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DC motors for environmental and safety applications

From bomb disposal and inspection to air quality monitoring and firefighting, DC motors play a critical role in a variety of environmental and safety applications. EMS supplies a vast range of flat, brushed and brushless DC motors to meet the strict demands of the sector. Find out more about some of the applications we support and recommended products below. 

Emergency response

In an emergency situation such as a collapsed building or a natural disaster, the environment may be too risky to send in human workers. But what can you do when human input and decision making is so critical, yet can’t safely send in workers? 

The answer may be to turn to robotics. By sending remote-controlled robots instead of humans, operators can act within hazardous locations with no risk to themselves. This greatly improves worker safety, without negatively affecting the success rate of the operation.

Choosing remotely controlled robots over pre-programmed robots means they're far more flexible. Their high adaptability means they can perform a range of tasks, including ones that are not easily programmable. In emergencies, which can be highly volatile or require a lot of problem solving, this flexibility is a major advantage. In the case of a collapsing building, for instance, robots could be used first to assess structural integrity and whether the area is safe for human entry. 

Equipment designed to work within such applications must be able to operate under harsh conditions. High humidity, temperature, dirt, and vibration may all be present in a given scenario.  

Hazardous environments

In many sectors, hazardous environments come with the nature of the work. The oil and gas industry for example must regularly handle large quantities of flammable gases, creating potentially explosive environments. Other examples include water tube boilers used for large-scale steam generation. Operating at very high pressures and capable of producing ‘superheated’ steam at temperatures up to 550°C, these water tube boilers can become hazardous if the boiler becomes damaged and cracked at any time. 

Inspection robots can be used to observe and monitor equipment condition in such applications. Their small size means they can easily traverse small pipes that would be difficult for a human operator to work within. It’s also possible to integrate cameras and sensing technology onboard, giving operators a comprehensive view of equipment health, corrosion, and tube wall thickness.

Small DC motors are essential for working in these areas, which often have extremely tight operating spaces. Whether it’s driving the robot itself or providing pinpoint control over the optic imaging systems onboard, it’s essential that these motors operate to the highest level of precision for accurate inspection data. 

Environmental monitoring 

There are numerous applications within the environmental sector that make use of DC motor technology as well. Biodiversity monitoring, both on land and at sea, may be done with a variety of unmanned vehicles. Providing minimal disturbance to wildlife environments, it’s possible to make use of robotics to monitor endangered species, as well as to conduct research into biodiversity within a given area. Onboard cameras may be combined with AI to take images, categorise them, and report on observed findings. 

Another potential application is atmospheric and air quality monitoring. Stationary sensors are commonly used to measure pollution and other metrics relating to air quality — but they don’t always provide the most comprehensive outlook of an area. Instead, it’s possible to mount the sensors onto drones in order to obtain measurements over a larger area. 

This helps to factor in potential hotspots, such as industrial plants and buildings, with the overall picture of a town or city. This technology can be used in emergency scenarios as well, such as studying the atmospheric effects of volcano plumes or smoke generated by wildfires. 

DC motors working in these scenarios must be lightweight enough to minimise the power requirements of the drone. A quick response is paramount to ensure precise control, and to ensure that the drone can keep itself still even in variable, high-wind conditions. 

Recommended FAULHABER products 

BXT series

FAULHABER’s BXT series of brushless flat motors offers a superior power-to-weight ratio thanks to its innovate winding technology. Capable of delivering torques of up to 124 millinewton meters from a 42 mm diameter by 21 mm long package, the BXT is the perfect choice for space-critical applications. 

CR series

For high-performance applications that require dynamic start/stop operations, the CR series can provide the solution. The most powerful product in the FAULHABER DC range, DC motors in the CR range offer a smooth, no-cogging performance in a shockproof all-steel housing. 

Case studies

Automatic EV charging

While electric cars are becoming more popular, there’s still plenty of room for developing the EV experience. One such example is the way cars are charged — nobody wants to see streets littered with charging stations or be tripping on power cables. Here, Volterio offers an efficient alternative that makes sense — an automatic charger that can be safely kept underground when not in use. 

Find out how motors by FAULHABER helped in realising Volterio’s concept in the full case study

With many types of DC motor available, EMS can provide the electronic drive system solution to meet the demands of any application. To find out more, or for advice on the best type of motor for your application, get in touch with a member of the team today. 


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