Pure copper windings produced through additive manufacturing. High power density with innovative shapes.
Shapes at the service of efficiency
Addtoshape designs and manufactures, through additive manufacturing, innovative windings in pure copper for high performance electric motors. Complex geometries, otherwise not achievable with traditional, round or flat copper wire, are now achievable without limits, allowing maximum freedom of expression in terms of shape, function and performance. Despite large-scale production capacities and the high efficiency achieved by traditional windings, the growing pressure from environmental policies is pushing the electric motor sector to a leading role in the fight to reduce global greenhouse gases. To achieve this, it is necessary to reduce the carbon footprint of electric motors by further increasing their efficiency and power density.
Traditional shape limits
Traditional windings allow the production of electric motors with a vast range of power, torque and rotation speed. However, limits of current electric motors are represented by a non-optimal filling of the volume available for the winding due to the predetermined diameter or section of the copper wire and by the bending limits imposed by copper and its electrical insulator. Indeed, volumes are not optimized due to the manufacturing and assembly process of the windings which do not fit the geometries of the slots. Furthermore, complex geometries cannot be created to counteract power losses at high frequencies. Finally, the current density in windings, on which power density depends, is strongly limited by the poor heat dissipation capacity of the innermost parts of the windings.
Pure copper additive manufacturing is the key
The high thermal and electrical conductivity of pure copper make it the ideal candidate for making windings for innovative electric motors. The recent industrial stability represented by the L-PBF powder bed metal additive manufacturing technology allows the creation of pure copper parts with density close to 100% and very high electrical conductivity, even 102% IACS. Even surface roughness, traditionally a critical aspect of metal additive manufacturing, can play an important role in the production of innovative windings. When properly calibrated, the roughness can create a stronger and more reliable chemical bond with the insulation layer, than possible with the traditional setup.
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A winning synergy. Design for additive at its maximum.
New shapes for the designers of tomorrow
Additive manufacturing of pure copper windings paves the way for a new class of innovative electric motors. New geometries are now accessible, with initial prototyping costs of "proof of concept" extremely lower than traditional costs, with enormous performance and efficiency advantages compared to the traditional method. An example of technological progress is represented by the design strategy of continuously modifying the section of the wire along the entire winding, keeping the area value constant. This allows for the adaption of the entire winding to the available volume of the slot, as a result obtaining a more efficient winding at the same current intensity, or a higher power density.
New features for the designers of tomorrow
The heat developed by the Joule effect and by eddy currents, in the case of alternating current, degrades the layer of electrical insulation and is the main cause of failures in electric motors. Pure copper windings produced through additive manufacturing employ new and unique solutions to overcome this problem. A liquid cooling system can be integrated into the winding to dissipate the heat in a suitable way, with the possibility of cooling the most critical regions, allowing a level of motor operation with higher current densities. Furthermore, insulating material is no longer applied to the copper wire, but directly to the finished winding, this allows for the use of more chemically and thermally performing insulators, allowing higher temperature service and longer motor life, since mechanical properties such as flexibility are no longer required.
The designers of tomorrow
A new professional figure is needed. That of the AM E-Engineer (Additive Manufacturing Electrical Engineer). In their work, AM E-Engineers must apply the use of the design principles represented by DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) right from the early stages of the design of an electric motor. In this way, the complete change of paradigm in the design of electric motors will take place by taking advantage of pure copper windings produced through additive manufacturing. Addtoshape is ready to support and collaborate with electric motor designers to create today what many will do tomorrow.
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Custom design and production
Addtoshape offers to the customers the possibility to produce their own items by using the additive manufacturing, starting from customer's drawings and requirements.