Figure 1. AGVs (left) and AMRs (right) require high-torque, high-efficiency and compact drivetrain solutions. Source: ElectroCraftFigure 1. AGVs (left) and AMRs (right) require high-torque, high-efficiency and compact drivetrain solutions. Source: ElectroCraft

Autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are key elements in optimizing the efficiency and profitability of an automated warehouse. Minimizing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the AGV or AMR is a must, and this depends heavily on the design of its drivetrain. If the OEM uses well-designed, proven components, the mobile platform will provide many years of service, handling cumbersome, heavy loads efficiently with minimal downtime for maintenance. In contrast, a poorly designed drivetrain will lead to higher energy costs, increased maintenance and premature wear and failure.

The difference in the TCO between the reliable machine and its less robust counterpart is stark. That puts pressure on the design engineer to choose the best power supply, control systems, motors, gearboxes, wheels and brakes to combine into a drivetrain, which ensures the mobile robot features the optimum trade-off between cost, reliability, efficiency, load-carrying capability, uptime and longevity.

Wheel drive systems for these applications require efficient and durable high torque brushless DC (BLDC) gearmotors to achieve the long-term performance and reliability that users expect. In the MPW wheel drive series, ElectroCraft offers best-in-class designs optimized for mobile robot applications. The MPW is an integrated design combining a high torque-density BLDC motor with a heavy-duty integrated planetary gearbox mounted inside the hub of a lightweight aluminum wheel with custom tread. Compared to earlier permanent magnet motors, BLDC motors are quiet and efficient, and require little maintenance because they have no brushes to wear out. The absence of brushes also lowers inertia, making BLDCs very responsive with high efficiency output and quieter operation.

The MPW provides increased performance and reliability compared to traditional motor, gearbox and wheel combinations. The increased efficiency yields benefits in longer battery life, increasing the time between recharges. Robotic OEMs can save space and reduce weight without sacrificing load capacity and speed.

Figure 2. The compact MWP52 and MCP86 provide a best-in-class solution for AGVs and AMRs. Source: ElectroCraftFigure 2. The compact MWP52 and MCP86 provide a best-in-class solution for AGVs and AMRs. Source: ElectroCraft

MPW Series offerings

There are currently two family members. The MPW52 wheel drive (150 mm wheel) provides a best-in-class peak torque of 110 lb/inch at 2.4 m/s, while carrying up to 150 pounds per wheel.

The newly released MPW86 wheel drive (200 mm wheel) provides a peak torque of up to 310 lb/inch at up to 4.3 m/s, while carrying up to 500 pounds per wheel. The MPW86 integrates an eight-pole BLDC motor with a heavy-duty, single or two-stage planetary gearbox mounted inside the hub of an aluminum wheel with polyurethane tread.

The MPW86 features optional encoder feedback to support positioning capability and an electromagnetic brake to hold position when power is removed. Available with eight different motor and gearing combinations, the MPW86 offers a variety of speed-torque configurations to match a wide range of application requirements.

The new model is ideal for larger size AGVs, AMRs, motorized carts and tuggers, or practically any battery powered application designed to transport heavy loads. As with all ElectroCraft products, the MPW series wheel drives are customizable to meet specific application requirements.

About ElectroCraft

ElectroCraft, Inc. is a global provider of dependable, application-engineered fractional-horsepower motor and motion products. Over 1 million ElectroCraft gearmotors are in service worldwide delivering the smooth, controlled power with the high starting torque that mobile platforms require.

OEM customers who are unsatisfied with the limitations of inflexible off-the-shelf products can benefit from ElectroCraft’s technical knowledge and customizable product families for a motor and motion system that provides superior reliability and performance at the lowest possible cost. For more information and help finding the right motion products for custom applications, contact ElectroCraft.