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Electric Motor Gets Smart

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology For immediate release


A new "smart" electric motor using microprocessor technology is set to revolutionise how motors work with industrial tools, home appliances and other machinery. Auckland machinery-maker Teknatool International Ltd has developed the motor - which features a computer to vary its speed - for use on wood-turning lathes. But production and development director Roger Latimer says applications for the new motor are much wider. "Control electronics and the advent of micro-computers have made it possible to use these motors in even very small machines and appliances," Mr Latimer says. He believes the "smart" motor will become standard in many applications.

The motor works by using a computer to energise the magnets which "pull" the rotor around. "The little computer switches on the magnets in sequence. This enables the motor to be controlled precisely - the smart bit is that the motor always knows what the shaft is doing and enables precise speed control and shaft positioning," Mr Latimer says. "The computer chip supplies only enough power to ensure that the rotor is at the programmed position, resulting in high efficiency." Mr Latimer says it is easy to build the motor as part of the machine it is working with, eliminating many components and making the whole machine more reliable and maintenance free. He says the motors are efficient, and as energy conservation becomes important their use in something as simple as a refrigerator will be a distinct advantage. The project to develop the motor was supported by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Teknatool worked with Dr Ibrahim Al-Bahadly of Massey University and an overseas research facility in the motor's development. Teknatool has 23 employees and has been making woodworking machinery for 20 years with about 90 per cent exported. Mr Latimer says the company intends to launch the motor on to the market in September and has been demonstrating it to potential overseas customers. -ends-

Contact: * Roger Latimer, Teknatool International Ltd, 65 The Concourse, Waitakere City, Auckland. Ph: (09) 837-6907. Fax: (09) 837-6901. Email: Website: * Ian Gray, Technology New Zealand (Auckland Office) at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Ph: (09) 912-6730, or 021 660 409. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email:

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