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Case Study

ECM and Cone Drive Develop Impressive Actuators

ECM and CONE DRIVE Integrates PCB Stator Technology into their robotic joint actuator applications.

Hollow Shaft Actuator Application specifications


ECM and CONE DRIVE (a Division of TIMKEN) recently partnered to integrate ECM’s printed circuit board (PCB) stator technology with CONE DRIVE’s harmonic drive technology, Harmonic Solutions, to create remarkably small, powerful, integrated, hollow shaft actuator packages for robotic applications. CONE DRIVE is a large, multinational, high-tech precision gearing company whose products are widely used in industrial robots, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, medical equipment, and aerospace programs. ECM’s PCB Stator motors are used to power fans, pumps, and small vehicles, on land, sea, and air. ECM and CONE DRIVE are working together to create additional robotic joint actuator designs.

“Our customers frequently asked us for solutions which are lighter weight, more compact, and energy efficient. We decided to team up with ECM because they have a game changing approach which fits neatly with the range of our solutions.”

Jeff Breakey, Cone Drive, Global Accounts

Benefits of PCB Stator Technology for Hollow Shaft Actuator Applciaitons

ECM and CONE DRIVE decided to join forces because they each offer technologies that integrate seamlessly into a range of robotic applications to provide compact, efficient, torque-dense solutions.

CONE DRIVE’s Harmonic Solutions, which utilize harmonic drive technology, paired with ECM’s customer-designed flexible form factor, enables compact, lightweight robotic designs that were previously not possible. Combining CONE DRIVE’s and ECM’s technologies increases motor efficiency, improves battery life for mobile applications, and reduces energy costs for stationary ones. Hollow shaft capabilities of both designs add flexibility to the combined technology packages.

“We knew that ECM’s PCB Stator technology – which simplifies the geometry of the rotor and stator – could reduce the number of parts within a fully integrated actuator gear drive platform for a wide range of robotic automation applications. We wanted to team up with CONE DRIVE because they are a recognized leader in this growing field, and their ‘challenger’ culture is totally compatible with ours.”

Chris Fielding, ECM VP Applied Engineering


Hollow Shaft Actuator

ECM and CONE DRIVE designed and prototyped a robotic joint hollow shaft actuator with a fully integrated CONE DRIVE Harmonic Solution Drive and ECM PCB Stator. The resulting actuator is significantly more efficient at 2/3 the weight and 1/2 the axial length of any previously available integration.

Integrated Actuator and DriveCurrently Available hollow shaft actuator integrationECM – Cone Drive hollow shaft actuator integration
Strain wave gear size – reduction ratio17 – 100:1Cone Drive Harmonic DriveTM : 17 – 100:1
MotorBrushless Servo: 200/100VAC, DC24VPCB Stator: 200/100VAC, 12-72V DC
Torque – Continuous, Max (Nm)0.220 Nm / 22.0 Nm0.220 Nm / 22.0 Nm with Harmonic Drive
Max Speed2,0002,000
Max Load – Axial, Radial (kN)9.8, 2.916.3, 5.1
Moment Load (kN)188205
Axial Length (mm)7843
Mass (kg)2.51.63

Next Steps

ECM is continuing to work with CONE DRIVE Harmonic Solutions to integrate the combination of harmonic drive technology and PCB Stator technology into a variety of robotic applications including medical, manufacturing, and automation. This breakthrough comes at a time when most major manufacturing, food processing, and logistics firms are seriously considering re-engineering their manufacturing and delivery supply chains.

Contact Us

Rob Luchars
Vice President, Business Development – ECM PCB Stator Tech –

Jeff Breakey
Automation Sales Director – Strategic Global Accounts – Cone Drive –
CONE DRIVE is a Division of TIMKEN