Brian Casey, President and CEO
Since the turn of the century, the realm of electric motor engineering has witnessed a multitude of tech-driven breakthroughs that have significantly boosted the operational efficiency and cost-savings for manufacturers across several sectors. And with the electric motor industry undergoing this evolution, the current market is brimming with vendors delivering a wide selection of offerings ranging from newer manufacturing material to software APIs capable of helping their customers realize their motor applications. At the forefront of this race to revolutionize electric motor applications is Massachusetts-based ECM – PCB Stator Technology.
Traditionally, as stator manufacturers used steel for production, the resultant motors would have rigid designs that are extremely expensive and have limited applications. As an antidote to this problem, the R&D team at ECM, proposed the idea of using semiconductor-based printed circuit boards as the building material for stators while applying for several patents that ensured ownership of the transformative way to expand the horizons of motor manufacturing. Subsequently, as the tech-driven disruption shifted the marketplace’s emphasis toward software-based offerings, ECM’s R&D team developed its first software— PrintStator. “Our proprietary motor design and optimization software fundamentally changes the way motors are manufactured as it allows users to build stators that align with their evolving motor applications,” says Brian Casey, president and CEO at ECM.
Unlike conventional stators, ECM’s PCB stator motor technology eliminates the need for wire winding and iron laminations and replaces them with copper-etched conductors that are embedded into a multi-layered printed circuit board. As a result, the motors built using ECM’s stators are ultrathin, up to 70 percent lighter, and require fewer raw materials to build without compromising on their torque.
At the same time, the company tests its motors through high accelerated life test (HALT) to ensure that they have highly durable design, as well as leverage its patented thermal management design to minimize heat damage to the stators. “We employ the same proven manufacturing process in PrintStator that we utilize in the construction of printed circuit boards, enabling manufacturers to design and print stators at any circuit board printer across the globe,” states Casey. Above all, PrintStator produces Gerber files that are ubiquitously utilized by the printed circuit board manufacturing industry.
Currently, ECM has a vast clientele comprising leading organizations in the aerospace, defense, motor OEMs, and consumer appliances sectors. ECM’s unique customer service methodology enables customers to feed the specifications (torque, speed, power, form factor, and more) of their motor application directly into an API on the company’s website. Following this, ECM develops a schematic level design and modeling data sheet based on the client’s needs, thereby aiding the customer to gain an understanding of what a potential end-product could look like. The company then starts the prototyping phase of its engagement strategy and delivers multiple prototype motors based on the provided specifications. “We allow the customer to test the prototypes in the field and finalize their design before leveraging PrintStator to design and develop the final product,” adds Casey.
According to Casey, a huge part of his company’s success is its team’s ability to evolve with every client engagement. ECM has gathered a team of extremely passionate engineers hailing from a plethora of backgrounds that continually strive to develop products and services that are poised to satisfy all customer needs. Moreover, with the industry knowledge and expertise of its R&D team backing their endeavors, the company’s workforce is always poised to develop newer ways to apply the PCB technology and expand the horizons of motor applications.
With such unmatched core competencies, ECM has ignited several success stories since its inception in 2015. In one instance, the company was selected alongside the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to help determine the feasibility of replacing their conventional motor with a PCB stator motor. After proving the benefits of using ECMs stators including reduced drag, increased cargo space, enhanced motor efficiency, and more, MARAD replaced a 3HP air handler motor on the U.S. Kennedy with a PCB stator technology-based motor. In the end, ECM helped MARAD reduce motor weight by two-thirds compared to legacy motors while enhancing their motor efficiency to 91.6 percent.
Moving forward, ECM plans to launch an enhanced version of its website API to instantaneously generate design schematics and data modeling sheets based on client specifications, named the Infinite Motor Catalog. Alternatively, Casey also predicts a surge in bulk orders across Europe and North America as more manufacturers discover the value of replacing their existing motors with ECM’s PCB technology. To conclude, Casey reiterates ECM’s ultimate goal, “In the next 18 months, we aim to develop a software platform where engineers and commercial entities can have access to PrintStator, enabling them to create their own designs and place orders with partner printed circuit board houses.”