The Aero-Series from Alva Industries is a series of high-performance electric motors, made possible by a highly scalable and customisable production technology for ironless stators.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are poised to become a more sustainable, efficient and cheaper alternative to helicopters. But due to ineffective motors, weight restrictions and battery capacity, helicopters still have to be used in many situations where UAVs – commonly known as drones – otherwise would be a better option.
On a larger scale, this coincides with the world’s need for better solutions not only for producing green energy, but also for utilising this energy in more efficient ways in electric motors.
The Aero-Series from Alva Industries is a series of high-performance electric motors for various larger UAV classes. These motors are designed for low weight and exceptional efficiency at nominal operation – resulting in up to 20 per cent more airtime and greater payload capacity.
This is made possible by using an ironless stator – the stationary key component in an electric motor. Avoiding the use of iron cores in stators leads to lighter and more energy efficient motors, but the production of these components has traditionally been manual and costly.
Using a patented production process called FiberPrinting™, Alva Industries has created a method of “printing” copper wires together with structural fibres – inspired by traditional textile and composite material production processes. This allows for the production of coreless electric motors in a highly customisable, scalable and cost-efficient manner.
Using the FiberPrinting technique, electric motors can be customised to meet specific customer and UAV needs. By avoiding off-the-shelf solutions, UAV manufacturers can finely tune the desired properties of their drones case by case – be it longer flying times or higher payloads – while at the same time keeping costs down.
This in turn can open up for the use of drones in new areas and industries, reducing the need for less sustainable and more costly solutions such as crop duster planes or powerline inspection helicopters.
Furthermore, scalable production of ironless stators is a potential enabling technology in other areas, making it possible, for example, to reduce the weight of wind turbines dramatically.
Commercial UAVs are disrupting a variety of industries, with a market expected to surpass USD 12 billion in 2021. Alva Industries is working to become the “go to” company for electric propulsion systems for commercial drones, aiming for a market share of roughly USD 270 million within five years.
The company has started commercial deliveries, and is currently looking for eight new drone manufacturers in Europe and North America for close partnerships in 2020.
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Electric UAVs that are able to fly longer and lift higher can be used for transport in a variety of industries, without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.