Where do designers of electric motors for appliances hang out online?
March 23, 2021 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm a writer working on naming a new product in the field of electric motor design for appliances. I know NOTHING about this field and am trying to 1) get a basic education (beyond what the client has given me) and 2) steep myself in the language so I can start gathering relevant words and concepts. I'm looking for any forums, subreddits, etc. that would help me get a window into the world of these folks. Thanks!
posted by MelanieMichelle to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Interesting question.

From what I remembered of my Electrical Engineering education, you're talking about motor design and engineering, and as far as I know, the motor is simply not named! It's one of those unseen components that gets no glory. I'd suggest checking with industrial design, electrical engineering, and so on?

I mean, electric motors had been around for decades, and afaik, nothing really new had entered the market when it comes to appliance motors. It's basically efficiency, reliability (MTBF, temperature tolerance, etc.) max load, and size. I believe appliance company would NOT have staff design such, unless they have some serious new patents. They would probably approach the motor maker for a custom product instead.

I would start here:


See if there's someone you can interview over the phone or even visit (if they're open)
posted by kschang at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2021

Best answer: You could try the EEVBlog forums, in particular the power & renewable energy section. There's a recent thread there about a startup with a new switched reluctance motor design, for instance, with some commentary about how it compares to conventional designs.

For the most part though, you're late to the party to find much discussion about design details, since very little has changed in the basics of appliance motors for decades and they are very much commodity items now. As it happens, my grandfather worked for an appliance company as a draughtsman, and they did design their own motors back then - I have some of his hand-drawn engineering drawings of them. But none of that really exists today. I expect that most of what happens at appliance companies today is component selection of motors from supplier catalogues.

There will be some specialists in the companies who actually manufacture those motors, of course, but it's a niche enough thing that you're unlikely to find much discussion online.

There's a lot more discussion to be found about the design of brushless DC motors and other types which are of use for aircraft, electric vehicles, boats etc - since that's an area where there's been a lot more innovation in the last 20 years or so. You'll also find some fairly in-depth discussions about 3-phase designs in forums talking about industrial, marine or other heavy-duty applications. But none of these discussions directly relate to the design of regular single-phase, mains-powered appliance motors.

You might do well to look for older publications.
posted by automatronic at 8:35 PM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

There are a few common approaches. One of the most common is to combine a word denoting the nature of the improvement with a flattering adjective. HiRev. MaxTork. AmpMaster. Another is to honor the inventor by including name or initials. Anything could have the year or sequence number patched on. Letters from any alphabet could be used to denote sequence (the Delta rocket). There could be a reference to the company name or location, e,g. The Ford Windsor V-8.

And there are names snatched out of the air for no discernible reason. Looking at you, Mazda with your SktActive Technology.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:58 AM on March 24, 2021

I'd look for old catalogs - maybe Grainger, Northern Tool, REALLY old Sears, Popular Mechanics from the 90's and before
posted by Dmenet at 9:13 AM on March 24, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! The product isn't a motor; I can't reveal what it is. But it's in the realm of motor design for electric appliances, so I want to understand that world better. I appreciate the thoughts and resources.
posted by MelanieMichelle at 3:23 PM on March 24, 2021

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