A new concept for electric motors reduces the weight and volume of the motor as well as increasing its efficiency and this will have application in the maritime world writes Dag Pike.

US company ECM is behind this new technology which involves replacing the conventional coiled copper wiring of the stator of the motor with a printed circuit board (PCB). The resulting PCB stator motor is seen initially as a valid replacement for many of the electric motors found on ships and boats that power systems such as pumps and air-conditioning units and to evaluate this technology the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and ECM PCB Stator Technology were selected by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to help determine the feasibility of replacing a conventional motor with a PCB stator motor.

ECM replaced the 3hp air handler motor on the MARAD training ship T/S Kennedy with a 3hp motor integrated with PCB stator technology. The motor that was replaced weighed 45kg and operated at an efficiency of 87.5%. The solution developed by ECM was a third of the weight of the motor it replaced at just 15kg and operated at an efficiency of 91.6%. “The use of ECM’s PCB stator technology onboard ship and the related motor prototyping process were new concepts and were demonstrated as viable, reducing onboard weight and increasing motor efficiency," said Roy Blieberg, ABS Vice President of Engineering.

ECM is in the process of integrating PCB stator technology and Print Stator into air-conditioning and generator motor systems aboard commercial and government maritime vessels. Increased efficiency and a considerable weight reduction are only a few of the claimed benefits when a motor is upgraded with a PCB stator, making the technology applicable for almost any application. At present the technology has been expanded to produce motors of up to 13hp and one marine application being explored is as a propulsion motor for a USV with several test units currently in operation.

“Our motors are scaleable to multi-megawatt sizes and have a variety of maritime applications including propulsion, HVAC (air conditioning), and generators.” said Chris Fielding of ECM. “The maritime industry can benefit from our light weight, efficiency, reliability and low noise.”