World’s highest power density through 3D printing

World’s highest power density through 3D printing

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Codenamed Ampere, the motor planned will use additive manufacturing to make it lighter, smaller and more efficient than conventional permanent magnet motors. Targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg, Ampere is aiming to be the world’s most power dense electric motor at 20 kW per kg – four times as power dense as conventional electric motors. Its pioneering use of additive manufacturing – essentially 3D metal printing – will also allow it to use the least amount of high strength alloy and magnet material, keeping cost as low possible. Applications are not only in electric cars, but likewise in aerospace and marine.

The key to the motor’s performance is its combination of an advanced motor design with additive manufacturing, allowing its metal structure to be 3D printed, rather than milled from a solid billet. This brings several advantages. Firstly, metal is only put where it is needed. Secondly, thermally efficient thin walls and optimised fine surface details can be combined directly with the motor’s structure, replacing multi- part assemblies with a single, complex architecture that has exceptional cooling ability, is lightweight, has low inertia and allows for greatly increased rotational speed.

This approach not only means that Ampere will use the least amount of high strength alloys in its construction, but also the least amount of expensive active materials – the magnets – too, keeping cost as low as possible. First prototypes are set to be up and running in 12 months’ time.

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