Though often overlooked, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are central to commercial activity and daily life. HVAC motors and machines are also in need of a 21st century design upgrade, largely due to novel realities around mass electrification and energy sustainability.
For enterprises engineering products in this space, finding the optimum mix of cost, precision, customizability, and performance is key.
Perfect Pair for HVAC motors: PrintStator Motor CAD and PCB Stator
To achieve that balance, one must apply the right tools and technology to the core of any HVAC system: the electric motor.
And unfortunately, traditional machines won’t power the future of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. In fact, outdated motor technology has become a drag on HVAC engineering.
Conventional machines, such as AC, DC, and hermetic units, rarely reach efficiency rates above 75 percent. These electric motor classes are bulky, loud, require a lot of raw materials to produce, and are costly and complicated to manufacture and dispose of.
Continued reliance on this past technology in HVAC is the primary reason electric motor systems are sucking approximately 40 percent of the U.S.’s annual electricity output in the U.S.
Advancing the future of HVAC motors and product engineering comes down to a powerful merger of two things: next generation Motor CAD and disruptive innovation.
As a company, ECM pairs our advanced motor design platform, PrintStator, to patented PCB Stator technology to create next generation axial flux electric machines with premium performance, qualities for HVAC applications.
PCB Stators replace the bulky copper windings in traditional motors with an ultra-thin disc. PrintStator powers the design of PCB Stator electric motors that are smaller, quieter, and more energy and space efficient.
Axial flux PCB Stator motors designed via PrintStator are up to 70% lighter than conventional options, while achieving efficiencies in the mid-90s, and requiring just 20% of the raw materials.
PrintStator Motor CAD
On the software side, ECM’s proprietary PrintStator optimization product fundamentally changes the way electric motors are designed and manufactured. PrintStator quickly transforms exact customer performance and form factor specs into optimized PCB Stator designs.
PrintStator provides a range of customization options, including motor dimensions, voltage/current restraints, performance specifications, target efficiency, and the specific magnetic material integrated.
For example, if a European HVAC manufacturer needs a 1.62 horsepower electric fan motor that achieves 94% efficiency, conforms to an exact form factor, and complies with regional minimum energy performance (MEPs) requirements, that can be designed via the PrintStator platform.
As such, PrintStator allows HVAC innovators to design a motor around their system instead of designing a system around the limitations of an outdated, off the shelf electric motor.
Big Benefits to HVAC Motors and Systems
Altogether, PrintStator and PCB Stator innovation offer enormous benefits to the HVAC industry. ECM has already worked with a number of HVAC partners (many under confidentiality agreements) to utilize PrintStator to design superior products.
For example, the New England Aquarium leveraged PrintStator designs to replace a conventional pump motor with a custom PCB Stator motor solution for tanks that service the rehabilitation of sea turtles. The legacy machine that ECM replaced had a rated motor efficiency of 79%, weighed 17kg and was over 13 inches in axial length.
ECM’s axial flux solution reached a motor efficiency of 93%, reduced mass to 12kg, decreased axial length to just 3.9 inches, and lowered average electricity consumption from 3.36kw to 3.02kw.
In another HVAC application, ECM used PrintStator with a large, international HVAC pump manufacturer to design an ultra-light, premium efficiency, next generation PCB Stator pump motor that outperforms the leading market competitor. As profiled in American Machinist, ECM’s 3hp pump solution achieves an efficiency rating of 94%—2.9% higher than market leading option—is 68% lighter than the alternative and requires 66% less copper with an axial length that’s 300mm shorter.
In a third notable use case, ECM’s engineers deployed PrintStator with a global HVAC company to create a cooling fan that attained a mid-ninety percent efficiency rating while coming in 100 pounds lighter and achieving an axial length 66% shorter than the market competitor.
Vertical Integration, Meeting MEPs
Parallel to the aforementioned benefits, three additional factors make PrintStator a phenomenal tool for HVAC innovators:
- Vertical Integration
- Regulatory Compliance; and
- Constant Product Adaptation
ECM’s PrintStator SaaS platform extends options for vertical integration and production to both large and small HVAC industry players.
The product offering allows HVAC companies with existing manufacturing capabilities to leverage optimized electric motor designs for in house production. For HVAC partners without manufacturing abilities, ECM maintains a network of preferred PCB manufacturing houses around the world to enable immediate prototyping and rapid time-to-market for custom electric motors.
A second notable pro to PrintStator is the ability to leverage its advanced Motor CAD features to design sustainable products in compliance with regional electric motor regs. It’s widely understood that outdated electric motors systems—a substantial sub-set within HVAC—account for over 40% of global energy consumption.
ECM is working with several global HVAC manufacturers to incorporate PrintStator-designed PCB Stator solutions into products compliant with the EU’s eco-design, motor MEPs. The EU projects these ecodesign motor regulations will save households $22 billion in energy costs by delivering 110 TWh of annual energy savings.
Finally, the PrintStator’s user-group program stages the Motor CAD platform for constant product improvement via user feedback channeled into consistent software updates.
Overall, PrintStator offers a powerful tool for HVAC innovators to design next generation brushless DC electric motors with premium performance, sustainability, and form factor qualities.