Experts from MTC to develop a complete 3D printed electric motor

UK-based Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is joining a range of players who have decided to play their part in an “electrified future”. The independent Research & Technology Organisation has announced plans to develop an electric motor made from 3D printed parts.

The MTC’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing along with the centre’s electrification experts have found a way of producing an electric motor with major additively manufactured parts.

The result is a motor with increased motor power despite a reduction in the size and mass of key components, a part count reduction making supply chains simpler, increased manufacturing efficiency, lower running costs and reduced assembly and inspection time and costs.

Although a 3D-printed electric motor has been the subject of theoretical studies in the past, it has never reached commercial reality. In line with its objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry, the MTC team has now cleared a path for the development and production of an electric motor using AM.

It has already developed a way of producing an electric motor casing including integrated cooling channels using AM and the ambition is for the motor to be wholly manufactured using AM.

MTC chief technologist Steve Nesbitt said the development of electric motors hadn’t received this level of focus for more than 100 years, despite costs, quality and performance being high on manufacturers’ priority lists.

“The process of manufacturing electric motors has a number of challenges including complex or manual assembly, materials that are difficult to process and which can be expensive, thermal management, and the need to make the assembly lighter. By leveraging the capabilities of additive manufacture through product redesign major benefits can be achieved in costs, waste reduction, performance and ease of manufacture”, Nesbitt concludes.

The MTC’s experts are now involved in a detailed examination of further developments required for production, and overcoming potential challenges and constraints.

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