The New England Aquarium (NEA), based in Boston, recently commissioned ECM to replace a conventional 2.2-kW pump motor, used to service a tank responsible for the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, with a custom PCB stator motor solution.
The legacy motor ECM replaced had a rated motor efficiency of 79%, weighed 17 kg, and measured 13-plus inches in axial length. ECM’s solution has a rated motor efficiency of 93%, a mass of 12 kg, and an axial length of just 3.9 inches.
Further, a Fluke 35 Series II Power Analyzer was used to measure the power consumption of both motors to directly compare performance. The aquarium’s existing solution had an average power consumption of 3.36 kW, indicating the motor was likely running at a load condition greater than the 3-hp rated operating point. After the ECM machine was installed, an average power consumption of 3.02 kW was observed for the entire motor system.
By using ECM’s motor solution, NEA gained:
- More than a 17% increase in efficiency;
- More than a 70% decrease in axial length;
- More than a 30% decrease in weight; and
- And a 10% decrease in average power consumption for the entire motor system.
Motor durability was another factor of particular interest in this application. Living in a harsh, saline environment, the legacy motor had many issues with reliability, specifically with salt buildup as well as bearing failure from corrosion. Since ECM motors have fully encapsulated copper windings and are totally enclosed machines, IP ratings of IP68 or higher can be achieved to help increase the life expectancy of the ECM motor in comparison with existing solutions. The ECM PCB stator motor has been running continuously at the NEA without issue since August 2021.
Using the PrintStator design software, ECM can design motors that offer substantially higher efficiency levels, a reduced weight, and an ultra-thin form factor. More efficient energy use means less fuel consumption, reduced energy costs, and a smaller carbon footprint. Requiring significantly less raw materials and an axial flux form factor allow PCB stator motors to be extremely light with less axial length. Further, ECM’s stators are fully encapsulated in FR4, reducing reliability and maintenance issues that arise from vibration and insulation failures, leading to an extended motor lifespan and less required maintenance. This lack of vibration in PCB stators also means ECM’s motors make less audible noise.
ECM is in the process of integrating PCB stator technology and the PrintStator software into a wide range of HVAC and pump motor systems in both the industrial and residential sectors. High motor efficiencies, significant weight reduction, and ultra-thin form factors are a few of the benefits that have been highlighted by HVAC industry leaders. Increased durability and low audible noise further add to the value of PCB stator motors for HVAC applications and beyond.
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