How do I choose the best electric motor for me?

How do I choose the best electric motor for me?

With a wide range of electric motor technologies available, there will be a motor to suit almost any application's requirements, whether fully customised or an off-the-shelf solution.  

If you are searching for the ideal motor for your application, you'll want to thoroughly explore all the options that might be suitable before making a final choice. There may be an obvious choice of which motor type to use, or you may have several options to choose from. How unique is your project and what specific functionality will it need? What are the key requirements you need that will differentiate yours from others in the market?

Fisher & Paykel Technologies partners with businesses who need customised smart drive systems. We help you design, build & manufacture solutions that deliver value to your customers.

Key features and requirements - questions to ask

Choosing the best electric motor for your individual application requirements will involve research and careful consideration of a number of factors. For example, key requirements might include high efficiency, cost optimised, motor availability and the total system cost. There will be trade-offs with other components of your system - noise and vibration emissions, size, etc. What about sustainability - will it include the use of rare earth materials? What specific functionality will the motor require? Can it operate with a transmission or direct drive system?

Is maintaining a constant torque or speed level a necessity? Or high positional or speed accuracy? Should the system be updatable over-the-air? Or maybe it comes down to whether a catalogue motor fits the bill, or a fully customised solution is needed. As with torque and speed, voltage and current are hugely important when making motor choices. There will likely be restrictions here and it is always worthwhile to think about extremes, not just the ordinary running conditions. Obviously in many applications it may not be immediately possible to know all the numbers, however the more you can supply here the better.

Technical requirements

When thinking through the technical requirements of the proposed project, the following points are a sample of what might need to be considered.  

In terms of efficiency, this comes down to power consumption and heat production. Will your application be required to run at a constant speed, or will it stop/start all the time? It is also important to think about the environment the motor will be operating in. For example, temperature, moisture, explosive, submerged, shaking/vibration, EMC/EMI (electromagnetic compatibility/interference) sensitive, exposed moving parts, IP (Ingress protection) rating, flame resistance, and more.  

What power source will be used - battery, domestic plug, generator on construction site or industrial power supply. There are also size and weight considerations and noise and vibration emissions to think about, along with smart features and system integration.  

These are some of the considerations about the requirements needed across the full operational range of the motor, and will ultimately have an impact on the type of motor that is best for your application. You can then investigate the capabilities of each type of motor that might be able to achieve those requirements. Once all your key requirements are identified and met, the process of deciding on which motor to choose will be more straight forward. The more clarity you have at the beginning of the project, the easier it will be to choose the best option, while saving time and money further down the track.

Talk to us about your individual requirements and how we can assist you with motor design and manufacture.

To sum up  

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right electric motor for a project. Prioritising the most important characteristics and narrowing down by looking at basic parameters, followed by technical competencies will allow you to make an informed decision on which motor solution is best for your application.  


Rob Keating

Rob is a content creator and copywriter for Fisher & Paykel Technologies. His work includes the Knowledge Hub, email, website and social media copy, along with customer communications.
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electric motor, motor applications, drive system motor, motor drive system, smart integrated drive systems
October 10, 2022
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