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Motion for Missiles: From Speed of Innovation to Speed of Production

National and global security challenges are on the rise, creating an increasing demand for rapid production of missiles and development of new designs. The worldwide market for rockets and missiles is projected to grow at over 6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next several years. The need for advanced new systems is particularly strong — for example, the market for hypersonic missiles is projected to grow at 7.4% CAGR.1

New missile programs often have multi-year design cycles, and many suppliers are now looking for partners that can help them dramatically reduce development time.

Frameless motors for precise actuation of control fins, sensor gimbals and other motion-critical subsystems must be designed to deliver the optimum torque and speed for each application; fit within an extremely confined installation envelope; and operate with absolute reliability despite the shocks, vibration and temperatures encountered in flight.

How can you meet these motion challenges on an accelerated design, development and production schedule? With many decades serving aerospace and defense customers, Kollmorgen has what it takes to help you launch a superior missile program on your timeline — or even faster than you may think is possible.

Expediting The Design Process

Here are three ways we can help you achieve a successful prototype and accelerate your time to market through a collaborative partnership between our engineers and yours.

1. Shorten the process with motion analysis and optimization tools

For missile fin actuation systems, your starting point is to determine the desired flight characteristics within the missile’s typical operating environment. Based on an understanding of the required speed and torque specifications, motion engineers can determine the motor’s base electromagnetic rotor and stator topology.

Once this topology has been defined, our analysis and optimization tools allow for rapid evaluation of the concept without the need to order materials, wait for deliveries and build iterative prototypes. Our advanced tools help ensure that you arrive at the ideal design — embodied in a working final prototype — much faster than would otherwise be possible.

2. Shorten the process with modular design

Missiles often require several iterations throughout the design process. Through modular design of control actuator systems (CAS), you gain the ability to optimize a particular motor or a particular electromagnetic control set to meet the requirements of any specific missile size and design. We can collaborate with you to bring prototypes to the field for testing faster, greatly accelerating the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of your project.

3. Shorten the testing process

After completing the prototyping and EMD phases, defense firms often wait until they have a contract in hand, but the contract may depend on the length of time required to test the design and provide assurance that it’s ready to be deployed in the field. Testing for shock and vibration, salt spray, humidity, thermal shock and other environmental conditions is done through a UL Certified lab.

​Kollmorgen delivers motors that are ready to pass these tests and helps ensure the testing is performed in a timely manner. We provide confidence that your motion solution will work reliably in the necessary environments, minimizing any risk of production delays due to avoidable design reiterations and retesting.

Why Kollmorgen?

Based on your unique requirements, Kollmorgen can model your motion application and vet it effectively before we build anything and incur significant production costs. Once the design is ready for prototyping, we can typically deliver what you need on an accelerated time frame consistent with your development schedule. In fact, with our broad product portfolio and modification capabilities, what would normally be considered a custom prototype is often one of our standard offerings.

Here are four advantages you can count on when you partner with Kollmorgen.

1. We offer advanced engineering capabilities

Kollmorgen designs motion products to achieve the performance requirements of your application and the manufacturability requirements of your business. We optimize the design to meet both of these needs before the manufacturing process even begins.

For example, using the industry’s most advanced analysis and optimization tools, we conduct finite element analysis of the proposed motor’s electromagnetic, mechanical and thermodynamic design to predict its performance capabilities.

For specific applications, we have several design variations we can implement, such as optimizing motors for more efficient load points, lower bus voltages, higher speeds, optimized power budgets and many other options. All of these design variations are modeled before anything is built, lowering costs while speeding the design process.

With our advanced computer-based design tools, we have an unmatched ability to apply what we have learned from the vast catalog of motors we’ve built in the past. We enter performance data into our virtual models, perform virtual validation testing, then devise variations as needed to achieve a high level of confidence that the model will accurately predict how your motors will perform in real-world applications.

2. We supply a vast range of standard and modified motor topologies

At Kollmorgen, we work with virtually every rotor and stator topology used in the aerospace and defense industry. And we can customize the electromagnetic design based on the specific requirements of the application.

For example, we can modify motors to deliver super-high torque density. We can offer variations in magnet alloys and winding characteristics to optimize system performance based on application requirements and environmental considerations. We can even modify motor laminations — from the specific materials used to the lamination thicknesses and details such as the shape of the points on the teeth of individual lamination elements.

And that’s just the beginning. When you choose Kollmorgen, you’re choosing a partner with a practically unlimited ability to meet the exacting requirements of any advanced motion application.

3. We’re vertically integrated throughout our manufacturing lines

Kollmorgen is vertically integrated, with the ability to automate and continually adapt the specialized processes that are crucial to our business. In addition to developing motors and other motion products, we also develop our own manufacturing lines, tooling and equipment. That means we don’t need to rely heavily on other suppliers when scaling your solution up to full production.

Similarly, we don’t need to rely solely on external suppliers when performing manufacturing integrations. For example, if we need a complicated, one-off piece of equipment to enable a specialized manufacturing process, we have the expertise to design and build it ourselves, shortening the lead time and potentially providing a cost benefit to our aerospace and defense customers.

4. We have a stellar record of A&D success

Kollmorgen has more than 70 years of experience designing, manufacturing and delivering motion products for aerospace and defense applications.

For generations, Kollmorgen has set the standard for quality, reliability, rate of production and support – including decades of experience on missile programs. We’re known in the A&D industry for doing motion the right way — from initial concept, through consistently high-quality production in our AS9100 certified manufacturing facility, to successful deployments around the world.

Want to get your own missile program on target? Contact us to consult with a Kollmorgen missile specialist. Together, we can vastly reduce your development cycle and meet the growing global demand for a new generation of innovative defense technologies.

1. “Rocket and Missile Market,” MarketsandMarkets, September 2023.

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