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 visit
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.
27 Mar 2023

ThinGap Renews ISO 9001:2015 Certification Until 2026

Renewal for three more years underlines ThinGap’s commitment to stringent customer quality requirements and the widely recognized ISO Standards ThinGap’s ISO 9001:2015 certification has been renewed for another three years, and will remain in effect until March 2026. An audit and renewal of ThinGap’s certificate was completed by American Global Standards, LLC of Montecito, CA as the basis for the Certification renewal. Based on ISO 9001:2015, ThinGap’s Quality Management System (QMS) serves as the baseline for delivering high quality products to many customers with program-specific QC requirements for a wide variety of industries. ThinGap has a track record of supporting the exacting requirements for its base of Fortune 500 companies, Government customers, including NASA, and regulatory specifications across multiple sectors, be it space, medical, defense or airborne. 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 19 mm up to 600 mm in size.
28 Feb 2023

High Performance Zero-Cogging Motors For UAS Applications

Unmanned aerial systems of all sizes and shapes have varying requirements in terms of payloads and flight ranges. From Group 1 to 5 UASes, there is a need for electric motors offering high power, efficiency, and light weight for all forms of onboard actuation. Multiaxial gimbals require high performance motors to directly drive their movements and hold position. In airborne systems, high performance is defined by Size, Weight, and Power (“SWaP”), as well as smooth motion. Gimbal makers have an inherent need for a high amount of torque, in some cases to move large payloads quickly and precisely and stabilize the housing against forces caused by aerodynamic drag. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, as well as decisive positioning and smooth motion. Their ring architecture allows for optimized optical designs, by allowing critical parts of the system, such as lenses or cabling, to be integrated through the large through hole in the center of the motor. Another airborne application where ThinGap’s motor technology provides a competitive edge is as a starter-generator. There is a long-standing truism that good motors make good generators, and for starter-generator applications, ThinGap’s TG Series is the industry leader. This is enabled by the light wave-wound composite stator, and weight-optimized rotor with large clear internal aperture, which can be integrated into both piston and turbine engines. The TG Series offers high efficiency, high peak torque, low harmonic distortion, and weight optimization which are all desired traits. In the case of UAS applications, ThinGap motors can start the Internal Combustion Engine with its high peak torque, then switch to act as a generator to supply valuable conditioned power to onboard systems. With more than two decades supporting airborne applications, ThinGap can produce motor kits to fit all size and power requirements. To learn more about ThinGap’s motors for airborne applications, click here.
13 Feb 2023

ThinGap Demonstrates High Power Motor Capability with 100 kW Motor Kit

Showcasing ThinGap’s highly scalable slotless motor technology, the TGO 385 was designed with renewable energy in mind, but many potential applications exist. ThinGap has completed its latest large-size motor prototype, the TGO 385 for a commercial customer. The TGO 385 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 385 mm (15 in.), and an axial height of 223 mm (9 in.), making it about the same volume as a 5-gallon bucket.  The power output capability of the TGO 385 is estimated to be 100 kW or more depending on the application. Showcasing the highly scalable nature of ThinGap’s motor architecture, the TGO 385 is the newest variant of the TG Series of slotless motor kits. The company’s TG motors are unique in having a stator architecture with an ironless coil. Due to the absence of slots or “teeth”, ThinGap’s stators do not saturate during operation, allowing the motor kit to produce more torque as current is applied, without the falloff seen in traditional iron core motors. Combined with a mechanical design that promotes convective cooling during operation means that the TG Series has unrivaled power density. The TG Series has been successfully used in a wide variety of generator, propulsion, and flywheel applications, ranging from gyro-stabilization in boats and satellites to airborne starter-generators. To learn more the highly efficient, zero-cogging TG Series of slotless motor kits, click here. The TGO 385 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 is highly scalable, and ThinGap has shipped large class motors of up to 600 mm OD, ranging from 10-400 kW of output power.
24 Jan 2023

NASA's ERBS and the Future of Weather Satellites

January 2023 marked the quiet end of NASA’s ERBS (Earth Radiation Budget Satellite). Launched in late 1984 from Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-41-G, ERBS was launched to study how the Sun’s energy was absorbed and reflected by the Earth, as well as carrying other payloads designed for atmospheric study. Originally designed for just a two year operational lifespan, ERBS far outlived this by 19 years until it was retired in 2005. What made ERBS one of NASA’s most important satellites was the SAGE II instrument, that was critical in observations confirming the depletion of the Ozone layer due to CFC usage, ultimately resulting in their ban. After exhausting its onboard propellant and energy stores, NASA decommissioned the satellite in 2005, and through the end of 2022 it orbited the Earth before burning up during atmospheric re-entry near the Alaska. Though ERBS’s story may have ended, it helped reinforce the importance of using satellites for atmospheric observations and experimentation. ThinGap is a proud supplier to NASA’s upcoming PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission, set to launch from Cape Canaveral in early 2024 aboard a SpaceX rocket. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits are part of the OCI (Ocean Color Instrument) advanced spectrometer designed to measure the color of the ocean in wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared frequencies.
28 Dec 2022

ThinGap Demonstrates Small Motor Capability With The TGR 29

With the smallest stator yet, the TGR 29-12 demonstrates the scalability of ThinGap’s slotless motor technology

ThinGap has delivered its latest small-size product, the TGR 29-12, to several commercial customers. The TGR 29-12 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 29 mm and an axial height of just 12 mm, providing a continuous in-vacuum torque output of 0.0028 N-m, and a peak torque of 0.034 N-m. A complete datasheet is available on ThinGap’s website.

With a total part mass of 31 grams, and a coil OD of 19.2 mm, the TGR 29-12 has the smallest stator of any ThinGap motor to date, showcasing the company’s highly scalable architecture. Designed for Attitude Control in CubeSat applications, the new part continues the build out of the Space focused TGR product line.

Prior TG Series models have been widely used in Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA), due to a patented architecture’s inherent advantages when used in any type of flywheel applications. Because of the efficient lightweight ironless core, zero-cogging stator, and high power-to-weight ratio, the TGR 29-12 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 19 mm up to 600 mm in size.

For additional information on custom motor development, please contact us.
25 Oct 2022

Record Breaking Direct Drive Turntables Powered By ThinGap

What do Formula 1 race cars, satellites, surgical robots, and high-end turntables have in common?  All have benefitted from the low profile, smooth motion, and highly linear output of ThinGap’s slotless motor kits. One application that has gotten our attention has been our friends at VPI Industries, who have leveraged the benefits of cogless motors for their turntables.   Over the last decade, music enthusiasts have rediscovered the authentic, warm sound of vinyl records, even in the era of convenient streaming. For high-end turntables, direct-drive motor designs ensure reliable and consistent motion for music playback through Hi-Fi systems. Historically turntables have been belt-driven, which though cost-effective, wear down over time affecting music playback and requiring replacement. While more expensive, “direct-drive” turntables get around this by mounting the record platter directly to the motor, making it more reliable as well as having smoother playback. Precision direct-drive motors, such as those made by ThinGap are an ideal solution for modern turntables. A high-performance stereo system is nothing without clean input sources, and ThinGap’s smooth, zero-cogging motion profile is key to precise playback. Another contributing factor to the long-standing relationship between VPI and ThinGap has been the shared pride in American-made products. Since the beginning, VPI has been both sourcing components from American suppliers, as well as manufacturing their turntables in-house in New Jersey. The re-emergence of demand for vinyl records, especially by audiophiles has shown that you can’t be too sentimental, and that when music is played on a modern direct-drive turntable it sounds better than it did when new. No matter if you’re listening to the next phase, new wave, dance craze, so long as there is a ThinGap motor powering a VPI turntable, it’s still rock and roll to us.
03 Oct 2022

Optical Platforms, A Perfect Fit

Central to the deployment of cutting edge technologies that require dynamic sensors and precision photonics, such as self-driving cars, laser communication, and medical equipment, optical stages are at the core of these systems. Optical systems often require precise, highly linear and cogless brushless DC motors to actuate lenses and prisms for directing laser beams, or to collect light need in high speed communications, sensing, or scanning. An optical platform refers to any instrument that relies on photons to transmit, receive, or direct energy. Common forms of optical platforms include metrology instrumentation, medical diagnostics, inspection equipment, free-space laser communication, as well as LiDAR scanners. Optical Communications Terminals (OCT), used in both terrestrial and space-based applications are a kind of gimbaling device that transmit and receive data through free space. Mounted on a turret, these devices use highly collimated light generated by lasers to communicate at high rates of speed, over long distances, including in satellite-to-satellite communication. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, as well as 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. The emergence of self-driving vehicles and other unmanned systems has been enabled by the integration of LiDAR technology. LiDAR is an acronym that stands for Light Detection And Ranging, and operates by projecting out laser energy and then measuring the time it takes for it to be returned. LiDAR platforms benefit from slotless motor technology, such as ThinGap’s TG series that combines extremely precise and controlled movement, high speed, and a large throughhole needed for tight integration. Broader use of optical systems includes laser guidance and directed energy for the military, scientific spectroscopy, and medical treatment and diagnostics. Industrial segments, like semiconductor wafer processing and test heavily rely on the precision of optical systems, as does material processing. In most cases, to leverage the precision of highly collimated light and highly sensitive sensors, precision actuation is need in the form of smooth motion profiles, highly linear torque constant and little or no hysteresis caused by the motor. Low profile and high torque air-core motors are a perfect fit for many optical systems. With a large through hole, lenses or prisms can be integrated inside the footprint of the motor. Precision, cogless motion is demanded in both transmission and receipt of photonic signals, and quality, qualification for medical or space and reliability go together with these targeted applications. ThinGap’s LS and TG Series of motor kits come in sizes from 25 mm up to 267 mm OD, with modified and full custom options are also available. All ThinGap motors are zero cogging and have a thin coil, with a large through-hole. The LS Series are designed for torquer motor applications, and feature a steel lamination stack that retains the stator coil, and ideal thermally efficient architecture for clamping or bonding into systems. The TG Series offers both high speed and high torque performance, and is ideal for haptic feedback because its ironless stator produces no attractive forces when unpowered.
13 Sep 2022

ThinGap Marks the First Customer Deliveries of the Newest LS Series’ 39mm by 39mm Cogless Motor Kits

A new, taller variant of the LSI 39 frameless motor kit now means three sizes with a 39mm OD Unique in that the part it is as tall as it is wide, resulting in very high torque despite its small size ThinGap has delivered the first production units of its newest LSI 39 motor kits to customers. The new LSI 39-39 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 39mm and also an axial height of 39mm; the height is more than double that of its sister product the LSI 39-17, and nearly quadruples that of the LSI 39-10. This increase in axial height more than doubles the continuous and peak torque outputs to 0.279 N-m and 1.020 N-m, respectively, compared to the LSI 39-17. The LSI 39-39 can operate at speeds from 0-4,600 RPM and has a motor constant of 0.05 Kt. Thanks to the LS Series’ steel lamination stack architecture that retains the highly precise wave-wound stator coil, all LS products provide an excellent thermal path when clamped or bonded as part of system integration. ThinGap’s customers for the LS and TG Series of motor kits consistently take advantage of the product lines’ inherent zero cogging motion, low profile and large through hole. The architecture of both product series yields a highly linear torque output, and little or no hysteresis. The LSI 39-39, like all the small to medium-sized LS products is targeted at torquer motor applications in robotics, gimbals, and precision industrial systems, including semiconductor production and metrology equipment. With outer diameter sizes from as small as 25mm, and up to 267mm, the LS line ranges in continuous torque from 0.1 N-m up to 12.0 N-m. Standard, modified, and full custom designs are available in both in-runner and out-runner configurations. To read the full press release, click here.
18 Aug 2022

TG Series for Starter-Generator Applications

There is a long-standing truism that good motors make good generators.  High efficiency, smooth operation, low harmonic distortion and weight optimization are commonly desired traits in both motors and generators. In the case of a starter-generator for applications like UAVs and ground-based portable systems, ThinGap motors can start an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with its high peak torque, then switch to generator mode to supply valuable conditioned power to onboard systems. What is effectively two functions from one electro-mechanical device. ThinGap designs and builds high efficiency, air core-slotless motor kits with large through-holes and high-torque and power density. This architecture largely eliminates internal magnetic losses by virtue of design and offers the highest possible BLDC system efficiency (up to 95%).  The low impedance Stator provides a stable, pure 3-phase sinusoidal, low-droop (less than 1% harmonic distortion) voltage output. Because of the thin radial cross section and with an optimized Rotor, the bulk of the material is at the maximum radius yielding high torque. As part of its ongoing support of Government end-customers, ThinGap and its industry partners were recently selected for two different airborne starter-generator projects for use on DOD platforms. ThinGap has been supplying starter-generators for several years, and recently has worked to expand offerings and more widely deploy these solutions. There is growing demand, especially in Defense, for generators that run off a heavy full engine. To better understand ThinGap’s position in supplying electric motors for starter-generators, it helps to understand starter-generators. Starter-generators are a unique application that requires high peak starting torque at relatively low speed, and then power generation at high speed. Aircraft require starter-generators to begin operation, where on startup in both piston and jet turbine powered aircraft, power is drawn from onboard batteries to operate the starter-generator first as a motor to get the main engine up to a speed that can sustain combustion for propulsion. This process takes a few seconds on piston motors and up to a minute with jet turbines. Once combustion has been sustained, current is cut to the starter, and from there the free-spinning rotor is driven by the crankshaft or turbine shaft to now act as a generator to power aircraft systems and recharge the aircrafts internal power supply from startup. ThinGap’s TG Series is ideal for starter-generator applications. This is enabled by the lightweight wave-wound composite Stator, and weight-optimized Rotors with large clear internal apertures which can be integrated into both piston and turbine engines. For the TG Series, peak torque capacity is much higher, giving a dynamic response significantly better than the competition at a lighter weight. The TG Series is air cooled by convection, and unlike most motor kits generates more power the faster it is spinning, due to faster airflow over the composite coil, and power ranges between 3-7 kW when used as a starter-generator, and standard offerings range between 5 and 7 inches in diameter, with custom motors delivered for UAV applications as large as 14 inches. To learn more about ThinGap’s TG Series of motor kits, click here.
21 Jul 2022

What is Cogging Torque?

As the primary feature and the focus of ThinGap’s product lineup, a lot has been spoken about zero cogging torque in the product lineup. Cogging torque is the interaction between the permanent magnets in the rotor, and the slots of the stator. Because the rotor magnets are attracted to the stator teeth, the torque required to move the rotor changes with the relative position of the rotor to the stator. In other words, additional energy is required to break the position dependent detent torque to advance the motor. Cogging torque adds harmonic content to the torque-versus-angle curves for each phase. When driven by a sinusoidal current, harmonic content of the torque-versus-angle curves cause undesirable variations in torque production that interfere with smooth motor rotation. Additionally, phase imbalance common in a traditional slotted motor can further exacerbate the issue. The result is a phenomenon known as torque-ripple which is a variation of torque production with position. There are a few issues when trying to integrate a traditional cogging motor into an application that requires precision actuation. To mitigate cogging torque in a slotted motor, it is possible to design the lamination stack with a rotational skew, so the magnetic field of the stator is diagonal to that of the magnetic field of the rotor. Alternatively, the magnets can be designed with a skew. Other techniques include using different slot-pole combinations and compensating for cogging and phase imbalance in the drive electronics. However, when integrating slotted motors into systems for precision actuation, there will always be issues. Due to the nature of manufacturing, there is always variance between two seemingly identical motors, which can have an unpredictable impact on the cogging profile and phase balance. Furthermore, solutions to minimize cogging torque typically reduce the total output of the motor. The sunk cost of trying to mitigate cogging torque on both motor costs and development labor is better spent on the correct solution: slotless, coggless, brushless DC motors from ThinGap.   The benefit of ThinGap slotless and ironless motor designs is that they eliminate cogging torque by design. Their uniquely constructed phase windings produce a balanced phase amplitude and angle relationships between phases. This results in less than 1% total harmonic distortion of the back EMF waveform which minimizes torque ripple when paired with sinusoidal drive electronics. ThinGap’s slotless motor architecture with wave-wound coils prevents cogging since the air-core rotor has no slots. Wound around a flat bobbin with a basket weave style winding, ThinGap’s composite air core motor kits have no iron. The thin nature of the coils produces very high copper packing and a motor with a large through hole, up to 80% of the outer diameter. In addition, ThinGap’s motor kits are available with Halbach array rotors, optimizing the magnetic flux for the highest torque density in a slotless motor. To learn more about zero-cogging motion solutions, please contact us.
05 Jul 2022

ThinGap's TG Series for Flywheel Applications

For many years, ThinGap motors have been successfully used in a variety of flywheel applications, ranging from gyro-stabilization in boats and satellites, to momentum storage for renewable energy. ThinGap’s TG Series of slotless motor kits are ideal for flywheel applications because of their highly efficient lightweight composite stator, optimal balance between torque and inertia, with negligible rotational losses, and zero cogging that is critical to achieving smooth motion at high speed. Boats of all sizes stand to benefit from gyroscopic stabilization. Due to Newton’s third law of motion - every action carrying an equal and opposite reaction, a gyroscopes motion can be used to stabilize a ship or boat in heavy seas. A marine gyro-stabilizer is a large, spinning flywheel housed in the depths of the ship, near the keel. As the flywheel spins, computers on the bridge orient the flywheel against the ships current rolling motion, cancelling it out. ThinGap’s high efficiency motors make an excellent flywheel stabilizer of all sizes and can withstand harsh marine environments. Another application where gyroscopic flywheels are used to change orientation is with satellites and their use of Reaction Wheel Assemblies. Yet another case of Newton’s Third Law, when a reaction wheel is spun up inside a satellite, the spacecraft turns in the opposite direction of the flywheel’s rotation, with this being used to steer and orient spacecraft in orbit. Because motion in space is multi-axial, each satellite carries multiple reaction wheels in an assembly to freely rotate. Since 2015, ThinGap has shipped thousands of kits for reaction wheel assemblies in large commercial and Government funded constellations, and in 2022, spun off their reaction wheel assembly motor kits to a separate product line. An emerging use for highly efficient slotless motor kits is in momentum storage. Pioneered more than a decade ago for motorsports applications, excess or available energy is transferred to a motor that spins up a flywheel, whereby storing that energy in a rotating mass as a mechanical battery, instead of as chemical energy. Advantages of retaining the energy in a momentum flywheel application includes high power density compared with conventional batteries for quicker charge and discharge. Future applications of momentum storage could even extend to emerging markets such as renewable energy. ThinGap’s ironless stator puts all the magnetics, the heaviest part of the motor, in the rotor. This maximizes the inertia for a given weight and size requirement, meaning the necessary flywheel mass can be reduced, and sometimes fully incorporated into the rotor, resulting in a lighter weight package for the same momentum storage capacity. Due to no iron saturation in the stator, ThinGap’s peak torque capacity is much higher for a similar weight motor, giving a dynamic response significantly better than the competition at a lighter weight. To learn more about ThinGap’s TG Series of motor kits, click here.
21 Jun 2022

Rapid Reaction Design and Manufacturing

Quick turn sample quantiles.  Industry leading lead-times.  On demand applications support. Standard, modified and custom options. ThinGap is the market leader in high performance, zero-cogging brushless DC motor kits and prides itself on the ability to rapidly react to both market demands and customer specific requirements. Since 1999, ThinGap has developed over 100 motor designs, and shipped thousands of motors to a wide range of customers, from NASA to Fortune 500 companies, and even top Formula 1 teams. One of the key enabling factors is attributed to a tight integration of production, engineering, and operations at a single location in Camarillo, California. ThinGap’s rapid reaction capabilities are reflected in sample quantity products often shipping within one week or less, a ramp to production volumes ship in 3-4 months, and preliminary custom designs and CAD available in 48 hours and custom design builds as soon as 12 weeks. Because of ThinGap’s advanced analytical modelling, final designs are usually within 95% of prediction performance. Well defined production processes, 3D printed tooling, refined modeling and analytical tools all contribute to the ability quickly support customers in a fast paced marketplace. To learn more about ThinGap’s quick reaction production, click here.
16 May 2022

Emerging Applications for Highly Efficient Slotless Motors

ThinGap’s cogless motors have found success with novel and emerging applications due to their high efficiency, low-profile, smooth motion, and scalable architecture. ThinGap’s zero-cogging, high performance motor kits are ideal for many aerospace and medical applications, such as gimbals, reaction wheel assemblies, and surgical robotics but are not limited to just these.  Demand has also come from unique market segments, where customers with emerging applications like energy storage, submersibles and advanced generators need ThinGap’s slotless motors. Slotless motors offer the benefits of smooth, cogless motion and high efficiency, with custom and modified features allowing for deep integration. Flight simulation and human interface applications desire low hysteresis and pure haptic feedback capabilities.  Unmanned systems, whether airborne or underwater require high efficiency that equates to weight savings.  Starter-generators provide a dual function in UAV applications, with high cranking capability to start the engine, and then high efficiency with a clean signal output as a generator. Submergible systems can benefit from the rugged nature of slotless motors and their inherent ability to be fully encapsulated as part of their normal fabrication process. Flywheel applications, whether the well-established use of momentum storage in Reaction Wheel Assemblies (small satellite attitude control) or larger-scale ones used for gyro-stabilization or energy storage benefit from high-speed operation, and the maximum amount of inertia for a given weight. Unmanned Underwater Vehicles An emerging use for ThinGap’s brushless DC motors is in underwater propulsion. ThinGap motors are ideal for underwater direct drive propulsion because of a high torque-to-diameter ratio. With no gearbox, there’s no drivetrain losses, lower assembly weight, increased torque, and greater reliability. 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. Flight and Control Simulator Equipment From aerospace to motorsports, simulation equipment is necessary to ensure immersion so professionals can hone their skills. ThinGap’s frameless architecture and smooth cogless motion makes it the ideal solution where a human operation or system need force sensing. Haptic systems require accurate torque feedback, without mechanical disturbances to improve the human control experience. ThinGap’s motor kits have near zero Eddy-current, low hysteresis, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current throughout the operating range. Flywheel and Energy Storage The air-core architecture’s inherent high speed operation with high efficiency is why ThinGap motors are ideal for both energy generation and storage. Scalable to large sizes and high speeds while maintaining a high power-to-weight ratio as well as weight optimized components yields highly specialized mass profiles. Targeted flywheel applications include Space-rated Reaction Wheel Assemblies, gyro-stabilization for large spacecraft and marine vessels, or novel methods to store and generate power as part of a clean energy strategy. Starter/Generators In both ground and airborne systems, as a starter-generator, ThinGap’s TG Series of air-core, impedance stators provide a stable, sinusoidal, low-droop voltage source and with an extremely high-power factor.  ThinGap motors are a pure three phase voltage output with less than 1% harmonic distortion. In addition, with a large aperture architecture, affording the kit a thin radial cross section, so a large through hole and very lightweight with system efficiency of up to 95%. To learn more about ThinGap's motor kits, click here.
20 Apr 2022

Low Profile, High-Torque Precision Motors for Semiconductor, Packaging and Test Equipment

With demand for electronics at an all-time high and a global supply shortage, the Semiconductor Equipment industry is busier than ever. Today’s modern wafer processing, automatic test and packaging system have a need for increased force density and high resolution move and hold steps. Highly precise, yet compact designs help enable inline process steps that are critical to higher throughput. There are many needs for high precision BLDC electric motors in every stage of semiconductor production, from wafer processing all the way to inline testing. Motor selection is critical to system architecture, and factors in control methods, feedback requirements, and mechanical attributes. Motors and actuators used for these applications are required to deliver cogless and absolute precision. Low profile motor architecture is ideal, because of the large internal aperture so optics or cabling can be routed through the middle. In addition to wafer positioning, precision motors are needed to direct optical systems, such as beam steering, with precision actuation to deliver precision to the micron level. The continued use of Direct Drive solutions enables system-level advancements needed by semiconductor processing and test equipment.  Rapid and accurate movement defines the performance specifications. Beyond zero cogging, ThinGap motor kits have near zero Eddy-current, low hysteresis, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current throughout the operating range. The resulting smooth motion, linear output, and low profile of ThinGap’s motor kits make them perfect for use in precision applications. Slotless motor kits with high torque, direct-drive capabilities are in many cases the ideal solution for semiconductor equipment. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for applications requiring performance and efficiency. Standard LS motor kits range in size from 25 to 267 mm diameter and produce torque from 0.1 to 12.0 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.
29 Mar 2022

High Torque, Low Profile Precision Motors for Optical Communication Terminals and Coarse Pointing Assemblies

With the fast and aggressive build out of Space, namely the rapidly growing number of LEO constellations orbiting Earth, comes the pervasive need for free-space optical communications that allows space-to-space, space-to-air and space-to-ground connections. Point-to-point use of highly collimated light in high-bandwidth communication is critical to the utility of “mesh networks” connecting each spacecraft with each other and to the ground. Space-rated gimbals used for Satcom and Optical systems need high torque actuation that allows for decisive move-and-hold positioning and smooth motion for long-range target lock. With size and weight constraints being a design objective for spacecraft, a large aperture, low-profile is ideal for deep integration and desired performance. Zero cogging and high linear torque output inherently come with the slotless architecture. Multi-axial gimbaling mechanisms, like those used in Coarse and Fine Pointing Assemblies can leverage the benefits of high performance Ring Motors to directly drive movement and maintain position. Frameless motor kits offer the further ability integrate the actuation function as part of optimized systems. Optimized systems offering Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) savings, which is highly desirable in any kind of spacecraft application. Other Space-systems, like larger gimbal-based Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMG) are used for Attitude Control in larger satellites requiring greater quantities of torque and precision. 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. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency. Using a proprietary design, thin wire-wrapped stators and optimized permanent-magnet rotors, ThinGap provides 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 .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. Hall devices and special configurations are also available. To learn more about the LS Series, click here.
22 Mar 2022

ThinGap Participates in the 37th Space Symposium

ThinGap will be participating in the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on April 4-7, 2022. The company will be represented at the show by CEO, John Baumann, and Lead Applications Engineer, Matthew Panesis. Also present at the show will be members of ThinGap network of sales representatives. Besides meeting with existing and potentially new customers, domestic and international space agencies, and industry partners, a working unit of ThinGap’s H-LSI 75-12 turnkey Direct Drive Motor Assembly (image) based on the company’s slotless motor technology will be demonstrated at the ESI Motion booth (booth #612). Matthew Panesis, ThinGap’s Applications Engineer commented on the event, “With the recent launch of our new TGR Series of Reaction Wheel Assembly motor kits, the timing is perfect to update our business partners, as well as customers about this new space-rated offering. In addition, we’re proud that our colleagues at ESI Motion will be demonstrating our Direct Drive Motor Assembly being driven by their control electronics.” ThinGap slotless motors are widely used in many space applications, including Reaction Wheels, Control Moment Gyroscopes, Gimbals, Point-and-Track Satcom, Pumps and other precision actuation functions needed in spacecraft. For vacuum-compatible motor kits, ThinGap can easily provide variants of its commercial off-the-shelf motors. With these modifications, the motor kits can address the need for various program specifications, including low outgassing materials, specialty electronics, and in some cases, redundant stator windings to provide mission-critical assurance. Space Symposium, held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, has brought together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space since the inaugural event in 1984. In recent years, the Space Foundation team has welcomed more than 14,000 people from around the world, including speakers, attendees, exhibitors, volunteers, educators, and students. Space Symposium has become widely known as the premier U.S. space policy and program forum for information on and interaction among all sectors of space.
14 Mar 2022

Reaction Wheel Assembly Motors by ThinGap

Small form-factor and high inertia-to-weight ratio ideal for microsatellites Today’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, including “SmallSat” and “CubeSat” microsatellites require a range of critical functions to serve their mission as cost-effective spacecraft. One of the most important functions is Attitude Control, which enables high accuracy pointing capabilities. Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA) are used for multi-axis Attitude Control. RWAs use multiple motors that each spin at varying speeds creating a change in kinetic energy in the desired axes. RWAs utilize optimized rotating inertia, speed, and torque to accomplish this. Motors used in RWAs need to have the optimal balance between torque and inertia, with negligible rotational losses and smooth motion performance. Zero cogging is critical to achieving this smooth motion. Additionally, parts must be made with low-outgassing materials, have flight heritage, and be sourced from suppliers that can support space programs’ stringent requirements. ThinGap has tuned its product offering of “air core” motors to meet the demands of this application. This moving magnet air-core motor lends itself to very low drag at high operating speeds, and a wide speed range with constant torque. ThinGap’s ironless stator puts all the magnetics (the heaviest part of the motor) in the rotor, maximizing the inertia for a given weight and size requirement. The reaction wheel’s necessary flywheel mass can be reduced, and sometimes fully incorporated into the rotor. The resulting package is lighter weight for the same momentum storage capacity. Smooth operation is achieved through a zero cogging slotless design that maintains sinusoidal torque versus angle curves with total harmonic distortion of less than 0.5%. The precision wound coil results in a phase-to-phase balance within 1%. Hands down, ThinGap has the highest precision RWA motors available, yielding pure torque vector control, with very low losses and zero cogging. Motor sizes range from 25mm to 250mm in diameter and axial heights as small as 22 mm, with through holes up to 80% of the outside diameter. Since 2015, ThinGap has shipped thousands of Space-grade or MIL-STD rated motor parts for use in commercial satellites, military and commercial aircraft, and flight-grade NASA programs. ThinGap Motors Used For RWA Applications [table id=16 /] To learn more about the TGR Series of motor kits, click here.