UK news: October 2009
Dyson triples the size of his motors division
Sir James Dyson has revealed that he is tripling the size of the electric motors division at his company’s headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
“Electric motors are really important to us because we think they’re at the heart of energy consumption, weight and efficiency in vacuum cleaners and other things,” Sir James told The Independent newspaper at the launch of his newest product, a bladeless desk fan. “There are some very good British engineers and scientists in the electric motor field."
Part of the expanded division`s effort is going into developing motors for automotive applications. “They’re going to be very important in cars,” he said, adding that the company’s entry into the automotive sector is “several years off”. The company is also working on battery technologies.
The bladeless fan (above), called the Dyson Air Multiplier, incorporates a high-efficiency brushless motor in its base, driving an impeller which forces air through slots in a ring-shaped “amplifier”. This creates a 1.3mm-wide jet of air travelling at 25m/s, which passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp that channels its direction and helps to draw surrounding air into the airflow. This “amplifies” the airflow 15-fold, producing a smooth, uninterrupted flow of up to 405 litres per second.
Dyson claims that traditional fan designs have several drawbacks. “I’ve always been disappointed by fans,” he says. “Their spinning blades chop up the airflow, causing annoying buffeting. They’re hard to clean. And children always want to poke their fingers through the grille.”
The bladeless design overcomes these disadvantages, producing an uninterrupted stream of air which is said to be more pleasant than the choppy airflow produced by conventional blades. The airflow can be varied continuously by adjusting the speed of the brushless motor. And having the motor in the base of the Air Multiplier produces a low centre of gravity that makes it less likely to fall over than a conventional fan.
The fan is available in 10-inch and 12-inch diameter versions, costing upwards of £199. It is being targeted, in particular, at countries with hot climates – initially Australia and the US.