How AC induction motors can address the global chip shortage
posted by: Paul Jepson, Oriental Motor
Making light work of high efficiency, simple, standard applications are well served by AC induction motors. In this global chip shortage, the appeal of a chip-less motor with high IP ratings and low lead-times has never been more apparent.
Dependable, hard-working and not afraid to take on the ‘grunt work’ - this sounds like the perfect job applicant, but these are in fact attributes of AC induction motors.
Unlike a brushless DC (BLDC) motor, AC induction motors do not use silicon chips, which means that during this global chip shortage, standard lead-times have been extended to uncomfortable limits worldwide. AC induction motors, on the other hand, are still available on lead-times of one week from stock and just four weeks for made-to-order motors.
AC induction motors are easy to use and relatively inexpensive, so are ideal for standard, no-fuss applications. They are perfect for conveyor systems, basic pump systems, turning or polishing machines, for example. All of these require high efficiency but not necessarily precision speed control.
Features that make it easy to use include the ability to connect an AC motor directly to mains power to run at a single speed. Alternatively, it can be connected to a voltage controller (an inverter) for variable speed operation.
If an application specifies high efficiency, the trade-off that an engineer has to consider is torque versus frame size. High efficiency in a motor leads to high torque which increases the frame size. As industrial and consumer products are increasingly expected to be more compact, this poses a dilemma.
“AC induction motors have a high torque compared with frame size, and the Oriental Motor series is particularly versatile, with a wide range of gear heads available and IP ratings that make them ideal for applications as demanding as food processing where they are subjected to frequent washdowns,” says Paul Jepson, New Business Analyst, Marketing and Distribution for Oriental Motor.
AC induction motor wishlist
Sealed construction, short lead-times, high energy efficiency, higher torque gearheads, powder-coating, aesthetics, and IP66/IP67 ratings for dust and water protection all feature on a wishlist of desirable features for those looking to specify an AC induction motor.
Continues Jepson, “Aesthetics are also important and the same in-house design development means that the motors are attractive and modern looking. “We have had customers buy them simply because they look better on their machine.”
“For relatively simple applications, an AC induction motor is still the best choice and readily available on short lead-times which do not disrupt the production cycle,” observes Jepson.
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