The invention relates to a stator assembly for an electric
machine and a method of manufacturing the same.
In one embodiment, the invention provides a stator for
a multi-phase electric machine having a plurality of core segments interconnected
with one another and a plurality of coils. At least one core segment includes a
plurality of teeth and a back portion that at least partially interconnects the
teeth. The back portion of each segment has a first arrangement in which the teeth
of that segment are a first distance from one another and a second arrangement in
which the teeth of that segment are a second distance from one another, the second
distance being smaller than the first distance. Each coil surrounds at least a portion
of one tooth, wherein all coils surrounding teeth of a single core segment are interconnected
to at least partially define one phase winding.
In another embodiment, the invention provides a stator
for an electric machine. The stator includes a plurality of stator portions that
are each movable between a first arrangement and a second arrangement. Each stator
portion includes a core segment having a back portion, a coil, and a first tooth
extending from the back portion and having a first tooth profile adapted to receive
the coil. The stator portion also includes a second tooth extending from the back
portion and having a second tooth profile and a third tooth extending from the back
portion and having a third tooth profile. The second tooth profile and the third
tooth profile are different from the first tooth profile. The second tooth are a
first distance from the first tooth when the core segment is in the first arrangement
and the second tooth is a second distance from the first tooth when the core segment
is in the second arrangement. The first distance is greater than the second distance.
The invention also provides a method of assembling a stator
for a multi-phase electric machine. The method includes forming a plurality of laminations
each having tooth portions and stacking the plurality of the laminations to define
a first core portion having a first tooth and a second tooth. The method also includes
positioning a first coil on the first tooth and a second coil on the second tooth
to at least partially define a stator segment. The first coil and the second coil
are electrically connected to at least partially define a first phase winding, The
method also includes bending the stator segment into an arcuate stator segment.
The invention further provides a method of assembling a
stator for an electric machine. The method includes forming a coil and forming a
core portion including a center tooth and left and right side teeth on opposite
sides of the center tooth. The method also includes placing the coil on the center
tooth and deforming the core portion so that the left side tooth and the right side
tooth retain the coil on the center tooth.
Other aspects and embodiments of the invention will become
apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying
figures in which:
- Fig. 1 is a schematic side view of a motor including a stator;
- Fig. 2 is a perspective schematic view of a stator including a plurality of
stator portions (modules) comprising core segments and coils;
- Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a stator portion (module);
- Fig. 3a is a perspective view of the stator portion (module) of Fig. 3 before
it is bent;
- Fig. 4 is a perspective view of a core of the stator of Fig. 2;
- Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a core segment of Fig. 3;
- Fig. 6 is a front view of a lamination suited for use in manufacturing the core
segment of Fig. 5;
- Fig. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 of Fig. 6;
- Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the stator segment of Fig. 5 positioned in one
possible bending device before bending;
- Fig. 9 is a perspective view of the stator segment of Fig. 5 positioned in one
possible bending device following bending;
- Fig. 10 is a front view of another lamination suited for use in producing a
- Fig. 11 is a front view of a core segment, without coils, produced using laminations
of Fig. 10 following bending;
- Fig. 12 is a front view of another lamination suited for use in producing a
- Fig. 13 is a front view of a core segment, without coils, produced using laminations
of Fig. 12 following bending;
- Fig. 14 is a front view of another lamination suited for use in producing a
- Fig. 14a is a front view of the lamination of Fig, 14 in a straight configuration;
- Fig. 15 is a front view of a core segment, without coils, produced using laminations
of Fig. 14 following bending;
- Fig. 16 is a perspective view of the core segment of Fig. 15 before inward bending
with a coil partially installed;
- Fig. 17 is a perspective view of the core segment of Fig. 15 with a coil installed
- Fig.18 is a schematic illustration of two core segments similar to those of
Fig. 17 before bending and showing the coil winding path;
- Fig. 19 is a schematic view of a stator including a plurality of core segments
similar to those of Fig. 17;
- Fig. 20 is a front view of two stator laminations of Fig. 10 arranged for forming
from a sheet of material;
- Fig. 21 is a front view of two stator laminations of Fig. 14 arranged for forming
from a sheet of material;
- Fig. 22 is a perspective view of a form including an end insulator portion and
slot insulating portions;
- Fig. 23 is an exploded perspective view including a portion of a stator core
and two forms of Fig. 22;
- Fig. 24 is an exploded perspective view including an unwound stator core and
two forms of Fig. 22;
- Fig. 25 is a schematic illustration of two stator portions (modules) electrically
connected to one another to define one phase of a motor;
- Fig. 26 is a schematic illustration of six stator portions (modules) connected
to one another to define a three phase motor stator;
- Fig. 27 is a schematic illustration of the three phase motor of Fig. 26 including
intermodule and external lead electrical connections;
- Fig. 28 is a schematic illustration of two stator portions (modules) before
bending connected to one another to define one phase of a motor, and
- Fig. 29 is a perspective view of a winder in the process of winding the stator
modules of Fig. 28.
Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in
detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application
to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the
following description or illustrated in the following figures. The invention is
capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various
ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein
is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use
of "including," "comprising," or "having" and variations thereof herein is meant
to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional
items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms "mounted," "connected,"
"supported," and "coupled" and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass
direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, "connected"
and "coupled" are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.
In addition, where a method, process, or listing of steps is provided, the order
in which the method, process, or listing of steps is presented should not be read
as limiting the invention in any way.
As illustrated in Fig. 1, a motor 10 generally includes
a rotor 15 disposed within a stator 20. The rotor 15 includes a rotor core 25 and
a shaft 30 that extends from one or both ends of the rotor core 25 to provide support
points and to provide a convenient shaft power take off point. Generally, two or
more bearings 35 engage the rotor shaft 30 and support the rotor 15 such that it
rotates about a rotational axis 40. The motor 10 also includes a housing 45 that
supports the stator 20. The stator 20 defines a substantially cylindrical aperture
55 that is centered on the rotational axis 40. When the rotor 15 is in its operating
position relative to the stator 20, the rotor core 25 is generally centered within
the aperture 55 such that a small air gap is established between the rotor core
25 and the stator 20. The air gap allows for relatively free rotation of the rotor
15 within the stator 20.
The motor 10 illustrated in Fig. 1 is a permanent magnet
brushless motor. As such, the rotor 15 includes permanent magnets that define two
or more magnetic poles. The stator 20 includes conductors (e.g., wire) forming one
or more phase windings that can be selectively energized to produce a varying magnetic
field. The permanent magnets of the rotor 15 interact with the varying magnetic
field of the stator 20 to produce rotor rotation. As one of ordinary skill will
realize, the present invention is suited for other types of electric motors (e.g.,
induction motors, variable reluctance motors) and other arrangements of motors (e.g.,
outer-rotor motors). As such, the invention should not be limited to the permanent
magnet brushless motors illustrated herein. Furthermore, one of ordinary skill will
realize that the present invention can also be applied to many types of generators.
In addition, figures and description presented herein are directed to a stator and/or
a motor. However, many of the features described and illustrated could be applied
to wound rotors. Thus, while the figures and description refer to a brushless motor
and/or a stator, other applications are possible.
Fig. 2 illustrates one possible stator 60 that is suitable
for use with the motor of Fig. 1. The stator 60 includes a core 65, a plurality
of coils 70, and a series of electrical leads 75 that interconnect the various coils
70 and extend to a power connection point. Before proceeding it should be noted
that the coils illustrated herein are shown schematically as blocks. As one of ordinary
skill in the art will realize, the actual coils generally include a conductor that
is repeatedly wrapped into a coil shape that generally occupies the space illustrated
by the blocks.
The stator 60 includes a plurality of stator portions (modules)
80 that connect to adjacent stator portions 80 to define a closed, generally circular,
shape centered on the rotational axis 40 of the rotor 25. The stator portions 80
are arranged to define the stator aperture 55, which receives the rotor 25 for rotation.
The construction illustrated in Fig. 2 includes six stator portions 80, though other
constructions may be possible employing fewer or more stator portions 80. Each of
the six stator portions 80 is substantially similar to the stator portion 80 illustrated
in Figs. 2, 3 and 3a.
Fig. 4 better illustrates the core 65. As can be seen,
the core 65 includes six core segments 90 with each core segment 90 connected to
two adjacent core segments 90 to define the closed, substantially circular, shape
of the completed core 65.
With reference to Fig. 5, one core segment 90 of the core
65 of Fig. 4 is illustrated. Each core segment 90 includes a back (or yoke) portion
95 defining an inner surface 96 and an outer surface 97, and three teeth 100 that
extend radially inward from the back portion 95. Each tooth 100 includes a coil-receiving
portion 105 and a base 110 positioned at the innermost end of the coil-receiving
portion 105. The coil-receiving portion 105 is sized and shaped to receive and support
a coil 70, shown in Fig. 3, that may be positioned around the particular tooth 100.
The base 110 is generally wider than the coil-receiving portion 105 such that the
base 110 retains the coil 70 and inhibits unwanted movement of the coil 70. In addition,
the wide base 110 aids in spreading the magnetic field generated when the coil 70
is energized, which reduces cogging and/or ripple torque during motor operation.
In some constructions, channels or grooves (such as those illustrated in Figs. 10-13)
are formed in the base portions of the teeth to further reduce cogging and/or ripple
Referring back to Fig. 5, each tooth 100 cooperates with
the adjacent teeth 100 to define a space or slot 115 between the teeth. Thus, each
tooth 100 at least partially defines two slots 115. Each slot 115 may receive one
or more sides of coils 70.
The back portion 95 is a substantially curved rectangular
portion that provides support for the teeth 100 of the core segment 90 and provides
a path for the magnetic field in the stator core. The back portion 95 also defines
a male locking member 120 positioned at a first end 125 of the back portion 95 and
a female locking portion 130 positioned at a second end 135 of the back portion
95. In the illustrated construction, the male locking member 120 includes a substantially
semi-circular protrusion that extends along the full axial length of the core segment
90. The female locking portion 130 includes a substantially semi-circular channel
that extends along the full axial length of the core segment 90 and is sized and
shaped to receive the male locking member 120 of an adjacent core segment 90. As
one of ordinary skill in the art will realize, many other shapes can be employed
as male locking members 120 and female locking portions 130, For example, another
construction employs a male locking member that includes a substantially circular
portion that connects to the rectangular portion via a narrow neck portion. The
female locking portion is similarly shaped such that when the components of adjacent
core segments 90 interlock, the adjacent core segments 90 are inhibited from pulling
away from one another. Still other constructions may employ other shapes such as,
but are not limited to, dovetails, fir trees, T-shapes, L-shapes, and the like.
It is also envisioned that one or more of the locking portions do not need to extend
the full axial length of the core segment 90. Other constructions of the core portions
do not include locking members and use for example fixtures for aligning the core
portions and fastening them.
Core segments 90 can be manufactured by stacking a plurality
of similar laminations on top of one another. Fig. 6 illustrates one possible lamination
135 that is suited for use in manufacturing the core segment 90 of Fig. 5 but that
does not correspond to the final desired shape. The lamination 135 includes three
teeth 140, a rectangular portion 145, and two axial alignment members 150. Each
of the three teeth 140 is shaped to substantially match the profile of the teeth
100 of the core segment 90 of Fig. 5. The teeth 140 are spaced apart from one another
a first distance 151 as measured from the centers of each tooth 140 near the end
of the base. Of course other laminations may include fewer or more teeth 140 as
long as the number of teeth 140 corresponds with the number of teeth 100 desired
in the final core segment 90 to be manufactured from the laminations 135.
The rectangular portion 145 includes an inner surface 155
from which the three teeth 140 extend, a first short end 160 that defines a tab
165, a second short end 170 that defines a recess 175, and a long outer surface
180 opposite the inner surface 155. The tab 165 substantially matches the cross-sectional
shape of the male locking member 120 and the recess 175 substantially matches the
cross-section of the female locking portion 130. The inner surface 155 defines two
inner slots 185 that are substantially V-shaped and with the opening towards the
surface 155. The slots 185 are preferably positioned between the teeth 140 with
other positions being possible. While the slots 185 are illustrated as being V-shaped,
other shapes and arrangements are possible. In addition, while one slot 185 between
each pair of teeth 140 is illustrated, other constructions may employ multiple slots
185 between each pair of teeth 140. Still other constructions may employ more or
fewer slots 185 extending from the inner surface 155 and/or slots having different
arrangements than those illustrated.
The outer surface 180 defines three outer slots 190 that
are substantially aligned with the three teeth 140 disposed along the inner surface
155. The outer slots 190 include a narrow channel portion 195 and a circular bore
portion 200. The narrow channel portion 195 extends from the outer surface 180 to
the circular bore portion 200. As with the inner slots 185, other slot arrangements
are possible to allow and enhance bending of the type shown in Fig.5. In addition,
there is no requirement that there be three slots 190 or that the slots 190 align
with the teeth 140. As such, other constructions may employ more or fewer outer
slots 190 and/or slots having different arrangements than those illustrated.
Fig. 6 illustrates the lamination 135 as including two
axial alignment members 150. Each axial alignment member 150 is substantially rectangular
and defines a protrusion 205 on one side of the lamination 135 and an indentation
210 on the opposite side of the lamination 135, as illustrated in Fig. 7. Each protrusion
205 is sized to fit within the indentation 210 of an adjacent lamination 135. Thus,
as the laminations 135 are stacked on top of each other, the axial alignment members
150 assure the desired alignment. While the illustrated construction includes two
rectangular axial alignment members 150, other constructions may use one or more
than two alignment members 150. In addition, other shapes (e.g., circles, ovals,
ellipses, triangles, polygonal shapes, irregular shapes, etc.) are also possible
and contemplated by the present invention. In other constructions, fasteners of
pins may pass through some or all of the laminations 135 to align them as desired.
In still other constructions, no alignment members are employed. Rather, the laminations
135 are stacked in a die that maintains the desired alignment.
In most constructions, the laminations 135 are stamped
from an electrical grade steel. A single die or a progressive die may be employed
in the stamping process to achieve the desired shape and accuracy for the laminations
135. When a stamping process is employed, the axial alignment members 150 can be
formed simultaneously with the lamination 135, Of course other constructions may
form the axial alignment members 150 after the lamination 135 outline is completed.
In still other constructions, the laminations 135 are cut using any common cutting
process including, but not limited to water-jet cutting, EDM, laser cutting, plasma
cutting, and the like. In yet other constructions, combined tools, known to those
skilled in the art, are employed to stamp the laminations 135 and stack and fasten
them using for alignment and axial inter-locking the members 150.
To manufacture the stator 60 of Fig. 2, a plurality of
the laminations 135 of Fig. 6 are first formed. The laminations 135 are then stacked
on top of one another until they reach a desired axial length. As the laminations
135 are stacked, the protrusions 205 of each of the laminations 135 (with the exception
of one of the end laminations) engage the depressions 210 of the adjacent lamination
135 to assure the desired alignment. The use of laminations 135 improves motor performance
and efficiency and allows for the simple variation of stator length simply by adding
or removing laminations 135 from the stack. As discussed, the laminations 135 may
be attached to one another using a fastener, clamp, adhesive, welding, keying, or
cleating, and the like if desired.
In some constructions, the completed stack of laminations
135 is bent, rolled, or otherwise deformed to produce the core segment 90 illustrated
in Fig. 5. Fig. 8 illustrates one possible device 215 that functions to roll the
stack of laminations 135 into the shape of the core segment 90. The device 215 includes
two arm members 220 and a semi-circular guide 225. Each arm 220 includes a guide
portion 230 that engages the outer surface 97 of the back portion 95 such that the
base 110 of the center tooth 100 contacts the semi-circular guide 225. As illustrated
in Fig. 9, as the arms 220 open, the guide portion 230 forces the outer most teeth
100 toward the semi-circular portion 225, As the core segment 90 bends, the inner
slots 185 close and the outer slots 190 open. In addition, the space between the
teeth 115 narrows such that adjacent teeth 100 are a second distance 231 from one
another (shown in Fig. 5), the second distance 231 being smaller than the first
distance 151 (shown in Fig. 6). The arrangement (including size, position, and quantity)
of the slots 185 and 190 inhibits buckling near the inner surface 96 and tearing
or cracking near the outer surface 97 as the core segment 90 is bent.
Grenerally, the semicircular portion 225 is slightly smaller
than the desired final diameter to accommodate any spring back that may occur. Thus,
Figs. 8 and 9 illustrate one possible device 215 that may be employed to form the
core segments 90. As one of ordinary skill in the art will realize, other different
devices and methods exist that are capable of performing the same function.
If not attached to one another before bending, the laminations
135 of the now bent core segments 90 may be attached to one another using any common
process (e.g., a fastener, clamp, adhesive, welding, keying, cleating, and the like).
Coils 70 are then wound around the teeth 100 as required for the particular device
being manufactured (e.g., single phase motor, multi-phase motor, single layer winding,
double layer winding, etc.). After the windings are positioned as illustrated in
Fig. 3, the stator portions 80 are arranged in a circle such that the male attachment
member 120 engages the female attachment portion 130, thus interlocking the different
stator portions 80 as illustrated in Fig. 2. The leads 75 from each coil 70 are
then connected as required to complete the stator 60 and allow for proper operation
of the motor 10.
Some constructions may also injection mold plastic or another
material around the stator 60 to seal and insulate the stator 60, to provide support
for the assembled components (see for example Fig. 19), and/or to reduce vibration
and noise. In addition to common plastic materials, materials with magnetic properties,
such as a ferromagnetic resin, can be used to reduce mmf (magnetomotive force) drop,
dampen vibrations, and/or reduce noise.
Before proceeding, it should be noted that other constructions
may position coils 70 around the teeth 100 before the core segment 90 is bent as
shown in Fig. 3a. Such a procedure allows for easier access between the teeth 100
and a higher slot fill factor and may be advantageous for some motors. The stator
segment 90 is then bent as discussed with regard to the construction of Fig. 3.
As such, the invention should not be limited to the order of construction illustrated
and discussed herein.
As mentioned, other constructions may employ differently
shaped laminations to form core segments like the core segment 90. Fig. 10 illustrates
a lamination 300 that is suited for manufacturing a core segment 305 similar to
that illustrated in Fig. 5. The lamination 300 of Fig. 10 includes three teeth 310
and a back portion 315 that defines an inner surface 320 and an outer surface 325.
Teeth 310 include a coil-receiving portion 321 and a base 322 positioned at the
innermost end of the coil-receiving portion 321, The base 322 also includes two
grooves 323 at the inner most surface.
The back portion 315 is thickest adjacent each tooth 310
and narrows to a narrow point between two adjacent teeth 310. Inner slots 330 are
formed on both sides of, and immediately adjacent to the teeth 310. The inner slots
330 include a substantially V-shaped portion 335 that ends in a circular portion
340 at the vertex of the V-shaped portion 335. Outer slots 345 extend inwardly from
the outer surface 325 and are substantially aligned with the teeth 310. The outer
slots 345 are generally narrow slits that are radiused at their ends. As with the
inner slots 185 and outer slots 190 of Figs. 4-6, the slots 330 and 345 of Figs.
10 and 11 can be shaped differently than illustrated or positioned differently.
In addition, more or fewer slots 330 and 345 may be employed as necessary. For example,
a stator that includes more stator portions 80 than illustrated herein may require
fewer slots 185, 190, 330, 345 than a stator with more stator portions, as each
stator portion 80 is bent to a larger curvature arc. As such, the position, shape,
and quantity of the slots 185, 190, 330, or 345 are largely a manufacturing function
and can vary.
The outer surface 325 of the back portion 315 of Fig. 10
also includes a plurality of bumps 350 that extend outwardly. The bumps 350 are
substantially arcuate and are generally aligned with the inner slots 330. The positioning
of the bumps 350 provides additional material adjacent the inner slots 330, thus
improving the strength of the back portion 315 in these areas. In addition, the
additional material provides a larger flow path for magnetic flux, thereby improving
motor performance and efficiency. In constructions that injection mold plastic around
the completed stator, the bumps 350 can be used to support pins that further aid
in the injection molding process.
Fig. 11 illustrates the core segment 305 manufactured from
the lamination 300 of Fig. 10. The laminations 300 of Fig. 10 are stacked and can
be bent in much the same manner as was discussed with regard to Figs. 5-6 and 8-9.
When bent into the final shape, adjacent teeth 310 move closer to one another, the
inner slots 330 move toward a closed position, and the outer slots 345 open. As
with the prior construction, coils 70, shown in Fig. 3, can be wound around the
teeth 310 before or after the core segment 305 is bent.
Fig. 12 illustrates yet another arrangement for a lamination
400 that is suitable for use in construction of a core segment 405. The lamination
400 of Fig. 12 is similar to the lamination 300 of Fig. 10, but lamination 400 does
not include outer slots 345. In addition, the lamination 400 does not include bumps
opposite the inner slots, but rather includes bumps 410 on an outer surface 415
disposed substantially between teeth 420, The bumps 410 provide additional thickness
to a back portion 425 such that the central part between adjacent teeth 420 is not
the narrowest part of the back portion 425. An inner surface 430 defines inner slots
435 on both sides of, and immediately adjacent the teeth 420. The inner slots 435
include a substantially V-shaped portion 440 that ends in a circular portion 345
at the vertex of the V-shaped portion 440. Each tooth 420 includes a coil-receiving
portion 450 and a base 455 positioned at the innermost end of the coil-receiving
portion 450. The base 455 also includes two grooves 460 at the inner most surface.
In constructions that injection mold plastic around the completed stator, the bumps
410 can be used to support pins that further aid in the injection molding process.
Fig. 13 illustrates the core segment 405 formed using the
lamination 400 of Fig. 12 in a bent condition. As can be seen, the core segment
405 manufactured using the laminations 400 bends in much the same manner as the
core segment 305 illustrated in Fig. 11.
In another construction, illustrated in Figs. 14-17, a
lamination 500 includes a center tooth 505 having a substantially rectangular tooth
profile and two side teeth 510, 511 having a substantially L-shaped tooth profile.
Before proceeding, it should be noted that the use of the term "center tooth" should
not be read as requiring the tooth to be centered on the lamination. Rather, the
term should be interpreted as requiring only that the center tooth 505 be positioned
between the two side teeth 510, 511. A back portion 515 includes an outer surface
520 and an inner surface 525 that supports the three teeth 505, 510, 511 such that
the center tooth 505 is approximately centered on the back portion 515, the first
of the side teeth 510 is positioned on a first side of the back portion 515 and
includes a tooth tip 530 that extends toward the center tooth 505, and the second
of the side teeth 511 is positioned on a second side opposite the first side of
the back portion 515 and includes a tooth tip 535 that extends toward the center
tooth 505. The back portion 515 defines two small inner slots 540 and two large
inner slots 545. The small inner slots 540 are positioned adjacent to the center
tooth 505 and include a substantially V-shaped portion 550 with a circular aperture
555 at the vertex of the V-shaped portion 550. The large inner slots 545 are similar
to the small inner slots 540 in that they include a V-shaped portion 560 and a circular
portion 565 at the vertex of the V-shaped portion 560. However, the large inner
slots 545 are larger (i.e., extend further into the back portion 515) than the small
inner slots 540. The large inner slots 545 are disposed in the spaces between the
center tooth 505 and the two side teeth 510 and 511.
The outer surface 520 of the back portion 515 includes
an outer slot 570 positioned opposite the center tooth 505. The outer slot 570 includes
two substantially parallel edges 575 that terminate at a circular aperture 580.
The outer surface 520 also defines two small notches 585 positioned opposite the
large inner slots 545. In addition to the notches 585, the laminations 500 of Fig.
14, as well as any other laminations discussed herein, may include one or more axial
alignment members 150 similar to those discussed with regard to Fig. 6.
The back portion 515 may also include locking members such
as a locking tab 590 and a locking aperture 595. Like prior constructions, the laminations
500 are stacked to define a core segment 600 illustrated in Fig. 15. When stacked,
the locking tabs 590 cooperate to define a male locking member 605 and the locking
apertures 595 cooperate to define a female locking portion 610.
In preferred constructions, the laminations 500 of Fig.
14 are punched from a sheet or strip of material. In one construction, the laminations
500 are punched in the arrangement illustrated in Fig. 14a. When oriented in this
manner, the different laminations 500 can be nested within one another, as illustrated
in Fig, 21, thus reducing the amount of material wasted. The laminations 500 are
then stacked and then bent outward such that they appear as illustrated in Fig.
14. In other constructions, the laminations 500 are bent first and then stacked.
After the laminations 500, or core segment 600, are bent outward, they are in a
position that allows for the easy installation of a winding 70. After the winding
70 is installed, the core segment 600 can be bent to the shape illustrated in Fig.
The core segment 600 is then bent to the desired diameter
and mated with other core segments 600 to define a core similar to the core 65 illustrated
in Fig. 4. As the core segment 600 is bent, the small V-shaped slots 540 and the
large V-shaped slots 545 move toward a closed position. Thus, the V-shaped slots
540 and 545 are sized based at least partially on the desired final diameter of
the core. The outer slot 570 and the two small notches 585 open during the bending
process to inhibit cracking and reduce stress.
The core segment 600 illustrated in Fig. 15 is well suited
for use in a stator that includes coils 70 only around teeth 505. In such a construction,
the coil 70 can be manufactured separate from the core segment 600 and installed
before the core segment 600 is bent. Fig. 16 illustrates a coil 70 (schematically
illustrated as a block) sliding over the center tooth 505 to form a stator portion
625. With the stator portion 625 in the unbent position, the space between the side
teeth 510 and the center tooth 505 is large enough to allow for the passage of the
completed coil 70, thus eliminating the need for any on-tooth winding.
The stator portion 625 is then bent as illustrated in Fig.
17 such that the tooth tips 530, 535 of the side teeth 510, 511 cover a portion
of the coil 70 and inhibit unwanted movement of the coil 70 as well as enhance the
electromagnetic performance of the construction. Of course, other constructions
could employ other tooth shapes if desired. However, constructions that employ non-rectangular
center teeth will generally need coils 70 wound directly onto the tooth.
Fig. 18 illustrates a wound phase 630 that includes stator
portions 635 similar to the stator portion 625 illustrated in Fig. 17 with the exception
that a central tooth 640 of each stator portion 635 is not rectangular, The wound
phase 630 includes three separate stator portions 635 that each receives a coil
637. The wound phase 630 includes conductors 645 that extend between the adjacent
stator portions 635 to complete the circuit, Thus, the arrangement of Fig. 18 can
be wound using a single continuous conductor.
To manufacture a three-phase stator 650 as illustrated
in Fig. 19, nine stator portions 635a-635i are arranged to define three wound phases
630a, 630b, 630c as illustrated in Fig. 18. Initially, the stator portions 635 of
the three wound phases 630 are bent to the proper diameter as discussed. As illustrated
in Fig. 19, the first stator portion 635d of the second wound phase 630b is positioned
adjacent the first stator portion 635a of the first wound phase 630a. The first
stator portion 635g of the third wound phase 630c is then positioned adjacent the
first stator portion 635d of the second wound phase 630b. This sequence is repeated
until all of the stator portions 635a-635i are positioned. The long wires 645 (only
wound phase 630a shown) extend between adjacent stator portions 635 of a wound phase
630 to maintain the proper electrical connection and eliminate the need to break
and reconnect wires within the stator 650. Once the stator portions 635 are positioned,
a layer of plastic 655 or another material may be formed (e.g., injection molded)
around the components to hold them in place and substantially seal the stator 650.
The plastic may also be formed in the slots (plastic numbered 656 in Fig. 19) in
the spaces between the coils and the core in order to further enhance the mechanical,
thermal and electromagnetic performance of the stator. The illustrated construction
is a three-phase stator with 18-slots and a single layer winding with coils wound
around ever other tooth. Such a stator is suitable to be used, for example, in conjunction
with a 12-pole magnetic rotor to operate as a brushless PM motor. Of course other
arrangements could be employed to provide fewer or more poles or fewer phases if
desired. For example, in a single-phase construction the total number of coils employed
would be an even number and the coils would be interconnected with a single continuous
The illustrated core segments may allow for a reduction
in the amount of material required to manufacture a predetermined quantity of laminations.
Rather than forming laminations in a complete circular pattern, the present arrangement
allows for multiple laminations to be arranged such that the teeth of the laminations
are interdigitated with one another as illustrated in Figs. 20 and 21, thereby reducing
the amount of scrap material produced during manufacture. Fig. 20 illustrates an
arrangement for laminations 300 and Fig. 21 illustrates a similar arrangement for
laminations 500. Of course, other constructions could use arrangements of laminations
that are formed in their final shape, and thus require no bending. However, these
arrangements will generally produce more material waste than will the use of substantially
straight laminations that are later bent to a final curved shape.
In some constructions, coils 70 are wound onto the teeth
100, 310, 420, 505, prior to bending using a winder 659 similar to that shown in
Fig. 29. The increased space between the teeth 100, 310, 420, 505, at this point
in manufacturing, allows for the use of simpler equipment such as bobbin winders
(with or without movable heads), rather than more expensive needle winders. In addition,
a denser winding can be positioned within the enlarged space, thereby increasing
the fill factor of the motor. The increased fill factor produces a higher specific
torque output and/or improves motor efficiency.
In addition, constructions that position more than one
tooth on each core segment can improve mechanical strength and roundness in comparison
to prior-art constructions that employ only a single tooth in each core segment.
In addition, the reduced number of discontinuities in the back portion (at the connection
between adjacent core segments or stator portions) reduces the number of parts and
thus the time required to assemble the motor 10 and also provides a better magnetic
flux path, The flux path in the referred core segments can reduce the mmf drop of
the back portion and increase the motor efficiency.
In some constructions, each coil 70 of a stator portion
is interconnected with the other coils 70 of that stator portion to at least partially
define a phase winding. Such an arrangement allows for the use of a single continuous
conductor to form each coil in a given stator portion. This reduces the number of
breaks and connections in the motor, thereby improving motor performance, manufacturability
As discussed with regard to Figs. 6 and 7, some stator
constructions do not require alignment members to align the adjacent laminations,
One such stator 660 is illustrated in Fig. 24 (with windings omitted for clarity).
The stator 660 includes a core 665, a first form 670, and a second form 675. Fig.
22 illustrates the first form as being shaped to receive the core 665. The form
670 includes an annular end insulator portion 680 and a plurality of slot insulator
portions 685. Laminations, either partial as shown in Fig. 23, or complete circular
laminations as shown in Fig. 24 fit within the form 670 such that the back portion
of the lamination rests on the end insulator portion 680 and the tooth portions
fit between the slot portions 685. Thus, the form 670 holds the laminations in the
proper orientation and no alignment members are required. Of course, constructions
that also employ alignment members could be employed if desired. In preferred constructions,
the first form 670 is manufactured from a dielectric material such as injection
molded plastic, with other electrically insulating materials also being suitable
It should also be noted that while the core 665 has been
described as being formed from a plurality of stacked laminations, other constructions
may employ other methods or materials to form the core 665. For example, some constructions
use a powdered metal or a soft magnetic composite to form the entire core 665 or
to form pieces that are then fit and held together by the form to define the core
665. As such, the invention should not be limited to cores 665 that employ laminations.
To assemble the stator 660 using the form 670 of Fig, 22,
laminations are stacked in each of the first form 670 and the second form 675. In
most constructions, the first form 670 and the second form 675 are similar to one
another. Of course, other constructions could employ forms that are different from
one another and/or are different from the forms 670, 675 illustrated herein. Generally,
the slot portions 685 of each form 670, 675 have a length that is equal to about
one-half the core length of the stator 660. Of course, other constructions could
vary the slot length of each form 670, 675 so long as the two lengths add up to
a length approximately equal to the core length. Once the two forms 670, 675 are
filled, they are attached to one another (e.g., welded, glued using an adhesive,
fasteners, etc.). In some constructions, fasteners pass through the forms 670, 675
and the laminations to hold the components together. In other constructions, adhesives
or other attachment methods are employed. Once attached, the coils of the core 660
can be wound as desired. In some constructions, the attachment system used to attach
the forms 670, 675 and core 665 is temporary. For example, one construction uses
bolts that pass through the forms 670, 675 and core 665. After the coils are wound,
the fasteners are removed and the windings themselves hold the various components
together, or other supplementary means of holding, such as a welding the stator
portions, a stator housing (frame) or plastic overmolding, are employed.
In other constructions, core segments 690 (Fig. 23), or
an entire core 665 (Fig. 24) is first assembled and then inserted into one of the
forms 670. The second form 675 is then positioned over the portion of the core 665
that extends above the first form 670 to complete the unwound stator 660. In constructions
that insert stator portions 690, each stator portion 690 would be inserted and interlocked
with the adjacent stator portions 690 as has been described.
Constructions that use forms 670, 675 eliminate the need
for alignment members on each lamination. In addition, the forms 670, 675 can be
manufactured to completely surround the core 660, thus eliminating the need for
components such as slot liners and end insulators. Thus, the use of forms 670, 675
can greatly simplify the manufacturing process by eliminating several components
Figs. 25-28 illustrate, following the conventions known
to those skilled in the art, the direction of the conductors associated with the
coil sides placed in the slots. In the construction shown in Fig. 28, the coil positioned
on a tooth is wound in one direction and the coil positioned on an adjacent tooth
of the same core portion is wound, using the same single continuous wire conductor,
in an opposite direction so that the electric current in all the conductors placed
in a particular slot and belonging to the same phase flows in the same axial direction.
In another construction, all the coils are wound in the same direction with each
using a different wire. A supplementary operation is then required to electrically
connect the end leads of the coils so that the electric current in all the conductors
placed in a particular slot and belonging to the same phase flows in the same direction.
While Figs. 25-28 have been used to illustrate a winding procedure in which a single
continuous conductor is used, one of ordinary skill in the art will realize that
this procedure could be employed with any construction discussed herein as well
as with other constructions. For example, this procedure could be employed with
core portions that include only two teeth or more than three teeth.
The constructions illustrated herein are suitable for use
in producing stators for use in electric motors, generators, or other electric machines.
In addition, the invention illustrated herein can be used to produce single phase
or polyphase, e.g. three phase, electric machines. Furthermore, the stator illustrated
herein can be employed in AC or DC electric machines as well as electric machines
with single layer or double layer windings.
Figs. 25-28 illustrate winding and wiring arrangements
suitable for use with the invention described herein. Fig. 25 is similar to Fig.
18 in that it illustrates two core segments 690 that are electrically connected
to define one of the phases of the stator. A long conductor (e.g., wire) 695 extends
between the two core segments 690 to allow the core segments 690 to be spaced apart
from one another while still using a single continuous conductor to define the windings
of the phase. Figs. 26 and 27 illustrate the winding and wiring for a complete three-phase
stator 700 with 18-slots and a double layer winding with coils wound around every
tooth. Such a stator is suitable to be used, for example, in conjunction with a
16-pole magnetic rotor to operate as a brushless PM motor. Three separate but continuous
conductors 705a, 705b, 705c can be used to produce the stator 700, thus eliminating
any breaks or internal connections within the stator 700. A further advantage of
the poly-phase construction is that stator portions 80 can be economically manufactured
using a spool winder 659 with a single needle 802, as schematically shown in Fig.
It should be noted that while the core portions and stator
segments illustrated herein include three teeth, other constructions may include
only two teeth or more than four teeth. As such, the invention should not be limited
to constructions employing three teeth. Furthermore, there is no relationship between
the number of teeth in the core portions and the stator segments and the number
of phases in the completed stator. For example, a three-phase stator may be manufactured
using stator segments that include four teeth if desired.
Thus, the invention provides, among other things, a new
and useful stator for an electric motor. The constructions of the stator and the
methods of manufacturing the stator described herein and illustrated in the figures
are presented by way of example only and are not intended as a limitation upon the
concepts and principles of the invention. Various features and advantages of the
invention are set forth in the following claims.