Skip to main content
blog | Issues to Consider when Operating a Motor in a Vacuum |
|
2 minute read

Vacuum ChamberQuestion: I need to operate a servo motor in a vacuum, what are some considerations?

Answer: In a word? Outgassing. You might think that proper motor sizing* is a big issue, it always is, however if you can't conform to the other process requirements, there is no point to attempting to size the motor.

The biggest issue for any given motor selection to be run in a given vacuum for a specific process is the outgassing requirement, or rather, the avoidance of materials that would affect the process being performed and/or the life of the motor.

Understanding the process requirements is the main key: level-of-vacuum, outgassing specifications and limitations, as well as expectations for the application (process and motor life.)

Outgassing example: Teflon lead-wire insulation has low outgassing properties but if used in a radiation environment will not survive as well as some other materials. In such case, Tefzel insulation may be a better material for the application. (It may not be better, you'll need to review its material information and compare it to other products.)

Or you may have bearing grease that has a low outgassing property that is good in a radiation environment, but it is not compatible for a typical semi-conductor manufacturing process.

Utilizing NASA class A requirements is a very good base-line from which to communicate between the OEM, customer, and motor's manufacturer. This standard can set the stage for 'same as except' changes for the individual application.

NASA's standard is: { < 1.0% TML (total mass loss), < 0.1% CVCM (collected volatile condensable materials)}

You will also have to consider all of the other materials and their potential effect on the application in the environment, whether of an organic source or not: varnishes, adhesives, coatings, resins, and solvents.

…..And don't forget the glue holding the nameplate on!

* Oh, and a quick word on motor sizing: In regard to proper motor sizing, calculated RMS torque requirements of the application for normal motor operation in standard atmosphere (like in a manufacturing plant) have been found to require a motor with a capability of 2.6-3 times that calculated RMS torque value when operating in a vacuum. One could compare this with the difference of current carrying capability of copper in normal atmosphere versus the current carrying capability of copper within the application vacuum.

Consult an Expert

AKMA Servo Motors

The lightweight AKMA servo motor is designed for harsh environments like food and beverage processing, and delivers performance and reliability.
Learn More

Engineer the Exceptional

Learn how to engineer exceptional machines, robots and vehicles with the highest-performing, most reliable motors, drives, automation solutions and more.

Learn More

Related Resources

Accelerating the Development of Next-Generation Prostheses and Exoskeletons >

Learn how Kollmorgen servo technology is helping OEMs accelerate the design of next-generation prostheses and exoskeletons.

From the Factory to the Farm: Unleashing the Power of Kollmorgen's Servo Motor Technology >

As smart automation increases farm productivity, there is a need for powerful, precise motors that can handle a wide range of heavy-duty tasks, day in and day out. But even the most advanced technology doesn’t change the basic nature of farming.

Stop, hold and go safely: Motion tuning for vertical loads >

When designing motion for applications such as vertical gantries and hoists, you need to take special care to ensure operator safety and operational efficiency. Let’s discuss best practices for meeting the particular challenges involved.

What are the Five Major Components of a Brushless Servo Motor >

Servo motors are used in numerous markets to power machines, instruments, robots, and other factory automation applications. This blog addresses five major elements of a conventional brushless DC servo motor: the rotor, stator, bearings, feedback and…
What is a closed-loop system?

What is a Closed-Loop System? >

When learning about servo motors and servo systems, you’re likely to encounter the phrase “closed-loop system.” If you’ve ever wondered what that means and how it works, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s step through some of the most common…
What is considered a low voltage motor?

What is Considered a Low Voltage Motor? >

The Low Voltage Directive defines low voltage from 50 – 1000 Vac, or 120 – 1500 Vdc, which is based on the mains voltage used to power the electrical system and ties in with specific IEC regulations on safety and risk of shock and arcing. When low…
Servo Motor Design Considerations for Hazardous Environments

Servo Motor Design Considerations for Hazardous Environments >

While servo motors and drives are prevalent in a wide variety of industrial applications, what should be considered when they operate in extreme or hazardous environments? In many cases, the motor itself operates in the extreme environment, while the…

What are the basic elements of a servo system? >

Working with motion control experts like Kollmorgen makes selecting a servo system easier and faster, resulting in an optimal system for the application.

How to Customize a Servo Motor - Standard vs Custom >

When and how to customize a standard servo motor depends on the predicted benefits derived from the customization that should include a solution tied to form, fit, and function. Learn more.