The motor is a core component of any household vacuum cleaner unit. The motor directly affects the vacuum cleaner's suction force and total weight. We developed a motor that weighs approximately 45% less and has an external size of approximately 85% of the conventional vacuum motor. This new motor design created a significant contribution to reducing the weight and size of vacuum cleaner units.
While cordless vacuum cleaners and robot vacuum cleaners are popular, canister vacuum cleaners are still in demand. Panasonic Living Appliances and Solutions Company has found great success in its J-Concept series of products. They intended to add a canister-type vacuum cleaner to this series to accommodate seasonal market demands. They decided to introduce this new vacuum cleaner unit with a significant breakthrough in weight reduction. By combining the wisdom and technology of Panasonic Motor BU's innovative motor redesign, our customer was able to add canister-type vacuum units to their successful J-Concept series of products.
Adopting a new and advanced material (PPFRP) into the vacuum cleaner body resulted in a partial weight reduction of the overall unit. The target overall weight reduction could not be realized without an innovative redesign of the motor construction. The motor is typically one-third of a vacuum cleaner's total weight.
The realization of designing a lighter-weight motor was at direct odds with ensuring its performance. The first step was to identify a level of performance that would satisfy customer requirements.
The raw material of the bracket was changed from iron to aluminum. As a result of the material change, the retention force of the ball bearing was also reduced. As a countermeasure to this side-effect, we changed the holding mechanism for the bearing to a more secure structure.
We also evaluated fundamental changes to the principal motor design, including changes to utilize aluminum magnet wire. All materials used in the construction of the motor were reviewed for improvement opportunities.
The central essence of a motor’s performance is the magnetic fields created between the rotor and stator cores. Any slight change or reduction of material to the core designs will directly impact the performance of the motor. We repeated multiple cycles of manipulating the core design, coupled with testing and analysis. This consisted of trimming material and studying the magnetic field to remove redundant portions that do not affect magnetic force and performance.
The material thickness of the bracket was reduced to decrease overall density while maintaining skeletal strength. To deal with material weakness in areas of high stress, structural ribs were added to specific locations to improve that strength.
Collective development for a new power terminal that reliably connects to aluminum magnet wire.
The central concept for this development was to maintain strong performance and reliable motor quality while significantly reducing the total weight. In this particular case, the vacuum cleaner had already adopted significant transformations in the unit body to realize both reductions in size and weight. This was accomplished through the use of advanced material and a new handle design. Our customer marketed these changes as their J-concept. However, the essential element for realizing the J-concept in the finished product was to employ the creation of a lighter-weight motor.
Usually, significantly reducing the weight of an electric motor suggests an unattainable request. In addition, it would appear to be impracticable and contrary to reason. The bulk mass of the motor design is constructed of iron and copper. To change this, it was crucial to reexamine the basic design of the motor and reduce the use of heavy metals as much as possible. We needed to consider every avenue for trimming weight out of the motor. In our initial efforts and design considerations, we struggled to reduce the weight while ensuring quality and without incurring significant cost increases. But with the cooperation of valued suppliers and the collaboration of departments within the company, we were able to realize our objectives for a lighter-weight motor design. In short, we accomplished a new design that we could move forward with and promote with confidence. We desire to continually develop new motors that will satisfy our customers and embrace their visionary requirements for new products.