MAG SOAR presents the new generation of magnetic gears in ESA

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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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ESA visits MAG SOAR facilities

Another step forward for Levisolator

ESA visits MAG SOAR facilities to monitor the recent advances of the project

Levisolator is creating a completely new support system based on magnetic bearings technology that would eventually be installed on the cryostat of ESA ATHENA mission, an advanced X-ray telescoped designed to address the Cosmic Vision gas structures.

ESA visits MAG SOAR facilities

MAG SOAR leads a consortium with Universidad de Alcalá and the Universidade de Lisboa which is currently developing the Levisolator project. MAG SOAR engineers exposed the last updates and technical data to the ESA agents.

The use of magnetic bearings in extreme temperature environments can be crucial to improve isolation, cleanliness and lifetime of the mechanisms and prevent wear or lubrication issues. This makes satellites and space telescopes the perfect candidates to benefit from the advantages provided by contactless magnetic systems.

Athena telescope development could be key in order to unravel some of the universe biggest mysteries such as how does ordinary matter assemble into large-scale structures or how do black holes grow and shape the Universe.