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MAG SOAR presents the new generation of magnetic gears in ESA

The technical director of MAG SOAR, Dr. Ignacio Valiente, presented Optimagdrive project final results in 2017 Mechanisms Final Presentation Days workshop. The project main objective was to demonstrate the potential capacity of magnetic gearboxes.

Magnetic gears have proven to be a better solution than conventional gears in applications where the extreme temperature or the maximum precision required implies serious problems for conventional mechanical gearing. For instance, robotics or space actuators.

The prototypes developed by MAG SOAR have been specially optimized for space requirements. Therefore, the minimum weight and the maximum reduction ratio have been considered the main priorities. Although the technology is recently making significant advances, up to now, the state of art still reflects some important limitations such as poor density torques and reduction ratios, magnetic contamination and overheating due to Foucault currents, undesired oscillations caused by high ripple torques… “We had the challenge of demonstrating a better performance in terms of torque with a very much higher reduction ratio”, explained Dr. Valiente.

As there were different points to validate, three different prototypes were developed in parallel to demonstrate some critical points in each one. The first and smallest one, with a diameter of 34mm, demonstrated a very high reduction ratio at one single stage with very low ripple torque. The second one fulfilled an optimal efficiency at high temperatures and significantly low magnetic pollution. Finally, the third prototype demonstrated a reduction ratio as high as 1:75.

In a nutshell, MAG SOAR has laid the foundations for a new coming generation of magnetic gears specially optimized for obtaining a maximum precision, efficiency and speed control at reduced weight. Dimensions, accuracy and torque parameters can be customized to meet different operational requirements.

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Z-DAMPER, winner of the CLEAN SKY Best Project from Partners award

Z-DAMPER has been awarded the first price from 22 nominated Clean Sky projects as best example of successfully performed activities.

 CLEAN SKY is the largest research program funded by the EU Commission developing advanced technologies designed to significantly reduce C02 and NOx emission and noise levels. This week, the Clean Sky 1 Closing Event “Europe, Innovation, and Aviation: Are we keeping up?” was celebrated in order to report results and main achievements, pushed forward by a successful collaboration between private and public actors.

Z-Damper, awarded the 1st prize, is a clear example of successful collaboration between the high-tech engineering small company MAG SOAR, as project coordinator, and Universidad de Alcalá. Z-Damper has created and demonstrated a disruptive vibration killer technology with an optimum performance at extreme temperature.   

Main goals of Clean Sky are the developments of new efficient and clean aircraft engines. A key challenge was to damp effectively their vibrations and a new enabling vibration isolation technology was required. Z-DAMPER has developed a solution from the concept up to the experimental tests, including design, engineering, simulation, manufacturing of prototypes and a testbench for demonstration from -70 to 300 ºC. This acknowledgment underlines the potential of Z-DAMPER as a promising vibration isolation technology, not only for aerospace but also for industry, antiseismic, large structures and other defence applications.

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Z-DAMPER nominated to the Clean Sky Best Project from Partners Award

CLEAN SKY is right now the largest European research H2020 funded program developing innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing C02, gas emission and noise level produced by aircraft.  This nomination confirms the big potential of Z-DAMPER for the control of vibrations at high temperatures and low frequencies.

Z-Damper is a magneto mechanism that matches mechanical impedances and provides a multiplier effect damping vibrations of both low and high frequency ranges more effectively.

Z-Damper optimum performance at extreme environments made this magneto-mechanism the perfect vibration killer to be used in one of Clean Sky major projects: the new counter-rotating open-rotor (CROR) developed by Airbus. CROR fuselage-mounted turbofans need a level of isolation of vibrations in a high-temperature environment that current damping technologies are not able to reach.

MAG SOAR SL, in cooperation with Universidad de Alcalá, developed and tested two prototypes following Airbus requirements. "Z-Damper has demonstrated a unique damping performance, even in extreme temperature environments. We have insight the birth of a new vibration isolation technology which applications are only starting to be foreseen", stated Dr. Valiente, technical director of MAG SOAR and scientific responsible of the project.
































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MAG SOAR in charge of SIROM thermal interface

SIROM is a European Commission H2020 project with the objective of developing a standard set of connections that allow coupling of payload to the manipulators and payloads to other payloads. These robotic manipulators or robot arms are increasingly being used in complex in-orbit infrastructures or space exploration due to its effectiveness and optimum performance in space conditions. However, there are still some problems due to the dynamic coupling between the manipulators and the spacecraft.


These connections will be integrated by mechanical interfaces in order to put together the blocks, electrical interfaces for power transmission, thermal interfaces for heat regulation and interfaces to transmit data throughout the satellite.


SIROM standardized model will be crucial for on-orbit servicing missions such as docking, berthing, re-fueling, repairing, upgrading, transporting, rescuing, and orbital debris removal. Besides, it will be also key for the future of planetary robotic exploration, currently depending on a range of robotic assets such as lander and rovers and on the interaction between them and the additional payload elements.  


MAG SOAR is in charge of the design, development, and manufacturing of the thermal interface, one of the main pieces of this robotic puzzle leaded by SENER.




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The birth of a revolutionary vibration isolation technology

Z-Damper is a vibration isolation system able to act as a dissipater and also to enhance the performance of any damping solution by mechanical impedance coupling.

This magneto mechanism is adaptable to low and high ranges of frequencies and it can substitute tuned vibration absorbers currently being used for the vibration control in automotive, energy or seismic applications.

Unlike other existing damping technologies, Z-Damper is capable of maintaining an optimum performance at extreme temperatures.

extreme temperature dampingThe EU funded FP7 Clean Sky program is boosting new technologies in order to improve safety and reduce the contamination levels of the aircraft systems. One of Clean Sky major projects is the development of a new counter-rotating open-rotor (CROR) engine capable of minimizing both noise and fuel consumption.

As the main project partner, Airbus is searching for technologies able to meet the exigent standards required for this large-scale project. Specifically, the fuselage-mounted turbofans need a very efficient isolation system to assure a reduction in the transmission of the vibrations to the aircraft structure. However, present damping technologies have a big limitation: they are not able to operate at the extreme temperature that the rotor engine may reach.

MAG SOAR in collaboration with Universidad de Alcalá has developed and tested three different prototypes specially optimized to reach Airbus requirements. Z-DAMPER project final meeting took place in UAH facilities. MAG SOAR and UAH researchers exposed to Airbus engineers the excellent vibration mitigation results obtained from the static and dynamic tests at temperatures up to 200ºC.Airbus-Z-Damper

Airbus, UAH and MAG SOAR teams were clearly satisfied by Z-DAMPER potential. "Z-Damper has demonstrated a unique damping performance, even in extreme temperature environments. We have insight the birth of a new vibration isolation technology which applications are only starting to be foreseen", stated Dr. Valiente, technical director of MAG SOAR and main project technical partner. 




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New world record in magnetic gear reduction: OPTIMAGDRIVE

Optimagdrive has currently achieved the highest reduction ratio ever reached by a magnetic drive. The tests have demonstrated a reduction ratio of 75. Besides, MAG SOAR engineers have managed to reduce the system weight maintaining high torque levels. This achievement confirms that this passive magnetic technology is ready to replace traditional mechanical gears in applications where the lack of contact and the consistent absence of lubricant requirements could be critical like aerospace, energy or food industry.magnetic gears

Optimagdrive project begun two years ago, under contract of ESA. Since then, two different prototypes have been specifically developed in order to fulfil space industry requirements. For this reason, one of the main priorities has been to accomplish the maximum reduction ratio without increasing the system weight. ESA engineers have recently visited MAG SOAR facilities in order to witness the full operation of this major step forward for magnetic gear technology.


Magnetic gears can advantageously replace conventional reduction drives to provide speed and torque multiplication by using magnetic attraction instead of physical contact between the movable members. Up to now, complex assemblies, high weight and poor torque has slowed down this magnetic technology spread. Optimagdrive project has simplified the designs and increased the density torque up to 10 times more than the current state of art. This represent a landmark as well as a major opportunity for this contactless mechanism to expand not only in space industry, but also in applications that can specially benefit from the large number of advantages:

  • No lubrication

Magnetic gears eliminate lubrication requirements and consequently minimize maintenance expenses. Additionally, the end of lubrication would also break the temperature barrier allowing mechanisms to operate in extreme temperature (currently tested from -200˚C to 350˚C).

This advantages are especially worthwhile in applications with high maintenance costs or those working in extreme environments such as satellites or other aerospace devices.

  • No wear

Along with fatigue and corrosion, wear is one of the three major factors limiting the life and performance of a mechanical component and an engineering system.

The lack of friction not only removes wear as well as fatigue from the system. This has a direct repercussion on lifetime, which can be key to the maintenance of mechanisms that can´t be easily replaced.

  • No debris

The material detached from worn surface in conventional gearboxes can´t be easily eliminated so it may be an important cause of contamination. This is an especially serious problem in devices which can´t be constantly maintained.

Optimagdrive produces no debris, what makes it the perfect choice for applications in which a clean environment is mandatory.

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New damping technology based on mechanic impedance matching

Conventional vibration control technologies are still highly limited. Current damping systems fail to deal with low frequency ranges and extreme temperature scenarios.

In order to fill that gap MAG SOAR has developed a new technology able to enhance the performance of any vibration damping system by mechanical impedance coupling. Impedance is a term usually applied to electronics that represents the opposition or voltage that a circuit presents to a current; the equivalent to the resistance in direct current. Electrical engineers use transformers to multiply voltage and divide current or vice versa in order to adjust the circuit impedances and optimize the circuit power. The same concept can be defined for mechanical systems as Force to Speed ratio. However, up to now nobody has developed any effective analogue mechanical transformer to enhance the efficiency of a mechanical system.

Our ears: A perfect example of mechanical coupling

Surprisingly, nature offers a perfect example of mechanical impedance matching. Ears of most terrestrial animals are provided with mechanical impedance transformers. While the medium in the outer ear is obviously air, the medium in the inner ear is a liquid similar to water. Both of these elements present quite different mechanical impedances. Because of the difference in the impedances of the air and the liquid in the inner ear, an audition loss of about 30 dB should be expected. However, a set of small bones in the middle air (hammer, incus and stapes) compliantly attached, together with the different areas of the tympanic membrane and the oval window provides a mechanical advantage so that it compensates this audition loss. This mechanical impedance coupling is an example of mechanical transformer.

How does Z-Damper works?

Z-DAMPER follows the same working principle detailed on the paperZ-Damper: A New Paradigm for Attenuation of Vibrations”. This contactless magneto mechanism multiplies the input speed and reduces drastically the incoming force needed to achieve the necessary damping coefficient. Z-Damper technology can be used to control the vibration transfer in different mechanisms and to enhance other damping systems efficiency. It is also able to function at extreme temperature, higher and lower than any other damping system.



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Z-Damper: A new technology for vibration control at extreme temperatures

Madrid-18/07/2016-MAG SOAR in collaboration with UAH develops a completely innovative system to face vibration problems by mechanical impedance matching


 Vibration control of buildings, airplanes, cars and other kinds of systems and structures is an extremely important issue in constant evolution. Insufficient control of vibration propagation can cause the critical failure and ultimately, the total breakage of an structure. Devastated buildings after earthquakes are extreme examples of the consequences of out of control vibrations.

There are different forms to reduce, mitigate or suppress vibrations. The simplest way is to increase the elasticity of the ground connections between a moving machine and a stable surface. Multiple solutions have been developed with this purpose that go from elastic couplings to floating benches. All of them can provide a quite a good vibration isolation with an appropriate design. However, these are limited to normal temperature and relatively high frequencies. Moreover, these solutions usually involve a significative increment of weight.

MAG SOAR engineers have just designed a new vibration control technology able to handle extreme temperature conditions at low and high frequencies thanks to mechanical impedance coupling. Z-DAMPER is a zero-backlash magneto-mechanism that has been optimized for matching mechanical impedances in order to control vibration propagation in a structure. This is the first damping technology to reach temperatures as high as 250 ˚C and as low as -200 ˚C and able to cope with high dynamic forces. Besides, there is not contact between the movable members so it barely needs maintenance. All of this makes Z-Damper the perfect candidate for extreme temperature environments where lubrication and wear related problems can have catastrophic consequences.

Z-DAMPER can also be applied to enhance the efficiency of other damping systems, like tuned vibration absorbers, eddy-current dampers and particularly, those with a poor performance at low frequency vibrations. The working principle detailed in the recently published paper, Z-Damper: a new paradigm for attenuation of vibrations”

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MAG SOAR presents Z-DAMPER in ESA 2016 mechanism workshop

MAG SOAR technical director exposed the project last advances to the interested parties

The Workshop on Gear Technology and Mechanisms Final presentation took place on ESA´s technical heart and incubator of the European space effort: The European Space Research and Technology Center, ESTEC, located in Noordwijk. (Netherlands)


The objective of the Workshop Gear Technology was to promote the discussion and exchange of ideas between European industry and academic institutions about research related to gear technology. Afterwards, the ESA Mechanisms section hosted the annual Final Presentation Days to disseminate the results of research and development activities.

Dr. Ignacio Valiente, MAG SOAR technical director, made a presentation about the last advances of FP7 Cleansky Z-Damper project. Z-Damper is a new damping technology able to resist extreme levels of vibrations at higher temperature than any other vibration control system. Z-DAMPER working principle is based on mechanical impedance coupling. This represents a completely original concept for vibration control as impedance matching has never before been used for damping purposes. Impedance coupling damping technology can be applied to vibrations control in many other fields such renewable energy or automotion. The working principle is detailed on the recently published paper: Z-Damper: a new paradigm for attenuation of vibrations.



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Extreme environment test bench for dampers ready for operation

damping test bench

The bench is designed for testing dampers performance at extreme temperature between -200ºC and 300ºC and at a frequency range of 0 to 50 Hz.

Vibration isolation is a common denominator issue in areas such as aerospace, defence, automotive, industry or energy. Unfortunately for engine manufacturers, currently available dampers are incapable of handling temperatures higher than 100ºC.

MAG SOAR engineers are just about to overcome this technological barrier with the development of the new Z-DAMPER. This magneto-mechanical damper is about to become a new paradigm for attenuation of vibration; A prototype is being designed to work optimally at high temperatures at low and high frequencies. In short, a clear breakthrough in the present damping technologies.

Z-DAMPER is partially founded by the European Union programme Clean Sky, the most ambitious aeronautical research programme ever launched in Europe. Clean Sky main objective is to develop technologies destined to increase significantly the environmental performance of airplains and air transport.

In order to go a step further, an unique test bench facility has been created and is now operational and ready for testing damping performance at extreme temperature.