The ExOne Company, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA, has announced that it is collaborating with Maxxwell Motors, a startup based in Tennessee, USA, to develop a unique copper e-winding design for its innovative axial flux electric motors which can be used in electric cars as well as a range of other heavy-duty vehicles and industrial devices.
The companies explain that they have successfully proven a new concept for Binder Jetting (BJT) Additive Manufacturing a high-efficiency design in copper that eliminates many of the challenges that come with traditional manufacturing. Additional development and testing are now underway.
Optimised copper windings and rotors in electric motors are among the factors enabling the automotive industry’s transition to hybrid and pure electric power vehicles. However, current methods of manufacturing the windings are costly, inefficient, and limit designs in a way that also limits their performance.
Founded in 2018 and based on a vision of improving how electric motors are designed and manufactured, without rare-earth magnets, Maxxwell holds nine US and global patents and has launched two products: a 10 kW air-cooled motor generator and a 150 kW liquid-cooled motor.
The company is led by chairman Gary Wells, the former CEO and current board member of Wells’ Dairy, maker of Blue Bunny and other ice cream brands, and CEO Michael Paritee, a former General Motors executive that managed several advanced vehicle programmes and has guided technology firms for more than a decade.
“When we 3D print it, a lot of the challenges just go away, and we can actually improve the performance of the motor itself,” stated Paritee. “At Maxxwell, we’re taking the most sustainable, and Additive Manufacturing, point of view as possible to truly improve efficiency, reduce waste and optimise performance.”
Maxxwell’s goal is to binder jet winding assemblies as a monolithic piece, eliminating the need for coil wrapping, bending, tooling, and welding of individual parts together. When produced with BJT, the final part would reportedly require less manufacturing steps and energy utilisation, as well as less material waste to produce – also resulting in components that are more efficient and deliver improved performance.
John Hartner, ExOne’s CEO, added, “The ExOne team is proud to work with both traditional manufacturers and visionary startups working to change the world with innovative concepts such as these. As the automotive industry enters a new era of electrification, our world-class team of engineers stands ready to help solve some of the most pressing challenges with our binder jet 3D printing technology.”