Auckland machinery-maker Teknatool International has developed a “smart” electronic motor using microprocessor technology.
The motor features a computer to vary its speed - for use on wood-turning lathes.
But production and development director Roger Latimer says applications for the new motor are much wider.
"Control electronics and the advent of micro-computers have made it possible to use these motors in even very small machines and appliances," Latimer says.
He believes the "smart" motor will become standard in many applications.
The motor works by using a computer to energise the magnets which "pull" the rotor around.
"The little computer switches on the magnets in sequence. This enables the motor to be controlled precisely - the smart bit is that the motor always knows what the shaft is doing and enables precise speed control and shaft positioning," Latimer says.
"The computer chip supplies only enough power to ensure that the rotor is at the programmed position, resulting in high efficiency."
Latimer says it is easy to build the motor as part of the machine it is working with, eliminating many components and making the machine more reliable and maintenance free.
The project to develop the motor was supported by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.
Teknatool (www.teknatool.com) worked with Dr Ibrahim Al-Bahadly of Massey University and an overseas research facility in developing the motor.
The company plans to launch the motor on to the market in September.