Electrical Insulation Materials In E-Drives: Sustainability. Performance. Efficiency.

Presented by:

  • Christoph Lomoschitz, Global Product Manager Energy Solutions, Axalta

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Apr 4, 2022, 11:45 am EDT

The electric industry has seen a wave of new development during the past decade. E-mobility and energy transition towards renewable resources have been key drivers to this evolution without any doubt. Yet new advances allow improving the sustainability of e-drives even further, be it through new motor designs or materials that allow for less copper or electrical steel in an electric motor. Metals make up for the major portion of cost in electric machines, thus metal usage and quantity of metal used are driving the CO2 balance in a similar manner as cost. Key enablers have been thermally conductive insulation materials and materials with exceptionally high thermal rating as well as improved thermal management of the lamination steel core by using novel joining technologies, like Backlack technology.

Improving the carbon footprint by saving metal is a major driver, however, Axalta keeps working on the sustainability of insulation materials itself. Impregnating resins are increasingly switching from styrene or vinyltoluene based materials towards epoxy or acrylate materials without volatiles, reducing emissions and improving operators’ lives significantly. Electrical steel coatings are almost exclusively waterborne and advanced materials have eliminated Chromium (VI) from their formulations. Further, the increased use of renewable raw materials will help to lower carbon footprint.

Wire enamels are using coal-based solvents (phenol, cresylic acid etc.) or low molecular amides (NMP, DMF, DMAc). Axalta takes on the challenge to replace those feedstocks by more environmentally and user-friendly solvents, reducing toxicity and hazard on the shop floor level. Further, coal as a feedstock may see more dynamics in the future due to the energy transition itself. Following this approach the overall manufacturing process cost can be kept at the same level as the current state, eliminating special storage conditions or exhaust air treatment by improving the level of material usage, while keeping performance at least on the same level as conventional materials.

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