Airborne & Space Gimbals: An Ideal Fit For LS Series Motors

Slotless BLDC Motors with their Zero Cogging, Large Aperture, and High Torque-to-Weight ratio are ideally suited for Airborne, Space or Ground-based Gimbal applications.

The use of gimbals is becoming pervasive in Manned Aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Low-Earth-Orbit
Satellites and even ground-based systems. A heavy reliance on gimbal-based systems is an important
part of the Defense Agencies’ critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance objectives. In addition to defense uses, there are emerging uses in security systems, search and rescue, offshore missions, and space.

State-of-the-art airborne gimbals, or “balls” as they are often referred to, are packed with advanced sensor payloads that include thermal imagers, high-precision cameras, air-to-ground communications, lasers for pointing, ranging, and illuminating. A similar statement can be said about space and ground-based systems
that use gimbal architectures to precisely move and control positioning for optical platforms, Satcom and
other critical pointing functions.

Gimbals Need for High Performance Ring Motors

Multiaxial gimbals require high performance motors to directly drive their movements and to hold position.
In airborne systems, high performance is defined by weight, torque capacity, smooth motion, and a desirable form factor. Advanced space-rated gimbal systems, like those used in Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMG), require a large amount of torque. In some cases to quickly and precisely move in both azimuth and elevation, and in other cases, to quickly compensate for external “tumbling” disturbances common in orbit. In all cases, weight savings is very valuable. Higher torque allows for decisive move and hold positioning. Smooth motion enables long-range imaging and pointing. A low-profile and frameless form factor is ideal for deep integration.

ThinGap’s Patented Slotless Technology

Using its proprietary design, very thin wire-wrapped stators and optimized permanent-magnet rotors, ThinGap provides motors with specifications that can match the torque output of slotted motors while avoiding the cogging that plagues them. Gimbal makers have an inherent need for a high amount of torque, in some cases
to quickly and precisely move large payloads, and in most cases, to stabilize the housing against forces caused by drag from the speed that the aircraft is flying.

Ring motors are the perfect form factor for gimbals with their round shape, direct drive mounting capability
and empty center. ThinGap’s motor kits offer a large through hole, usually 65% of more of the device’s outer diameter (OD), due to its efficient mechanical design and optimized components. This large through hole
saves both weight and provides valuable space for housing electronics, pass through cabling, or other aspects
of the payload.

ThinGap’s patented method for distributing motor phase coil wires within a very thin cross section eliminates traditional magnetic stator teeth, resulting in a motor without cogging torque. Cogging is an unwanted magnetic torque disturbance caused by the winding patterns around stator’s iron teeth that are the basis of “slotted” motors. Slotless motors eliminate cogging torque and offer smooth motion that is critical to optical systems for precision aiming, point and zooming at long standoff distances, and otherwise smooth motion for precise scanning. ThinGap motors also have torque-versus-angle curves with less than 1% harmonic distortion and phase balance, making the motors yield the smoothest motion available.

LS Series: the industry’s best torque-to-weight ratio, precession movement, low-profile Gimbal motors.

ThinGap’s line of slotless motor kits feature high-performance, zero-cogging, high efficiency, and a lightweight design. The motor kits are ideal for smooth and precise motion. The entire LS Series offers a large
through-hole and a low-profile form factor, ideal for integration into a wide range of OEM systems and test platforms. LS motors offer torque performance equivalent to traditional frameless motor kits available on the market, but unlike other slotless motor solutions, does not require a trade-off between torque output and smoothness. ThinGap’s LS line of slotless motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm diameter and torque from .1 to 12 NM continuous. With standard and modified configurations, the product line will cover voltages from
24-400 volts and current from 1-100 amps. Hall devices and special configurations are also available.