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Swiss ironless motor armature

Maxon Ironless Armature



A Swiss company based in Sachseln near Lucerne, making high-precision drive systems.  These motors can be used for a wide range of applications from high-tech medicine to robotics.  Maxon is now launching EC-max motors, a modular program of up to 120 Watt power, to offer its customers even more benefits for their projects.

Maxon EC-max motors are electronically commutated DC motors. Designed as internal motors, their shafts turn with no detent thanks to an ironless winding. The worldwide patented winding, System maxon, offers even more benefits, such as high dynamism, low inductance, high efficiency and extreme reliability.

This robust product family features five motor sizes with diameters of 16, 22, 30, 35 and 40 mm. Each motor type is available in two lengths, a short or a long one which is almost twice as powerful. The motor can be combined with a gearhead, encoder and/or brakes depending on the application. Given that motors have several types of winding, gearheads have several reduction ratios and encoders have a wide range of pulses, the variety of combinations is an astonishing 10,000 or more.


Maxon Motor AG specializes in the development, manufacturing and sales of high quality drive components and systems under the trade mark maxon motor. The company's newly established manufacturing facility in the heart of Switzerland features the most modern equipment. All key components are manufactured in-house with custom design machinery.  Their key technologies are three winding processes, motor manufacture and gearhead production as well as the application of high-tech ceramics and magnetic encoder components. 


Maxon motor and gearbox for the SolarNavigator model

Maxon dc motor - 2:1 reduction & coupling - Solar Navigator 1/20 drivetrain



It is a measure of Maxon Motor UK's success that much larger premises have become necessary within just three years of being established as UK subsidiary of the Swiss-based company.  This is well ahead of the anticipated growth schedule.  The new address, Maxon House, is still on Hogwood Lane in Finchampstead, Berkshire, but has 1137m2 of workspace - almost three times the size of the original premises.

Acknowledged as a leading manufacturer of precision electric motors and drives, Maxon Motor products are to be found in just about every application imaginable.  From the new premises Maxon Motor UK will be better placed to deliver the expanding and seemingly endless range for which the company enjoys an unrivalled reputation.  Keith Ellenden, CEO of Maxon Motor UK, says: "This success is especially satisfying because it has been achieved in a tough economic climate.

Key factors have been the depth of range that offers a good choice for each application, reliability.  Maxon's engineers are recognised as some of the most knowledgeable in the industry.

Working closely with customers' design teams, they ensure the optimum solution to any problem whether by pinpointing the perfect 'off-the-shelf' motor or by designing a tailor-made product exclusive to the application.


Maxon motor provided 39 miniature motors for two new Mars rovers, sent to the Red planet in 2003.  The motors, which are just 20 millimetres in diameter, have a long life expectancy and are designed to withstand the extreme temperatures they will encounter on Mars.

“We build motors which are very light, can withstand extremes and are very efficient,” Chief Executive Jürgen Meyer told swissinfo.  “They are twice as efficient as a normal motor. They will be able to cope with the temperatures which can be as low as minus 100 degrees Celsius.”  Maxon has been collaborating with the Mars missions since 1992 when Nasa asked the company to supply motors for the Sojourner mission. Eleven Maxon motors were used in the 1997 Sojourner rover. The new rovers are larger and will have 39 motors, each costing about SFr200 ($118).

Mars rover robot explorer

NASA Mars Rover

The new rovers will have far greater mobility than their 1997 predecessor and will be able to travel about 100 metres each Martian day (which is 41 minutes longer than an Earth day).  Each robot will carry a sophisticated set of instruments, which will analyse rocks and soil to explore Mars’ climate history and search for signs of water and life. Surface operations will continue for at least 90 Martian days.

The machines will be identical to each other but will land on different regions of Mars. To make a safe landing, a supersonic parachute will slow their descent. Then airbags will inflate around the craft at about 300 metres above the Martian surface.  The first Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft was scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in June 2003. It will enter the Martian atmosphere in January 2004. The second craft will soon follow.

Over the years, Maxon has supplied about 3,000 motors for a variety of Nasa projects.  Maxon builds micro-motors between six and 90 millimetres in diameter for a wide range of high tech and high precision products. The company, founded in 1961, has 1,200 employees in Switzerland and abroad.

More information:

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Maxon Motor UK

Maxon House,  Hogwood Lane
Finchampstead,  Berkshire
RG40 4RF  United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 118 973 3337    Fax: +44 118 973 7472
Visit the Maxon Motor UK website

News releases on Engineeringtalk:

 Miniaturisation, power, precision and reliability

(14 January 2003)
The latest response from Maxon Motor to demands for ever-greater miniaturisation is a motor the size of a pencil tip.

Maxon Motor moves upwards

(20 August 2002)
In distance, Maxon Motor UK may only have moved about half a mile, but in terms of achievement, that change of premises represents a massive leap forward.

Robot arm aims to reach the unreachable

(12 April 2002)
 User application article  A novel snake arm robot developed by OC Robotics uses as many as 60 miniature motors to provide freedom of motion.

Larger 250W design from precision motor specialist

(26 April 2001)
The new 250 Watt RE 75 - the biggest in the maxon motor RE series - has been developed for industrial use including machine tools and production machinery

Servo-amplifier range for 10 to 500 Watt DC motors

(13 March 2001)
Maxon Motor announces details of new servo-amplifier range for 10 to 500 Watt DC motors.

Beagle 2 Mars Lander at drives exhibition

(2 February 2001)
Manufacturers of some of the world's smallest and cleverest precision motors, Maxon Motor, are due to make a particularly cosmic impact at the Drives and Controls 2001 Exhibition this March.

Servo amp technology keeps price attractive

(29 August 2000)
Maxon motor has announced details of a new servo amplifier, the DES 50/5, based on a high efficiency signal processor with implemented monitoring and complete control algorithms

Largest catalogue of motors/gears/drives ever?

(4 August 2000)
Maxon Motor UK has completed what is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive catalogue of high precision gears and drives in the world.


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SolarNavigator autonomous robot boat, front elevation

End and Plan elevations of the SolarNavigator robot ship © design copyright 2012

Max Energy Ltd  (not to scale)

SolarNavigator autonomous robot boat, plan view


Solarnavigator is an Autonomous trimaran robot with an extremely 

efficient active hull. This ship is designed to comply with COLREGS and demonstrate the additional layer of safety that the Snav hard/software might offer to fleet operators and port controllers worldwide.








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