Hyper drive

Researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Power Electronics have developed a drive system capable of achieving over 1,000,000rpm.


Researchers from ETH Zurich’s department of power electronics have developed a miniaturised high-speed electrical drive system capable of achieving over 1,000,000rpm.



Industrially deployed motors have only been able to reach an average of 250,000rpm. However, the SwissUniversity’s breakthrough could pave the way for faster drills and smaller compressors to be used in markets such as aviation and communications technology.



The matchbox-sized device uses ultra-thin copper wire for windings that are inserted in a cylinder made from a type of iron previously unused for machines. The ball bearings are optimised for high speeds and the rotor construction has a titanium shell that is able to withstand extreme centrifugal forces.



The machine was manufactured by ATE GmbH and the ball bearings developed by German company, myonics. ETH Zurich’s department of power electronics were responsible for constructing the system and regulating the electronics.



Based on successful trials, Christof Zwyssug and Martin Batholet, both post-graduate students at ETH Zurich, have founded spin-off company Celeroton. The company hopes to supply manufacturers with high-speed drilling machines for use in small-scale electronics, such as mobile phones.