The benefits of direct drive motors

Rob Keating

November 2, 2021

The benefits of direct drive motors

About Direct Drive motors

Direct drive motors are known to be extremely quiet and efficient, while creating an overall dynamic, longer-life system. The moving parts of the system are reduced due to the elimination of gearboxes and transmission. Direct drive motors are used in a multitude of industries and are becoming increasingly popular as companies look to make their systems more efficient, reliable and cost-effective.  

Direct drive motors use a ‘frameless’ application – reducing the need for framing, housing or bearing systems means suppliers can integrate their motors into the application itself, reducing the need for added interfacing, therefore, reducing the cost of ownership.

Like everything, not all direct drive motors are made equal. Companies all over the world have been looking at innovative ways to make their systems more efficient, placing the motor at the heart of the solution. A notable example of this is Hitachi’s ‘Hitachi Astemo’. Released in 2021, it is a new compact and lightweight in-wheel drive system for electric vehicles. This technology combines the inverter, motor and brake in one unit.  

Several innovations contribute to this efficient and system-focused approach to direct drive. The power density of the motor is made possible by arranging the magnets in a Halbach array and using innovative flat coils, to increase the driving force. Direct cooling technology also saves installation space. This type of innovative technology shows that it isn’t just the motor that contributes to the success of the solution – it is the system as a whole.  

What are the major benefits of a Direct Drive motor?

Simplicity & efficiency

One of the main benefits of a direct drive motor is its simplicity. By directly driving the application and removing unnecessary components such as a gearbox or belt, the direct drive simplifies the process and results in a smoother and more efficient system.  

The direct drive has no need for a belt between the shaft and the motor itself, therefore there are fewer parts to worry about and less risk of parts failing or malfunctioning from unnecessary components. This can also minimise maintenance and replacement parts.  

Power and performance

Direct drives produce highly dynamic acceleration and a high level of positional precision, meaning optimal performance can be achieved. They offer exceptional power density and power can be precisely tuned to the application’s requirements.  

Compact design

Direct drive motors offer significant design advantages over traditional motors. As they consist of just two parts – the stator and rotor, they can be engineered to fit into many different compact forms. Also, without the need for a controller, the direct drive can afford more space around the motor itself. In some solutions, you can integrate the controller directly into the motor, giving more space to customise the system to your specific needs.  

Reduced noise

You will enjoy a quieter motor and a more efficient system overall. The elimination of parts means there are fewer components to cause noise, supplying a more pleasant experience. Vibration can also be significantly reduced.  

With improved efficiency, clean, oil free operation, and increased energy saving, direct drives can offer environmental benefits too.

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