AN Australian motor manufacturer hopes to secure an unfettered portion of the global market with a new moulded electric motor design. Intelligent Electric Motor Solutions (IEMS) is a spin-off company from a manufacturing business with a 77 year operating history and has now been producing electric motors for five years. Like many Australian companies however, IEMS has faced increasing difficulty competing with large-scale production facilities in the US, Europe and Japan, and low cost labour countries, particularly China. With this impetus, IEMS recently channelled over $1 million dollars into research and development, the company’s CEO, David Gehlert told FEN. “The Australian market is being inundated by imports and so we decided we should develop our own product range,” Gehlert said. The result was “moulded” motors with enormous commercial potential. The motors have an iron core, constructed in a single step by moulding iron powder into the required shape using a large press. This is a revolution upon the traditional method of stacking hundreds of thin sheets of iron (laminations), one on top of one another. IEMS’ moulded designs are an estimated 30-40% cheaper to produce than conventional electric motors and eliminate the scrap material inevitably left over from conventional processes. They also use less copper. These motors have the inherent benefits of brushless DC variable speed motors, with electronic controllers making them highly efficient. Gehlert said he expected the total efficiency of the power transmissions to be around 90%. IEMS aims to establish the primary manufacturing capabilities of such high-efficiency, low-cost motors in Australia and is working with the University of Adelaide to optimise the manufacturing process. Researchers at the school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering are currently testing IEMS’ designs with a computer aided test setup and developing faster design tools for future motor configurations. The project has been supported by a $170,000 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and IEMS is looking for further financial support from companies in end-user markets. Initial manufacturing targets are for applications in wheel-chairs, golf carts, scooters, electric-assisted bicycles and air-conditioners. The motor has already been used in a car under the University of South Australia’s Two Person Renewable Energy Vehicle Project. Click here to view the entire FEN article.