Big news in the world of linear motion: H2W Technologies Inc., Santa Clarita, Calif., has acquired linear-motor product lines from Baldor.
H2W claims 38 years of expertise in the manufacture of linear electric motors, and we’ve covered some of their technologies over the years: Most recently, H2W announced a linear induction motor with 2,900 N at a 3% duty cycle. In 2011, H2W released a series of linear stepper-motor stages specifically designed for robotic applications.
Going back even further, H2W’s two-axis linear stepper motor gantry stage led the industry with linear motors capable of step resolution to 250 µm or down to 10 µm under microstepping — unique capabilities at the time.
Baldor, itself a leader in linear-motor engineering, underwent the biggest business change in its history when, in 2010, ABB bought the company for $4.2 billion. I like many were surprised by the development.
One factor that may have played a part in the latest shakeup is the relative volatility of semiconductor markets … as more than half of linear motors are currently used to manufacture and assemble electronics. Other applications are industrial conveyors, people movers, and baggage handlers.
According to Mark Wilson, engineer with H2W, many of the technologies are ones that H2W are buying back; in 1998, his company sold linear-motor technologies that they’d originally developed (under the Northern Magnetics brand) to Baldor. “After a three-year hiatus due to a non-compete agreement, our new team formed to create H2W Technologies and develop new types of linear-motion designs,” explains Wilson.
H2W will integrate the Baldor linear-motor product lines into its existing product offerings. These include iron-core linear brushless motors, cog-free linear brushless motors, single-axis linear stepper motors, dual-axis linear stepper motors, AC-induction linear motors, voice-coil actuators, and what some term polynoid linear motors. The latter are rod-and-stator designs with the steel rod (clad in copper) acting as a forcer.
H2W says it will use Baldor tooling and manufacturing to make direct replacements for all existing product lines. According to Wilson, all of the tooling and machinery for the linear-motor manufacture has already been moved from Baldor’s Ft. Smith plant to the H2W plant in California.