NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa.—Binder jet 3D printing specialist The ExOne Company is collaborating with Tennessee-based startup Maxxwell Motors to develop a unique copper e-winding design for Maxxwell’s axial flux electric motors, which can be used in electric cars and a range of other heavy-duty vehicles and industrial devices, ExOne said in a release.
ExOne develops 3D printing systems that quickly transform powder materials—including metals, ceramics, composites, and sand—into precision parts, metal casting molds and cores, and tooling. The company also provides specialized 3D printing services, including on-demand production of mission-critical parts, as well as engineering and design consulting.
Maxxwell Motors was founded in 2018 on a vision of improving how electric motors are designed and manufactured—without rare-earth magnets. The company is reported to hold nine U.S and global patents and has launched two products, a 10 kW air-cooled motor generator and a 150 kW liquid-cooled motor.
Maxxwell is led by Chairman Gary Wells, former CEO and current board member of Wells’ Dairy, and CEO Michael Paritee, a former General Motors executive who managed several advanced vehicle programs and has guided technology firms for more than a decade, according to the release.
Optimized 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.
ExOne and Maxxwell are reported to have proven out a new concept for binder jet 3D printing a high-efficiency design in copper that is said to eliminate many of the challenges that come with traditional manufacturing. Additional development and testing are now underway.
“When we 3D print it, a lot of the challenges just go away, and we can actually improve the performance of the motor itself,” Paritee said in the release. “At Maxxwell, we’re taking the most sustainable, and additive manufacturing, point of view as possible to truly improve efficiency, reduce waste, and optimize performance.”
Ultimately, Maxxwell’s goal is to binder jet 3D print winding assemblies as a monolithic piece, eliminating the need for coil wrapping, bending, tooling, and welding of individual parts together, ExOne said in the release.
When produced with binder jet 3D printing, the final part would require fewer manufacturing steps, less energy use, and less material waste to produce. The result: components that are more efficient and deliver improved performance. High-speed binder jetting is also “relatively affordable,” according to ExOne.
“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,” said John Hartner, ExOne’s CEO, in the release. “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.”