ExOne collaborates with Maxxwell Motors on development of 3D-printed copper windings for axial flux electric motors
The ExOne Company, a leading provider of industrial sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, is collaborating with startup Maxxwell Motors on development of a unique copper e-winding design for its innovative axial flux electric motors, which can be used in electric cars as well as a range of other heavy-duty vehicles and industrial devices.
ExOne and Maxxwell Motors have successfully binder jet 3D printed a high-efficiency copper e-winding design for an electric motor without rare-earth magnets. The new approach saves time, money and improves performance.
ExOne and Maxxwell Motors have successfully proved out a new concept for binder jet 3D printing a high-efficiency copper e-winding design that eliminates many of the challenges that come with traditional manufacturing of copper coils for electric motors. This new process eliminates the need for traditional coil wrapping, bending, tooling, and other inefficient process steps, also improving final part performance.
Founded in 2018 based on a vision of improving how electric motors are designed and manufactured without rare-earth magnets, Maxxwell holds nine US and global patents and has launched two products, a 10 kW air-cooled motor generator and a 150 kW liquid-cooled motor.
In one of Maxxwell Motor’s patented electric motor designs, the copper coils for the stator winding fully surround the motors to conduct electricity and can be seen in the areas marked 132A and 132B. Approximately 36 coils are used in a standard motor design in each of those areas, but Maxxwell and ExOne aim to consolidate all the coils into a single 3D printed part, saving time and money.
Optimized copper windings and rotors in electric motors are among the factors enabling the automotive industry’s transition to hybrid and pure electric power vehicles. However, current methods of manufacturing the windings are costly, inefficient, and limit designs in a way that also limits their performance.
ExOne and Maxxwell have successfully proved out a new concept for binder jet 3D printing a high-efficiency design in copper that eliminates many of the challenges that come with traditional manufacturing. Additional development and testing are now underway.
Ultimately, Maxxwell’s goal is to binder jet 3D print winding assemblies as a monolithic piece, eliminating the need for coil wrapping, bending, tooling, and welding of individual parts together.
When produced with binder jet 3D printing, the final part would require less manufacturing steps and energy utilization, as well as less material waste to produce—also resulting in components that are more efficient and deliver improved performance. What’s more, high-speed binder jetting is relatively affordable.