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Engineers in the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s (AMRC’s) new Design and Prototyping Group have used an EC-4pole brushless DC motor from Maxon to develop a compact, passive-input gearbox for a robotic drilling system.

Using the EC-4pole motor, the automated system can quickly adjust its parameters when drilling complex aerospace structures containing both metal and composite materials.

The latest aircraft use an increasing amount of carbon fibre and other composites. These materials have very different properties and would normally require different drilling parameters. Drilling a hole through a stack of both materials demands a tool that can quickly and efficiently switch between these two modes.

Designing such a tool is made more complicated by the fact that they often have to be deployed in confined spaces, such as within wing boxes or engine intake ducts. Maxon’s EC-4pole brushless motor proved to be particularly suitable for this project.

Key benefits of product application

  • Manufactured in 22mm and 30mm versions, the EC-4pole motor’s high power density and speeds of up to 25,000rev/min make it ideal for high-performance drill applications.
  • According to Paul Williams, senior sales engineer at Maxon, the brushless motor with a magnetic reluctance (MR) encoder allows the customer to quickly control the exact speed and torque on the drill; AMRC’s two-speed gearhead allows high-speed drilling with low torque and to high-torque low speed to meet the different drilling parameters within one drill tool.
  • The passive-input gearbox is able to automatically change gear ratios depending on the rotation direction of the drive motor, while always maintaining the same drill rotation direction.

maxon motor is the world’s leading supplier of high-precision drive systems.

maxon has earned a reputation for constant innovation and unflinching reliability – seeing the company’s products used by the world’s top engineers in fields as demanding as space exploration, formula 1 racing and sub-sea applications.

The maxon product range is developed on a modular basis, giving literally hundreds of thousands of perfectly compatible motor, gear and controller combinations to suit a huge array of applications. With full customisation possible for almost every product, maxon’s experienced sales engineers are on-hand to assist design engineers select precisely the right solution for their needs.

DC motors with ironless winding and flat motors (up to 500W output power, mechanical and electronic commutation).
Planetary, spur and special gears.
Sensors (encoders, DC tachos, resolvers).
Servo amplifiers, position controllers.
High-tech CIM and MIM components.
Customer specific drive solutions.

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