The power of quality

Moreno Soppelsa –

Attention to quality, design and customization. The results of these guidelines are geared motors produced by Mini Motor, a company from Emilia which has the advantage of manufacturing in-house motors and gearboxes, thus guaranteeing optimum integration of devices. Here’s how it works, and the big news of this year’s product.

Worm geared motor XC with 38 mm axle spacing.

Emilia-Romagna, among the most industrialized regions of Europe, has an impressive concentration of districts ranging from mechatronics to biomedical, from packaging to automotive. And it is also the “breeding ground” in which Mini Motor was born and developed, a company founded in 1965 by Gianfranco Franceschini for the production of gearmotors with fractional powers suitable for the multiple industrial applications in various districts of the area. The company has found its balance over time on a market populated both by large multinationals of the sector and competition of low-priced products from the Far East. How? Simply focusing on absolute quality of its products, on careful study of design and customization of gearmotors that it manufactures in-house. As a matter of fact it is one of the few companies producing both engines and gearboxes in its plant in Bagnolo in Piano (RE) and this allows it to propose ad hoc devices designed according to specific customer requirements by operating on voltage, frequency, type of motors,  encoders and integrated electromagnetic brakes, IP classes and so on. More in detail, Mini Motor manufactures coaxial gear motors and worm gears (both AC and DC), electronic controllers for single-phase motors with tachometric feedback, inverters with positioning and brushless servomotors, with and without planetary reduction gear and their drives. “Our main goal, says Andrea Franceschini, son of the founder and export manager at Mini Motor, working in the company together with his sister Lorella (sales director) and his brother Marco (project development) – is not only to provide for catalog products, but to come into play when special products are required and the standard market offer isn’t able to satisfy particular requests in terms of dimensions, onerous applications, extreme temperature ranges (also from -50° to +50°), and so on.

Quality and integration

We said that from the very beginning Mini Motor has aimed at absolute quality of its products. It was a very positive strategy, since the company only marginally suffered crisis in 2009 with a turnover loss of twenty percentage points immediately recovered the following year with 35% growth in 2011, also confirmed to be the best year ever for Mini Motor. And in 2012, another horrible year for many companies in the sector, it closed with a contraction of just five percentage points compared with the previous year.

On the right Gianfranco Franceschini, founder of Mini Motor, together with his son Andrea who is export manager of the family company.

“We always wanted to be a bulwark in pursuing absolute quality – says Gianfranco Franceschini – although this central theme, that we are successfully driving forward today, initially did not seem to pay off because, especially in the ‘70s, many competitors were more about quantity than quality to meet the huge demand of the market in that period”. It has been a judicious and courageous choice, given that many companies that have made opposite choices in the past today are no longer present on the market as well as the strategy to build finished gearmotors in-house. “Unlike most of our competitors – says Andrea Franceschini – who were born exclusively as gearbox or motor producers and that were used to assemble gearmotors and buy on the market the parts they did not produce, we supply complete kits to our customers since the ‘80s. Also this choice has been successful, because in-house design and construction of motors and gearboxes allows us to troubleshoot connection problems and quality loss that may occur otherwise. For example, if we use a motor that has lower quality than that of the gear unit, all advantages of the latter are unnecessarily lost once the gearmotor is finished. Also, thanks to our design philosophy, we can build extremely compact gearmotors without losing precision”.

New products

After some time without launching new products, and as the existing series were being successful, this year is especially full of novelties for Mini Motor.  As a matter of fact four new product lines have been launched (or are about to be launched, in some cases): XC worm gearmotors with 38 mm axle spacing, DBS brushless gear servomotors with integrated drive and MCBS MCFBS brushless worm servo gearmotors Class  IP65 or IP67, as well as new frequency converters and brushless drives up to 0, 75 kW.

Brushless DBS servo motor with integrated drive.

Let’s briefly take a look at some of these new products, starting from the new XC series. “It will be produced, – says Andrea Franceschini – with usual compactness and design typical of Mini Motor products, enclosed in an overall length of only 288 mm for the 750 W version. With IP65 standard protection, the three-phase motors are available in two versions, 2 poles and 4 poles, with three levels of power each. In the future IP67 version will also be available as tradition of the company. Let’s move on then to DBS servomotors that will be the real showpiece of the new production”, says Franceschini. “As a matter of fact – continues Mini Motor’s manager and partner- this is a series of ultra-compact products in two sizes (55 mm and 80 mm), up to 500 W and 2.5 Nm torque, onboard drive with field buses and available with 24 and 48 Vdc voltage. Thanks to a multiturn encoder there are several regulation possibilities for position, speed and torque. For these devices it is possible to choose between profibus and canopen, concerning field buses, while other buses will be available in the future. This series includes also worm or planetary reduction gears with low backlash. ”

Let’s go to MCBS and MCFBS products which represent the modern evolution of worm gearmotors. On these models Mini Motor has applied thirty-year MC gearbox on its BS brushless motors, achieving an interesting price/performance ratio. In this range there is the possibility of ten different reduction ratios starting from 4000 rpm of the motor. They are characterised by completely closed shape, without ventilation. Options include encoder, resolver and electromagnetic brake.

Brushless worm gear servomotors in IP65 version.

Finally, replacing the obsolete range Drivert and Mininvert, the new Miniaction series will be launched on the market designed for controlling both three-phase asynchronous motors up to 0, 75Kw and brushless motors up to 2.5 Nm with extremely modern features for compactness and performance. The entire series will be marked by extremely competitive prices.










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