09 May 2024

How ThinGap's Motor Kits Help Set Motocrane's Titan Apart

While the majority of ThinGap’s motors are bound for space or airborne gimbal applications, we have been proud to support Motocrane with their new advanced cinema gimbal system, Titan. Motocrane has integrated ThinGap’s LS Series of zero-cogging slotless motor kits into Titan, enabling smooth, high precision motion with even the heaviest camera systems. To learn more about Titan, see Motocrane’s video below.
01 May 2024

Zero-Cogging Slotless Motors For Medical Robotics

While a majority of ThinGap’s motor kits are destined for airborne or spaceborne applications, the same attributes that help serve aerospace customers also are desirable for many medical applications. Smooth, zero-cogging, high precision motor kits, such as ThinGap’s are ideal for not only surgical robotics, but diagnostic and imaging equipment as well. Modern surgical robotics systems require precise, exacting movement with no chance for mechanical disturbances to ensure the highest level of patient care. Zero-cogging motor kits are the ideal solution for true and accurate operator haptic feedback, as well as precision actuation. ThinGap’s TG Series motor kits have been used for haptic feedback for a surgical robotic system, due to the lack of both hysteretic drag afforded by the ironless motor architecture, enabling true force feedback without any disruptions. ThinGap’s LS Series has seen integration in high-precision robotics due to the motor architecture’s extremely smooth, highly precise motion. Additionally, low profile motion solutions with a large internal aperture are desired for the ability to route optics or cabling through the center as part of deep system integration. ThinGap’s motor kits have near zero Eddy-current, low or zero hysteretic drag, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current throughout the operating range, as well as providing smooth, zero-cogging motion. Additionally, ThinGap has maintained a long-standing relationship with a leading surgical robotics manufacturer supplying motors, and regularly works with other medical industry OEMs to produce tailor-made solutions that meet regulatory approval.
19 Apr 2024

NASA Makes First Images and Data From PACE Public

In recognition of Earth Day, ThinGap is excited to share NASA’s public release of data from the recent PACE Mission. [caption id="attachment_4819" align="alignnone" width="545"] Image Credit: NASA[/caption] Launched in February, PACE is a mission to study the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, and marks the first time ThinGap motors have received NASA flight certification. ThinGap supplied its LS Series motors that drive the satellite’s main instrument, the Ocean Color Instrument (OCI). Read the full blog here    
02 Apr 2024

Carbon Fiber: A History Of A Modern Material

As a recent example of its custom motor capabilities, ThinGap recently shipped an assembly in support of a defense project that utilizes structural carbon fiber composite components to increase performance. While the company is no stranger to working with composites, with many current off-the-shelf products utilizing them, this project marks the first time these components have been sourced from a commercial vendor. What is commonly referred to as “carbon fiber” in reality Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP), a composite material typically composed of an epoxy-impregnated sheet of woven carbon-filament cloth that is layered, formed into a mold, and then cured in a kiln under vacuum conditions. The components made of the material that results from this process are extremely lightweight, and incredibly stiff with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. The individual fibers in modern carbon fiber are mostly composed of petroleum byproducts, with the development of pure, crystalline carbon fibers being how the material matured and was later industrialized. First synthesized throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including by Thomas Edison for use as light filaments, these early attempts were unsuccessful as they were of low purity. It wasn’t until the early 1960s when Japanese and American chemists were able to produce fibers of the appropriate purity to be used as reinforcement in composites. After substantial investment by the Royal Aircraft Establishment, a part of the British Ministry of Defense, the first industrially-produced carbon composite components came with the integration of a carbon composite compressor fan assembly in the Rolls-Royce Conway and RB-211 jet engines in the late 1960s. Through the 1970s, the material further matured with improvements in the quality of the filaments and adhesives, and by the early 1980s motorsports became another testbed for carbon composite materials. [caption id="attachment_4807" align="alignnone" width="545"] The Rolls Royce Conway jet engine was designed for the Vickers VC-10 Airliner[/caption] Introduced for the 1981 Formula 1 championship, the McLaren MP4/1 was an early racing car with a fully carbon composite chassis. Similar to the high-performance nature of aerospace, motorsports benefitted from composites by enabling weight reduction without sacrificing strength and rigidity, ensuring McLaren a competitive edge, and before long carbon composites were prevalent in all forms of racing. By the 1990s, production of even larger carbon composite pieces became possible, helping to reduce weight in the new Boeing airliner, the 777. The 777 was critical in introducing large composite pieces to aerospace, with the plane being 9% carbon composites by weight, being used in the rear fuselage, engine cowlings, control surfaces, and floor beams. In addition to saving weight, these new composite components were corrosion and fatigue resistant, which helped save on maintenance over the old industry-standard aluminum. In 2007, Boeing introduced the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner which saw a massive increase the use of composites, now up to 50% by weight. Due to Boeing’s ability to produce large carbon composite pieces, the fuselage of the 787 is composed of three large single-laid sections that are then mated during assembly. Additionally, the wings of the 787 are primarily composed of carbon composites, with the materials ductility lending to the plane’s iconic wing flex. With these desirable characteristics in mind, it was only a matter of time before an application came up that required carbon composites. To minimize unit weight and maximize rotor inertia in the new TGD 129-114 generator unit, ThinGap’s new assembly uses carbon composite for both the inner and outer sleeves that retrain the rotor’s magnets and are joined together by a purposely designed metallic top cap with fan blades that forces airflow across the stator. To learn more about ThinGap’s custom and modified capabilities, click here.
14 Mar 2024

ThinGap Demonstrates High Power UAV Generator Assembly

Showcasing ThinGap’s highly adaptable technology, the TGD 129-114 introduces carbon fiber components for the most extreme TG Series part set ever made. Designed for the high-power and high-speed required in UAV and other Airborne applications. ThinGap has completed its latest high-power motor-generator prototype, the TGD 129-114, in support of a Government-funded defense program. In generator mode, the new assembly is designed for a steady 10 kW of power output at 7,000 RPM and is capable of 45 kW at 20,000 RPM. Mechanically, the TGD 129-114 has an outer diameter (OD) of 134 mm (5.28 in.), and an axial height of 124 mm (4.91 in.), making it about the same size as a coffee can. Developed for use by the United States Army in airborne applications, namely Class II unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the TGD 129-114 is the most radical evolution of the ThinGap TG Series to date. Designed for the extremely high continuous speed requirements typical in airborne generator applications, as well as being strength and weight optimized. Previous TG Series part sets have been used as starter-generators in other UAV platforms. To minimize unit weight and maximize rotor inertia, the new assembly uses carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for both the inner and outer sleeves that retrain the rotor’s magnets and are joined together by a purposely designed metallic top cap with fan blades that forces airflow across the stator. First developed in the late 1950s, CFRPs have become ubiquitous in demanding, high-performance applications such as aerospace and motorsports to reduce weight while not sacrificing strength. The TGD 129-114 demonstrates ThinGap’s ability to deliver tailor-made high-power solutions. With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap leverages its proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes are highly scalable, and ThinGap has shipped large class motors with up to 400 kW of output power.
14 Feb 2024

TGR 60-30 is the Latest Addition To The TGR Series

Designed for Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA) and Flywheel Applications Optimized for maximum inertia, giving the greatest momentum for the least amount of mass Specifically built for use in vacuum, making it space compatible by design  ThinGap has delivered to a commercial customer its latest purpose-built reaction wheel motor kit, the TGR 60-30. This newest motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 60 mm and an axial height of just 29.6 mm, providing a continuous in-vacuum torque output of 0.08 N-m, and a peak torque of 1.61 N-m. A complete datasheet is available on ThinGap’s website. With a total part mass of 273 grams, the TGR 60-30 fits between the already released TGR 89-26 and TGR 29-12, showcasing the Company’s highly scalable stator architecture. In addition, the rotor of the TGR 60-30 is optimized for maximum inertia, giving the motor the greatest momentum for the least mass. As part of the industry’s first clean-sheet reaction wheel assembly product line, the TGR Series is designed for Attitude Control in SmallSat applications and other high precision systems. Prior TG Series models have been widely used in Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA), due to the patented architecture’s inherent advantages when used in flywheel applications. Because of the efficient, lightweight ironless core, zero-cogging stator, and high power-to-weight ratio, the TGR 60-30 offers more than double the torque of the closest competitor with minimal losses and no radial forces between the stator and rotor. With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap can leverage proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes is highly scalable; ThinGap has shipped motors from 25 mm up to 600 mm in size.
30 Jan 2024

Everything To Know About PACE, ThinGap's First NASA Mission

Scheduled to launch early in the morning on February 6, 2024 from Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the PACE Mission marks the first time ThinGap has achieved flight certification by NASA. PACE is a NASA mission that ThinGap has been proud to support. Developed and produced by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, PACE is a planned decade-long mission to study the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. The PACE launch is scheduled for 1:35 a.m. EST.  In attendance to witness the historic event firsthand will be representatives from ThinGap’s management and engineering teams.  In 2021, ThinGap supplied custom made LS Series motor kits to the development team at NASA Goddard.  These motors were designed to be integrated into the PACE Mission’s Ocean Color Instrument or OCI sensor payload. The goal of the PACE mission is the monitoring of worldwide oceanic health through observation of the color of the ocean’s surface, as well as how reflected sunlight interacts with the atmosphere. The color of surface water is heavily influenced by sunlight’s interaction with chlorophyll, a green pigment found in plants as well as the phytoplankton that inhabit the ocean. Designed and built by NASA Goddard, the heart of the OCI (Ocean Color Instrument) is an advanced hyperspectral optical spectrometer, capable of measuring the color of the ocean from ultraviolet, through visible color, to short-wave infrared wavelengths. Previous NASA satellites have been limited to studying a small portion of this spectrum, so a single instrument being able to capture more data than before is a huge benefit to researchers. ThinGap supplied custom LS Series motors to NASA in 2021 that drive the continuously rotating cross-track telescope. The two other payloads aboard PACE are polarimeters intended to measure how sunlight reflected by the Earth’s surface interacts with clouds, aerosols, and the ocean surface. The first is SPEXone, designed and built by a Dutch team including Airbus Defense & Space, Netherlands Institute for Space Research, and supported by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research is designed to characterize particles suspended in the atmosphere by chemical composition and their impacts on climate change. The other polarimeter aboard PACE, designed and built by University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Earth and Space Institute is HARP2 (Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter) sensor. HARP2 is a wide-angle imaging polarimeter designed to measure the properties of atmospheric particles, including their size, distribution, shape, and density. Previous HARP instruments have been flown on both airborne platforms as well as CubeSats, which helped influence the design of HARP2. ThinGap is honored to support this mission by supplying custom motors, as well as achieving flight certification. Additionally, ThinGap has supplied more than 2,500 motor kits in support of a major commercial constellation, as well as US Space Force projects for prime customers.
17 Jan 2024

Zero-Cogging Motors For Precision Underwater Applications

Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Whether for defense, industry or exploration, the demand of underwater systems, such as manned submersibles, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) is a market that is expected to grow to more than $10 billion by the 2030s, according to Emergen Research.  These underwater platforms of all forms stand to leverage the benefits of ThinGap’s high efficiency motor kits. With critical functions such as robotic actuation and quiet, yet highly efficient propulsion, ThinGap’s motors continue to find a home in marine and subsea applications. An emerging use for ThinGap’s brushless DC motors is marine propulsion. ThinGap motors are ideal for underwater direct drive thrusters because of a high torque-to-diameter ratio. ThinGap recently delivered a floodable motor assembly based off its LS Series to a defense customer for a UUV application. With no gearbox, there are no drivetrain losses, enabling lower assembly weight, increased torque, and greater reliability. As a flooded motor, ThinGap’s stator has the added benefit of inherent cooling from the cold seawater.  In addition, the thin profile of the slotless stator architecture provides less fluid resistance than more traditional actuators.  Mechanically speaking, the ring architecture allows propulsion to be directly outside of the rotor (propeller), or inside (impeller). High motor efficiency, low-noise underwater thrusters are ideal for the fast growing ROV, UUV, and AUV market segments. With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap leverages its proven designs to deliver engineered solutions to support both commercial and defense applications underwater. With standard products ranging in size from 25 mm to 393 mm in outer diameter, ThinGap’s highly scalable motor technology can be modified to fit any environmental requirement.
12 Dec 2023

How A Flight-Qualified Watch Helped Save Apollo 13

Fourteen seconds. That is the amount of time that the crew of Apollo 13 was instructed by NASA’s Mission Control to fire their Lunar Lander’s descent engine to return their damaged spacecraft back to Earth. With the ailing spacecraft being 60-80 miles off-course, this was the critical “push” that the crew needed to correct their return trajectory. The inside of the command module was close to freezing due to most onboard systems being shut down to conserve energy, including the onboard digital timer. With the odds stacked against the crew, it was up to a mechanical backup to time the engine burn - - Astronaut Jack Swigert’s Omega Speedmaster wristwatch. While the availability of a backup seems so obvious as to be an afterthought, it was in fact a decision that had been qualified by NASA five years earlier. Flight qualification is a process by which components intended for space are subjected to a variety of conditions intended to replicate the harsh environment outside the atmosphere, not limited to vacuum, temperature, and shock. These tests are designed to push systems to their very limits to ensure functionality, an achievement that ThinGap motors have accomplished in support of an upcoming NASA mission.  Qualifying anything for use in space, whether it be a ThinGap brushless DC motor or a commercially made Omega wristwatch, is an important and complex process. The story of the watch that saved Apollo 13 began nearly a decade earlier, with Mercury-Atlas 8 in October 1962. In the early days of manned spaceflight, astronauts were not issued watches, and instead were permitted to wear their personal timepieces. For Mercury-Atlas 8, test pilot and astronaut Wally Schirra wore his Omega Speedmaster, beginning what became a long relationship between Omega Watches and NASA. With America’s lofty goal of fulfilling recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy’s dream of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, no detail was overlooked, including the astronauts’ watches. By the time NASA was ready to select a watch for the Apollo program in 1965, they issued a solicitation to a handful of watchmakers based off of astronaut feedback, with ultimately only three makers responding: Omega, Rolex, and Longines. With the three brand of watches procured for evaluation, it came time to test them in the most scientific way possible... to destruction, with the following flight certification regiment having been pulled from historical documents: High Temperature– 48 hours at a temperature of 160°F (71°C) followed by 30 minutes at 200°F (93°C). For the high temperature tests, atmospheric pressure shall be 5.5 psi (0.35 atm) and the relative humidity shall not exceed 15%. Low Temperature –Four hours at a temperature of 0°F (-18° C) Temperature Pressure Chamber – pressure maximum of 1.47 x 10exp-5 psi (10exp-6 atm) with temperature raised to 160°F (71°C). The temperature shall then be lowered to 0°F (-18°C) in 45 minutes and raised again to 160°F in 45 minutes. Fifteen more such cycles shall be completed. Relative Humidity –A total time of 240 hours at temperatures varying between 68°F and 160°F (20°C and 71°C, respectively) in a relative humidity of at least 95%. The steam used shall have a pH value between 6.5 and 7.5. Pure Oxygen Atmosphere –The test item shall be placed in an atmosphere of 100% oxygen at a pressure of 5.5 psi (0.35 atm) for 48 hours. Performance outside of specification tolerance, visible burning, creation of toxic gases, obnoxious odors, or deterioration of seals or lubricants shall constitute a failure. The ambient temperature shall be maintained at 160°F (71°C). Shock –Six shocks of 40g each, in six different directions, with each shock lasting 11 milliseconds. Acceleration –The test item shall be accelerated linearly from 1g to 7.25g within 333 seconds, along an axis parallel to the longitudinal spacecraft axis. Decompression –90 minutes in a vacuum of 1.47 x 10E-5 psi (10 E-6 atm) at a temperature of 160° F (71° C), and 30 minutes at a 200° F (93°C). High Pressure –The test item shall be subjected to a pressure of 23.5 psi (1.6 atm) for a minimum period of one hour. Vibration –Three cycles of 30 minutes (lateral, horizontal, vertical, the frequency varying from 5 to 2000 cps and back to 5 cps in 15 minutes. Average acceleration per impulse must be at least 8.8g. Acoustic Noise –130dB over a frequency range from 40 to 10,000 HZ, for a duration of 30 minutes. As if the torturous and destructive test routine wasn’t enough, the watches were subsequently required to retain their accuracy within 5 seconds a day. The Speedmaster was the winner by default, with the Longines and Rolex having failed at the beginning of the first temperature test. Despite being the victor, the Speedmaster was still worse for wear, with all the luminous paint on the dial having crumbled off, yet its workings remained accurate to within an impressive 4 seconds a day. [caption id="attachment_4718" align="alignnone" width="625"] The Omega Speedmaster has changed very little cosmetically since it's 1957 introduction[/caption] The reasons for the Omega Speedmaster’s durability ultimately comes down to a simple, yet robust mechanical movement inside, as well as a rugged, yet elegant case that envelops it. Introduced in the late 1950s for use in motorsports, the Omega Speedmaster is a hand-wound chronograph (a watch with an integrated stopwatch function) with a minimalist black dial with white markings and protected by a domed bubble acrylic watch glass. The Speedmaster had become a favorite amongst pilots due to the highly reliability, legibility, and most importantly, the accuracy it possessed. [caption id="attachment_4709" align="alignnone" width="625"] Ed White on a spacewalk during Gemini 4[/caption] With the Speedmaster now qualified for all manned space missions and extravehicular activities, they became standard issue to NASA’s crews.  In June 1965, Ed White wore his on the first American spacewalk during Gemini 4. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in July 1969, mission commander Neil Armstrong left his in the Lunar Lander to serve as a backup timer as the Lander’s internal electronic timer had malfunctioned. However, Buzz Aldrin chose to affix his for the moonwalk, making the Speedmaster the first watch worn on the Moon. [caption id="attachment_4571" align="alignnone" width="485"] Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Module ahead of lunar landing[/caption] Despite its previous widescale acceptance by the aeronautical community, the Speedmaster’s defining moment came during Apollo 13 in April 1970, after an exploded oxygen tank crippled the Apollo Lunar Module en-route to the Moon. With their vehicle critically damaged, making their lunar mission impossible, the astronauts agreed to forsake all creature comfort, and powered down all support systems, except for basic life support, including the digital mission timer to save power. Jack Swigert’s manual 14 second burn, timed on the watch, ensured that their freezing capsule re-entered the at the right angle, instead of their trajectory which would have bounced them off the Earth’s upper atmosphere and back into space. [caption id="attachment_4574" align="alignnone" width="361"] Astronaut Jack Swigert during spacesuit fitment[/caption] The Speedmaster flew with NASA for the rest of the Apollo moon missions, and subsequent NASA programs. When Apollo-Soyuz, the first international space flight, flew in 1976, both the American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts were seen wearing Speedmasters–an interesting detail given that cosmonauts had previously worn exclusively Soviet-made watches as a way to promote their domestic industry and were regularly worn aboard the Mir Space Station. The Speedmaster was re-certified by NASA in 1978 for the Space Shuttle program, yet again undergoing the same rigorous regime. Through the Shuttle program, the Speedmaster remained standard issue for all astronauts, and in the 1990s, NASA and Omega collaborated on a clean-sheet watch, designed with the needs of modern astronauts in mind. This joint venture resulted in the Speedmaster X-33, which saw the purely mechanical watch upgraded to a modern, battery-powered computerized watch. Despite being superseded by a modern replacement, the original Speedmaster has still been seen worn aboard the International Space Station. [caption id="attachment_4573" align="alignnone" width="481"] German Astronaut Alexander Gerst is seen wearing his Speedmaster X-33 aboard the International Space Station[/caption] To this very day, one can walk into a jeweler and buy a watch that is cosmetically and functionally identical to what has been flown since 1962. In fact, from the mid-1960s onward, the caseback of every Omega Speedmaster Professional (affectionately referred to as the Moonwatch) bears the inscription “Flight-Qualified By NASA In 1965 For All Manned Space Missions-The First Watch Worn On The Moon”. 1970s Omega print ads detailing the Speedmaster's involvement with NASA and the Apollo program ThinGap has supplied flight-qualified motors to NASA in support of their upcoming PACE mission. Focused on monitoring the overall health of worldwide oceans and atmosphere by monitoring the color of the seawater, PACE is set to launch in February 2024 from Kennedy Space Center. ThinGap is honored to support this mission by supplying custom LS Series slotless motors that drive the satellite’s primary sensor, the Ocean Color Instrument. Additionally, ThinGap has supplied more than 2,500 motor kits in support of a major commercial constellation. Works Cited: OMEGA and Apollo 13 – The 14 critical seconds between success and failure NASA Testing Regime for the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 13 — A Life-Saving Fourteen-Second Burn Timed With The Omega Speedmaster Professional A Watch Made for Space but Ready for Anything Actual Pictures Actually Showing The Speedmaster Professional Actually Being Used For EVA, Today (Well, In 2014) Watches used in space exploration
27 Nov 2023

H-LSI 267-32 Demos ThinGap's Motor Assembly Capabilities

Designed around a low profile cogless motor with an optical encoder, precision bearing set, and anodized aluminum housing, the unit is for use in a ground-based NASA optical platform. ThinGap recently shipped a housed version of its LSI 267-32 motor kit to a commercial customer in support of a ground-based NASA application, adding to the list of successful deliveries of housed units. Built around the company’s slotless 267 mm outer diameter BLDC motor kit, the H-LSI 267-32 integrates the high performance motor with a precision bearing set, and an optical encoder into a lightweight, Chem Film coated aluminum housing. As a turnkey solution designed for a ground-based optical platform, this unit adds to ThinGap’s repertoire of housed and framed motor assemblies. The assembly measures 282 mm in diameter, with an axial height of 86 mm, and an internal aperture of 190 mm; the whole assembly weighs in at 8.34 kg (18.4 Lbs.), and produces a continuous torque output of 12.5 N-m, with a peak 1-second torque of 184 N-m. Customers often come to ThinGap in need of a motor kit, wanting to take advantage of the low-profile, lightweight, and frameless architecture that is ideal for deep system integration. Yet, the time and cost of developing a housed solution are not lost on program managers and developers, so the availability of a ThinGap-led, fully engineered direct drive assembly provides a tangible advantage. Beyond zero cogging, ThinGap’s air core motor kits have near zero Eddy current, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current. The resulting smooth motion and linear output makes them perfect for use in precision applications. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm in diameter, torque from 0.1 to 12 N-m continuous, and voltages from 24-400 volts. For additional information on custom motor development, please contact the company at [email protected] or visit
19 Oct 2023

ThinGap Releases Space Qualification Capabilities Statement

As part of regular documentation updates, ThinGap recently outlined the process by which commercial-off-the-shelf motor kits are modified for space applications. Titled “ThinGap Space Qualification Capabilities Statement,” and available on the Compliance Information page, this one-page document provides an overview on how the company handles modifications to meet the needs of both LEO applications typical of NewSpace, as well as more rigorous Government space programs, including NASA and defense applications. ThinGap’s brushless DC electric motor kits are high quality, high performance motion components. The company has an extensive space heritage with commercial, scientific and military programs, including 2,500 motor kits supplied for an undisclosed LEO satellite constellation, 20+ space-grade programs actively being supported, and delivery of flight-grade kits for NASA’s PACE Program. ThinGap has a standard approach and delivery set for providing space-grade motors, as well as the capability to support more stringent customer-specific flow downs, in addition to offering the space-rated off-the-shelf TGR Series. Commercial Space Standard ThinGap has established a commercial standard to provide "space-grade" motor kits using a set of process and material callouts. Essentially any of ThinGap’s standard motor kits can be upgraded to a space standard. The defined space upgrades provide an affordable option, especially for high volume and rapid reaction programs, such as commercial LEO applications. The baseline for commercial space motor kits includes the following: A controlled Materials and Processes (M&P) list Use of low outgassing materials, per NASA guidelines Class 3 PCBs Leaded solder and IPC J-STD workmanship Raw material certifications First Article Inspection Reports Additional Supplemental Deliverables ThinGap can quote a wide range of customer requested flow downs applicable to motor deliveries. When requested, the company can engage third parties to satisfy requirements outside its on-site capabilities, including certain types of testing and analysis. Optional customer requested deliverables include i.) structural and finite element analyses, ii.) on-site source inspection, iii.) DFARS compliant material sourcing and iv.) thermal vacuum testing conducted by a third party. At the time of quoting, ThinGap requests a customer-provided compliance matrix with any required callouts or flow downs to be completed and returned by ThinGap. Summary The company prides itself on its heritage and being able to support a range of requirements called for by space applications.  Default deliverables are the baseline of the company’s capabilities, and can be supplemented with additional customer-specific requirements as required. To view and download the statement, click here.  
27 Sep 2023

ThinGap Welcomes Sierramotion to the Allient Family

ThinGap was pleased to learn of the acquisition of Sierramotion by its parent company Allient, formerly known as Allied Motion Technologies. Sierramotion is a company that ThinGap has a solid history of working with to provide tailored mechatronic solutions for customers in the robotic, medical, defense, semiconductor, and industrial fields. John Baumann, President of ThinGap commented “I see lots of potential officially being on the same team as Sierramotion, and expect to work even more closely with them going forward.” Sierramotion and ThinGap’s working relationship was first announced back in 2019 and has been mutually beneficial ever since.  Sierramotion even mentioned ThinGap’s LS Series as a market leader in direct drive motors on their website back in 2021. With such a shared history of collaboration, this news offers great potential for the future.
18 Sep 2023

New LSI 146-16 Motor Builds on ThinGap's Aerial Heritage

With an outer diameter of 146 mm, the LSI 146-16 fits between the LSI 130 and LSI 152 motor kits The axial height of the newest addition to the LS Series is only 16 mm tall ThinGap continues to build out its LS Series of slotless motor kits with the latest release, the LSI 146-16. The new LSI 146-16 kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 146 mm, and an axial height of just 16 mm. With a total mass of just over 460 grams, it offers a continuous torque output of 1.48 N-m, and peak 1 second torque as high as 18.1 N-m. Despite a maximum operating speed of up to 1,600 RPM, the LSI 146-16 was designed for use in slower speed gimbal systems, joining other LS Series models that have found uses in this application. Multi-axial gimbal systems leverage the benefits of high performance cogless Ring Motors, such as ThinGap’s industry leading LS Series, to directly drive movement and maintain position, while offering significant Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) savings. Using its proprietary 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, size and weight penalty that plagues them. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm diameter and torque from 0.1 to 12 N-m continuous and voltages from 24-400 volts.
28 Jul 2023

ThinGap Welcomes Visitors From NASA Goddard

  [caption id="attachment_4514" align="alignnone" width="545"] Left to Right-Joseph Kay, PhD-Director of Engineering, John Baumann, President of ThinGap, and Robby Estep and Dustyn Strosnider from NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4514" align="alignnone" width="545"] This past week, ThinGap hosted visitors from NASA who delivered their appreciation for the support of their PACE mission. The team from NASA Goddard gave a progress update on the mission, as well providing a Certificate of Appreciation that the ThinGap team can proudly display. NASA’s PACE mission is focused on monitoring the overall health of worldwide oceans by monitoring the color of the water, as well as atmospheric observation.  ThinGap is honored to support this mission by supplying custom LS Series slotless motors that drive the satellite’s primary sensor, the Ocean Color Instrument. NASA’s PACE Spacecraft is schedule to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in January 2024.
14 Jul 2023

Renewable Energy Innovations, Generated by ThinGap

With the growing urgency for sustainable energy, pioneers are innovating new ways to harness the power of ocean waves.  Southern California based Ocean Motion Technologies is one of those pioneers. The company is developing a zero-emission energy solution using ThinGap’s motor technology in its generator mode. Ocean Motion’s R&D is focused on sustainable, scalable, and more efficient marine hydrokinetic energy by focusing on small-scale applications like scientific & maritime buoys and moorings, offshore aquaculture, and coastal security and defense. Up until now, oceanic buoys have been powered by solar panels, which have a high cost of maintenance. Ocean wave energy is a natural choice for these use cases, but most wave energy devices are not designed for small-scale applications, as they can only function within a narrow range of sea states. Leveraging SBIR Grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, Ocean Motion Tech has designed a wave generating prototype leveraging ThinGap’s TGD-108 (image). Originally designed and optimized for an aerospace application, the TGD-108 is available as a framed assembly with 1.4 kW of continuous power output while weighing only 670 grams or just less than 1.5 lbs. With the adage that good motors make good generators, ThinGap’s technology is a logical choice for renewable energy applications that require overall system efficiencies. ThinGap’s unique scalable motor architecture and design offer efficiency up to 95%, and largely eliminates internal magnetic losses. The low impedance stator typical in ThinGap designs provides a stable, pure 3-phase sinusoidal, low-droop, with less than 1% harmonic distortion voltage output of clean, conditioned power. Ocean Motion’s solution for powering data buoys is an adaptive wave energy device, with the ability to scale the technology up, and networking them together for oceanographic monitoring. The primary reason for pursuing marine power generation is due to the inherent energy density of ocean waves, which concentrates solar and wind energy and thus offering far greater energy potential in comparison. With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap salutes the novel efforts of customers like Ocean Motion Tech.  Ongoing and future projects designed to combine proven technology in an applied fashion are at the heart of innovative solutions like the ones being actively demonstrated in the Pacific Ocean.
16 Jun 2023

New LSI 85-13 Slotless Motor Kit Set to Take Flight

Designed with airborne gimbals in mind, this new variant builds on the LS Series’ flight heritage The 85mm OD fills the gap between the LSI 75 and LSI 105 standard models ThinGap continues the expansion of its LS Series of slotless motor kits with the latest release, the LSI 85-13. The new LSI 85-13 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 85 mm, and an axial height of just 13 mm, making it a little wider than 3 inches and roughly half an inch tall. With a total mass of 232 grams, it offers a continuous torque output of 0.324 N-m and a peak as high as 3.88 N-m. The LSI 85-13 can operate at speeds of 0-1,760 RPM. Unique to the cogless nature of ThinGap’s slotless architecture, all of its motor kits can effectively operate across its entire range of speeds. Effective low speed is due to not needing to overcome the detent torque typical in a slotted or stepper motors. Designed from the ground up for use in a gimbal system, the LSI 85-13 joins other ThinGap motors that have found homes in airborne applications. Multi-axial gimbal systems leverage the benefits of high performance cogless Ring Motors to directly drive movement and maintain position, while offering Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) savings, which are all highly desirable traits. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications. Using its proprietary, 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. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm diameter and torque from 0.1 to 12 N-m continuous, voltages from 24-400 volts, and current from 1 to 100 amps.
05 Jun 2023

Optical Communication Terminals: The Future of SatCom

With the fast and aggressive build out of LEO constellations orbiting Earth, comes the pervasive need for free-space Optical Communications Terminals (OCT) that allow space-to-space, space-to-air, and space-to-ground connections. Point-to-point use of highly collimated light is critical to the utility of mesh networks connecting each spacecraft with each other and the ultimate users on the ground. Satellites use gimbal mechanisms for the pointing and positioning portion of the Optical Communications Terminal (OCT), commonly referred to as the Coarse Pointing Assembly. Within the Coarse Pointing Assembly is a device called a fast-steering mirror that acts as the Fine Pointing Assembly that ensures a reliable optical connection. Multi-axial gimbals, like those used in Coarse and Fine Pointing Assembly systems can leverage the benefits of high performance cogless Ring Motors to directly drive movement and maintain position. Frameless motor kits offer the further ability to integrate the actuation function as part of optimized systems, offering Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) savings, which are highly desirable in spacecraft applications. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, decisive move-and-hold positioning, and smooth motion for long-range target lock. LS motors have been widely used in OCT systems and even NASA’s PACE Mission’s optical scanner payload. Using its proprietary design, 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. ThinGap’s LS line of slotless motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm diameter and torque from 0.1 to 12 N-m continuous. With standard and modified configurations, the product line will cover voltages from 24-400 volts and current from 1 to 100 amps. To learn more about the LS Series, click here.
15 May 2023

Tall Motors: Scalable, Cogless Power In Action

With a focus on providing engineered solutions for a variety of high performance applications, ThinGap regularly provides modified versions of its off-the-shelf motor kits to meet customer specifications. Many of these changes include switching a motor’s winding configuration, space rating, high-temperature capability, or custom mounting configurations to create a modified-off-the-shelf product. In some cases, customers request an increase in axial height of an existing motor to improve the torque output of the motor kit without increasing the width. Important to note that with ThinGap’s proprietary slotless motor architecture, torque increases exponentially with the outer diameter, but only proportionally with axial height. So while a larger outer diameter motor is always the better choice, customers often have mechanical constraints that limit their ability to accept a wider motor, making a taller product the next best solution. ThinGap’s tooling is vertically modular, making it simpler and less expensive to change the axial height of a kit to improve torque output. Tall variants share much of the same material components with their smaller cousins, and can in many case be built in parallel. Many of ThinGap’s tall motor variants began as modified-custom solutions, such as the LSI 39-39, LSI 75-30, LSI 130-40, LSI 152-55, and LSI 267-58. By way of example, several motors sizes offer three different axial highest, such as the LSI 25 that is available in axial heights of 10, 16 and 25mm. With two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap leverages its proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes are highly scalable and ThinGap has standard products as small as 25mm, up to 393mm in outer diameter. For a complete listing of our standard products, including our tall variants, please click here.
20 Apr 2023

Space Market Growth and Satellite Constellations

ThinGap’s space related business has been as strong as ever, and its no wonder why.  According to market researcher McKinsey & Company, the space market was $447 billion in 2022, and their estimates put it at more than doubling to $1 trillion by 2030. The growth of the space market, previously the sole domain of wealthy nations, has been attributed in large part to the rapidly decreasing cost and frequency of vehicle launches coupled with the rising demand for intelligence, consumer internet, scientific observations, and high speed communications. The single largest driver in the explosion of the space market can be attributed to the emergence of NewSpace, which summarily describes all private spaceflight efforts from corporate entities. NewSpace ventures include space tourism, provided by vehicles such as Blue Origin’s New Shepherd, and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two, as well as private launch vehicles such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Starship and RocketLab’s Electron rockets. With the expansion of space flight and the related demand for applications tied to orbiting the Earth has come a significant increase in the need for systems, the largest being Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Satellite constellations, much like their celestial counterparts, refer to a group of networked satellites working together for a common application, such as defense or telecommunications. The first constellation to be launched was the United States’ Global Positioning System, starting in 1978, which while initially used by the military, later became available for civilian use. Since then, many more satellite constellations have been launched, with a variety of applications such as communications, environmental monitoring, defense, and more recently internet constellations. The ability to bring broadband connectivity to any point on Earth has been the mission of several internet constellations including SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Airbus’s OneWeb programs. While most of these satellite constellations aren’t intended for end consumer use, Starlink is unique in that it’s possible to directly buy a receiver from SpaceX for personal use. While all these constellations have varying missions and designs, there are common needs between the satellites that comprise them. Applications such as Attitude Control systems require high performance motors, with characteristics such as smooth motion, a lack of cogging, highly linear output, and a wide range of speeds, in addition to being lightweight, efficient, and reliable. ThinGap’s TGR Series is the industry’s first motor line designed from the ground-up for Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA), along with other ThinGap TG Series motor kits having spaceflight heritage. Other critical space systems, such as Optical Communications Terminals, use highly collimated light generated by lasers to transmit data at high rates of speed over long distances through free space between satellite-to-satellite, satellite-to-aircraft, and satellite-to-ground. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for these gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, decisive move-and-hold positioning, and smooth motion for long-range target lock. Since 2015, ThinGap has supplied thousands of motors for space applications, including a major commercial internet constellation, as well as NASA.  The company’s TG Series and LS Series both have significant space heritage and are ideally suited for a number of applications, mostly in satellites.
30 Mar 2023

Zero-Cogging Motors for Precision Industrial Applications

ThinGap’s permanent magnet motors are widely used in airborne and space platforms, but there are more applications that benefit from their zero-cogging technology. With the insatiable demand for high tech devices, comes an equally high demand for precision equipment used to make integrated circuits. Today’s semiconductor equipment and test platforms need high degrees of force density, and decisive move-and-hold steps. Robust, yet compact semiconductor equipment enable inline process functions, yield enhancements, and higher levels of throughput. Motors and actuators used in wafer processing and test require the benefits of cogless, absolute precision. Low profile motors are ideal because of the large internal aperture so that optics, cabling, or prisms can be routed through the center, yet be compact, enabling deep system integration. Additionally, precision brushless motors are used extensively in optical systems for applications such as beam steering, delivering micron-level resolution. The ongoing transition to direct-drive solutions enables system-level advancements needed by today’s semiconductor industry. Frameless, slotless motor kits with high torque are in many cases the ideal solution for semiconductor equipment with low profile, high torque coreless motors being the right fit for metrology and optical-based systems. Beyond zero cogging, ThinGap’s air core motor kits have near zero Eddy-current, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current. The resulting smooth motion, linear output makes them perfect for use in precision industrial applications. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits are an industry leader for semiconductor applications. Standard kits range in size from 25-267 mm outer diameter, and a continuous torque output from 0.1- 24.4 N-m. Always cogless, always low profile and with high power density and with standard and modified configurations, the LS Series is ideal for semiconductor applications.