Why this wheel drive is getting so much attention from design engineers

As automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) become more commonplace in warehouses and factories, design engineers are working on next generation platforms that can move faster and more efficiently while continuing to operate safely in collaboration with their human counterparts.

One of the key elements of an AGV or AMR is the battery powered, electric drivetrain system which consists of two or more wheels that are driven by motors with gearing, shafts and bearings to provide the required speed, torque and payload carrying capacity of the robot.

Designers of AGVs and AMRs would typically need to search for these different components from several potential suppliers to develop a drivetrain system. The engineering effort involved in the selection of these components can lead to extended time to market, excessive development and system costs, and potentially sub-optimal robot performance.

ElectroCraft MobilePower MPW Series wheel drives

To simplify the development of AGVs and AMRs, ElectroCraft offers a unique, integrated wheel drive platform, which provides increased performance and reliability at an affordable price compared to traditional motor/gearbox/wheel combinations (Figure 1).

Figure 1. ElectroCraft MobilePower MPW86 wheel drive. Source: ElectroCraft
Figure 1. ElectroCraft MobilePower MPW86 wheel drive.

The MPW Series wheel drive features an innovative design that integrates a high torque-density brushless DC motor with a heavy-duty, single or two-stage, inline planetary gearbox mounted inside the hub of an aluminum wheel with polyurethane tread. It can be configured with an optional encoder to provide high-precision speed and position feedback, and an electromagnetic brake to hold position when power is removed.

Furthermore, the MPW is available in multiple configurations, load ratings and wheel sizes to support a wide range of mobile robot applications. The MPW delivers smooth, efficient motion, generating wheel speeds up to 4.3 m/s, peak starting torque up to 35 Nm and continuous running torque up to 20 Nm. As with all ElectroCraft products, the MPW series wheel drives are customizable to meet specific application requirements.

Don’t forget about the power electronics that are required to drive these brushless DC motors. ElectroCraft also designs and manufactures sophisticated DC motor drive electronics that can be used in combination with the MPW series to provide the ultimate motion control solution for your mobile robot platform.


ElectroCraft, Inc., based in Stratham, New Hampshire, is a global provider of dependable, application-engineered fractional-horsepower motor and motion control products. With over 60 years of operation, they have developed a comprehensive product line of motion control products including AC motors, PMDC motors, brushless DC motors, stepper motors, servo motors, gearboxes, gearmotors, linear actuators, drives, servo drives and integrated motor drives.

ElectroCraft products have been successfully integrated into hundreds of different applications in medical and lab equipment, mobile robotics, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining machinery, industrial automation machinery and much more.

For OEM customers who are unsatisfied with having to design around inflexible off-the-shelf products, ElectroCraft’s technical knowledge and customizable product families provide for a design experience which results in motor and motion systems that provide superior reliability and performance at the lowest possible cost.

Contact ElectroCraft to learn more about their MobilePower MPW series wheel drive systems.