Maxon Motor’s steam-sterilizable encoder
Maxon Motor has introduced a steam-sterilizable encoder for surgical robots and handheld surgical power tools. The ENX Easy encoder’s ability to withstand sterilization enables medtech manufacturers to assemble motors that can be completely autoclaved, according to Carsten Horn, business development engineer for Sachseln, Switzerland–based Maxon.
ENX Easy is available in an incremental (1,024 counts) and absolute versions (4,096 steps), both designed for 1,000 autoclave cycles. The ENX Easy can be combined with matching BLDC motors and planetary gearheads. The encoder can be integrated into the brushless drives ECX 13 and ECX 16 Speed (up to 120,000 rpm and 104 W) without any increase in length. When the gearheads GPX 13 and GPX 16 SPEED (0.2 Nm max. continuous torque) are added to the combination, customers receive a fully sterilizable positioning system.
“That’s the missing part to really generate a drive system for a closed-loop drive,” Horn said. “It gives the engineers many more options. They now have the option to do positioning requirements in an autoclavable system, which hasn’t been so easy for a while.”
Autoclave cycles are hard on materials, so the company had to take measures to protect the motor’s chip and printed circuit board (PCB).
“You need to take care so no water or steam can come in between the pins and the PCB because that will immediately destroy the PCB,” Horn said.