Chief Engineer Akio Yamagiwa of the Technology Innovation Center, who has led motor development at Daikin for many years, talks about the strengths of Daikin motors and the technologies supporting them.
Industry-leading development capabilities in application-specific motors
Daikin Industries began developing and mass-producing specially configured motors for use in air conditioners and hydraulic equipment in the early 1990s. We have also developed firsts in the industry and the world for mass-produced motors with specific applications starting with the embedded magnet motor (IPM motor), which we call a reluctance DC motor, followed by the SR motor without magnets for hydraulic pumps, magnetic bearing actuators for large, high-speed rotating motors up to 20,000 rpm, and outer rotor motors with a stator placed inside the motor that rotate on the outside.
Introduced computer simulation ahead of competitors
While prototypes can be created based on the results of computer simulations, no evaluation and testing equipment exist for motors with new configurations. Together with the computer analysis, we have also developed our own motor evaluation testing equipment and have been evaluating whether prototype motors meet specifications.
In new motor development, it is necessary to use the same standards for our products from design to evaluation, and Daikin has "solid development capability" to develop motors from start to finish.
Nonstop improvements since 1996 in mass production of reluctance DC motors
The technologies related to these structures have been patented and have been used in air conditioners and other products as Daikin proprietary technologies for many years. Furthermore, to conserve resources and reduce the cost of the motor itself, we have made a series of improvements unmatched by any other company. One such improvement was achieved by reducing the use of heavy rare earths and adopting highly magnetic neodymium magnets which reduced the amount of heavy rare earths to 40%. Similarly, we have successively made many other advances that no other company can duplicate.
Developing optimal motors and inverters in tandem is Daikin’s strength
One of the greatest strengths of motor development at TIC is the teamwork with the Inverter Development Department. The inverters and motors used in air conditioners all have their own developmental constraints, regulations, standards, and other restrictions that must be discussed for each application and need to ensure that the ideal situation for the development of one component does not interfere with the ideal situation of the other.
From here, we can increase the overall energy efficiency of the air conditioner by installing the motor and inverter that each of us considered to be the best, eliminate waste, and realize downsizing and quietness. The history of development at Daikin Industries has been one of cooperation between development departments, and this is a strength that other manufacturers do not have.
Continuing to develop unique motors with our original development methods.
We plan to continue developing motors that are currently unimaginable, including development to eliminate the heavy rare earth content of neodymium magnets in current reluctance DC motors and development to achieve the same level of performance without employing magnets using expensive rare earths such as neodymium. The development of a reluctance DC motor equipped with a neodymium magnet was made possible by receiving magnet data from a magnet manufacturer of a magnet still in the development process, analyzing it, and rapidly determining that it could be used. The starting point of the development was a place that ordinary people would not pay attention to.
This out-of-the-box thinking that finds development clues in places where no one else would look has led to a history of application-specific motor development with originality that no other company can match and development of reluctance DC motors with a level of performance that no other company can match.
Chief Engineer, Technology and Innovation Center
Joined the company in April 1990. Born in Shiga Prefecture. Without motors, the world would not move. As a pioneer in the development of motors, which are the driving force behind the world, we have always been at the forefront of motor development.