruments for over 10 years. Some of his projects include the HERMES spectrograph, currently observing over a million stars using the largest optical telescope in Australia, the automation of the Macquarie University observatory and the development of the controlling software of the Taipan instrument aimed to increase the precision of the measured rate of expansion of the Universe.
For further information please contact maxon motor Australia tel. + 61 2 9457 7477.
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.
For many, many years nature has inspired engineers in evolving and enhancing technology to create powerful and proficient robots. Here are some examples of current creative developments.
Birds, Dogs, Snakes and Elephants are just some of the animals inspiring mechatronic engineers to design state of the art robots. Here maxon takes a closer look.
The bionic bird A French company has developed a bionic bird toy that can be controlled with a smartphone. A lightweight 9 grams, the bird can achieve speeds of up to 20 km/h and has a range covering more than 100 metres. The bird presents an alternative to propeller drones.
ANYmal Engineers at ETH Zurich developed a four-legged robot that was made for very harsh conditions and can move autonomously. Since its inception in 2009, ANYmal has evolved into machine that can conquer inclines, run, jump and press elevator buttons. Using laser sensors and cameras, the robot continuously creates a map of its terrain, knows where it is and navigates through the changing landscape. Weighing around 30 kg it can carry a payload up to 10kg and run for 2 hours on a fully charged battery. The future use for the ANYmal is expected for inspections, rescue operations or the entertainment industry.
The underwater snake
A modular underwater robot snake has been developed for use in inspections, maintenance and repair work reaching distances and places that conventional underwater robots are unable to reach. The robot is flexible and has moving connecting parts with the option of mounting tools. Inside the connecting modules are maxon brushless DC motors with customised gearheads. The underwater robot has been in constant development for 10 years with the current model reliant on a cable. Future versions include keeping the robot on the bottom of the ocean indefinitely at a docking station from where it can launch into action when needed.
This robot was named so because it moves like a snake. With a diameter of 6cm it can fit into narrow spaces making it suitable for inspection in unstable environments such as after earthquakes. With independent modules the SnakeBot can also climb up plant legs and posts. There are approx.. 20 maxon EC20 flat brushless motors in the snake, selected for both their high torque and ability to withstand short periods of overload.
This robot is modelled on an octopus’s tentacles and elephant’s trunk. With skin made of innovative fibre technology this robot offers flexible movement that can bend in three different directions at the same time. The robot is pneumatic and lightweight with 12 degrees of freedom and can carry up to three kilos of payload.
For further information on any of these examples please contact maxon motor Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.
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.