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AM Equipment finds new uses for wiper motors

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Wiper reliability is no accident, says AM Equipment. They’ve been around as long as the automobile industry first started installing windshields more than a hundred years ago. There have been many refinements since to make them more efficient: better blade material, larger coverage, even automatic sensing to engage automatically and adjust speed to rain/spray volume.

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When Ted Powell took over AM Equipment, it was a small job shop doing work in auto electrics and power equipment. Powell quickly sold off the power equipment business and focused on wiper motors, becoming an OEM distributor for United Technologies which was making and selling a lot of window lift motors for cars such as the Ford Taurus and wiper motors for Ford and International trucks. As an OEM distributor, AM Equipment could purchase the Taurus window lift motor and the truck wiper motor and use it for other applications such as motorized steps for motor homes. It also used the heavy truck wiper motors for wiper systems on motor homes and jet boats.

AM Equipment began modifying motors on their own, creating new gearing assemblies to allow the motors to work in a wider set of applications and allowing customers to do more with a smaller motor. This was also the time that the company began making more of the other parts in the wiper system and selling entire assemblies which were custom-built for specific applications. Today, AME’s customer base includes truck and bus manufacturers, boat makers, construction equipment makers, electric vehicle makers and oil rig makers.

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AM Equipment says its wiper systems undergo tests to ensure they have the chops to handle all sorts of use cases and weather conditions. All wipers are tested to a minimum 1.5 million cycles, which is the SAE mandate for automobiles and vehicles that have a designed service life of less than 300,000 miles. For heavy vehicles that have a service life that exceed 300,000 miles, the durability requirement bumps to 3 million cycles, the company adds.

The company says it has developed a wiper system matrix that engineers use to simply choose an arm and blade length combination along with the wiper system platform to know whether or not that system will successfully meet 1.5 million cycles. The engineering focus has also led to completely new, non-wiper markets for the company’s motors, it adds. The big opportunity is in the automation and smart energy industries. Many companies developing in these spaces need small DC motors for precise movement and actuation.

Recently, AME says, the company signed an agreement to supply a ventilator manufacturer with motors needed for air supply systems on ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 patients. By using its motor design, AME says it was able to supply at a lower cost than alternatives, keeping the cost of the ventilators down.

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AME says its current president, Sidney Chase, sees a lot more of these opportunities opening up for the company.

This story was contributed by AM Equipment.

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