Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AC & DC Standard Motors? What on Earth?

Fractional Horsepower Motors? Micro AC Gear motors? These all relate to the same range! But how?

In the early days, the engineers working at the Oriental Motor Company faced a recurring problem. Customers had so many different requirements for motor and gearbox combinations, that it could be quite expensive to produce specially developed motors for each end-users unique requirements on a daily basis.

For larger customers the quantities could be built easily inexpensively, quickly and efficiently simply due to the large quantities, but for others, supplying motors for prototypes or small runs could become quite expensive and un-viable for the the large manufacturer to develop.

Faced with this problem, their designers after lengthy consideration and deliberation decided to create their own unique AC Motor Geared range to fill the gap left by independent manufacturers requiring many unique combinations of gearboxes and motors in smaller quantities.

To get past this design issue, they produced their brand new style of motors and gearboxes with common ratios from the zippy 3:1 ratio all the way to slower but high powered powered 200:1 ratio gearboxes, and coupled them to most requested ranges of small AC spur motors selected from 6 Watts AC through to 200 Watts AC. They chose Induction, Reversible, Speed Control and Electromagnetic Brake type motors.

To differentiate it at the time from products from other manufacturers they called the series, "The Standard Motor", though over the years they also came to be known as "Fractional Horsepower Motors".

This removed the requirement of the purchasing company needing to tell the Oriental designers the particular specifications for their intended purpose and have it custom created. Instead, the manufacturer could now simply look at a table of data provided directly by the motor supplier and choose the most suitable motor and gearbox combination for the wattage, motor type, speed and size best suited to their intended design.

And so, the Oriental Motor company could now offer a single range of products that could be built cheaply, in quantity and easily.

The range was huge success because there was simply no more waiting time.

Any company could order any quantity and have it within days rather than waiting months for the products to be delivered.

Following the popularity of the AC motors, the company quickly shifted their development team to a DC series and offered the same frame sized motors in DC 12v, 24v, 36v, 48v,90v and 180 Volts.

Since its inception, The Standard motor range has been copied by many companies over the years and is one of the most popular of all small geared AC and DC Motors available today. It is used in a multitude of products such as packaging machines, conveyor systems, automated shelving systems, pizza ovens, robotics and has more uses today than ever conceived by the original designers!

The range of Standard Motors are available in AC Single Phase, Three phase and DC with the major models being Induction, Reversible, Electromagnetic Brake and Speed Controlled motors.

Due to the immense success gained since these were first offered for sale, many duplicates of the motor exist and some take the idea far beyond the original design offering either a truly unique combination, including right angled gearboxes, worm drives and Planetary gears or further refinement through greater efficiency, and others simply try to duplicate as closely as the can possibly get to the original motor, or as close as they can get with the limitations of their machinery.

The Standard motors Are available from a variety of different companies and are mainly produced in Japan (Oriental, Panasonic), Taiwan (Sesame, GPG Motors), Korea(SPG), India and China (the list is exhaustive).

The overall build quality can be determined by any number of factors, the most influential being: Precision,Efficiency ratings, Materials used and the overall capacity and age of the manufacturers operating equipment.

Some of the best brands in the available today in the standard motor ranges include GPG Motor Company, Oriental Motor Company, SPG, Panasonic, Bison and the Maili Titan.

Problems to be aware of when hunting for these Gear Motor combinations for your business!

If you are looking for a cheap units through China or India, know that the original motor was built in two completely different designs!

The original model was a squarish looking model with both an active fan and passive heat sinked casing for better cooling efficiency, while the newer design was a cylindrical shape,taking advantage of the higher precision equipment available in the years between the design changes.

The newer design is much less efficient than the older design, but thanks the the much higher precision and greater efficiency bearings there is less heat generated by the cylindrical designs these days which allows them to use the smooth case design rather than the old finned casings. Plus, admittedly they look much better.

Still, while the cylindrical model is suitable for the manufacturers with high precision machinery, many Chinese and Indian manufacturers still attempt a direct copy of the newer cylindrical design even though they are unable to reproduce the same high levels of precision that well built Japanese/Taiwanese/Korean models can achieve.

When we first sourced our ranges of motors, to prove to ourselves of what the outcome would be, we put every Chinese/Indian motor and gearbox combination we could buy to the test (in both squarish and cylindrical designs). The first thing we noticed with every one of the newer design copies tested that they ran much warmer than they were ever designed for.

This ultimately leads to seal/bearing failure and is caused simply by the lower efficiency of the components creating much more heat than the cylindrical model can easily dissipate. It's also to do with the raw alloy compositions used in the manufacturing of the casing, but that goes well beyond the scope of this article.

When purchasing from an unknown manufacturer, do yourself a service and try to look for the older squarish design which runs much cooler with a far higher efficiently rating than the attempted copies of the newer cylindrical design. Believe us, you'll save yourself many headaches from customers complaining that the motor overheated and shut down or burned out.

Another thing you really should be aware of is the material and hardening processes used in the shaft and gearbox designs. When we performed our testing, the first thing we saw in a lot of gear motors was excessive wear on gearbox helical gears and motor spur gears. This made the units quite noisy while they were in operation and leads to a much shorter lifespan for both the motor and the gearbox.

We also noticed bearing and seal failure, was quite common when the units were left to run continuously over a period of up to 60 days at their rated torque loads.

It's a tough market full of pitfalls and traps, but now, armed with a little knowledge you'll be much better equipped to source your motors for your personal hobbies or big company projects!

Good Luck!

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