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The new HiflexDRIVE from Bauer – the flexible, efficient and clean drive solution

Geared motors have offered solutions to a number of challenges in a variety of industrial sectors for many years, and now, with ever increasing pressure to improve efficiency and reduce costs, more innovative and flexible solutions are being created. At the forefront is Bauer Gear Motor, which has already created a super premium efficiency (IE4) permanent magnet motor, and is now offering high efficiency geared solutions that can operate reliably in hygienic environments, where regular washdowns are a necessity.

Bauer HiflexDrive Grouping

The HiflexDRIVE range from Bauer is available in a standard, painted configuration or in aseptic and stainless steel versions.

The latest HiflexDRIVE range from Bauer offers a modular system that combines the excellent efficiency of the IE4 permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) with the compact dimensions of the BK17 gearbox. The package is available in a standard, painted configuration for conventional applications, or in aseptic and stainless steel versions that are specifically designed to operate in hygienic environments.

Ideally suited to conveyor applications, the HiflexDRIVE solution offers many advantages in terms of performance, reliability and flexibility. However, the special hygiene demands of industries such as pharmaceuticals and food & beverage, demand specialist components that typically have to be specified to withstand the regular cleaning regimes and provide clean operation without risk of contamination.

Hygienic quality

The aseptic design caters specifically for applications where regular washdowns involving cleaning chemicals are required to maintain a hygienic environment. The motor is designed so that a fan and cooling ribs are not required, thereby allowing for a completely smooth outer casing with a non-drive end which is sealed. This eliminates any dirt traps on the motor casing and also prevents re-infection of the local environment caused by air movement from a cooling fan.

In addition, the aseptic drive is painted using an acid and alkali resistant formula, which can withstand chemicals with a pH range of 2 – 12. As a result the new drive system can withstand the cleansing solutions and disinfectants that are used within the food industry without affecting its performance.

The stainless steel variant is designed for similar hygienic applications which run the additional risk of mechanical damage. The motor design has a similarly sealed non-drive end and smooth casing to prevent any accumulation of dirt.

Both designs have a very high level of ingress protection, up to IP69K, which is a special designation for washdown applications involving high pressure, high temperature water. As a result the new drive system can withstand the cleansing solutions and disinfectants that are commonly used without affecting its performance.

Motor performance

Bauer, which is part of the Altra Industrial Motion group, has invested a considerable amount of design and development time into ensuring that its PMSM and drive packages deliver high efficiency performance on partial loads, a criticism that has been levelled at other high efficiency motor designs as the efficiency can drop-off sharply outside the ideal operating speed and load. Bauer’s PMSMs maintain high efficiency levels within a wide partial load range, up to a load factor of 1:5.

PMSMs offer considerably improved efficiency when compared to induction motors, especially under partial load conditions and have the added benefit of maintaining constant speed, independent of the load. This means that the motor speed does not vary - despite overload variations or cases of voltage drop - as long as the mains frequency is kept constant.

In order to save energy, permanent magnet motors are the most suitable drives in the following circumstances:

  • Where a genuine need exists for speed control.
  • Where there is considerable potential for reducing electricity consumption through lengthy operating times of motors especially under partial load operation.
  • Where the saved energy quickly offsets the investments for speed regulation mechanisms.
  • Where a standard asynchronous motor also requires an inverter (and thus results in additional costs) for speed regulation.

Bauer Gear Motor’s range of PMSM's already fulfill the requirements of the soon-to-be-implemented IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) classification. This is evidenced by their potential to achieve energy savings of up to 40% compared to an IE2 inverter-driven squirrel cage motor.

The PMSM series is an environmentally friendly range of motors, employing a highly efficient design of rotor that offers a number of key benefits. It reduces heat losses from the rotor by 100%, total losses by approximately 25%, and increases total efficiency by 10% or more – a significant advantage for stainless steel drives which dissipate heat less efficiently than aluminium or cast iron. For the PMSM user, this improved performance translates into lower total cost of ownership, a reduction in CO2 emissions, and ongoing savings that buffer against future increases in energy costs.

The HiflexDRIVE range brings together Bauer’s design and manufacturing expertise in both IE4 motors and high performance gearboxes to deliver a highly efficient, constant speed drive capable of performing in a wide range of commercial environments.