As part of our celebration of Manufacturing Month, ECoNA’s Business Retention and Expansion Team had a special guest at its October meeting – Scott Reynolds, Director of Engineering at Electric Torque Machines.
In its 13-year history, this producer of direct drive motors has gone from a garage-based startup to being acquired last year by a major manufacturing company.
It began in 2008 under the name Motor Excellence. Started by engineer Tom Janecek and David Calley (founder of Southwest Windpower), the company’s goal was to create an improved design for direct drive motors.
These motors eliminate the need for transmissions such as gearboxes and belts, are lighter and more efficient than traditional motors and are used in numerous applications that require high continuous torque at low to moderate speeds, such as conveyor belts, pumps and fans. In fact, you can see ETM’s work if you go to the Flagstaff Airport, where ETM motors power the high volume, low speed ceiling fans in the terminal.
When the company started out, it joined NACET, the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (now known as Moonshot) as a way to connect with other innovative companies and network with manufacturers and entrepreneurs. ETM now holds more than 40 U.S. and international patents related to transverse flux motors.
Last year, ETM was acquired by Minneapolis-based Graco Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of fluid management products. Graco designs, manufactures and markets systems and equipment that move, measure, dispense and spray fluid and powder materials.
The acquisition has created additional growth for ETM and in addition to the dozens of engineers and technicians working at ETM’s facility on Butler Avenue, there are several working with Graco in Minnesota as well. Graco has already launched its first products using ETM technology and has formed a new division around the direct drive motors designed by ETM.
One of the biggest challenges since the acquisition, however, is keeping up with rapid growth and customer demand, Scott told us. The company is always looking for more engineers and technicians and you can check out career opportunities on its website.
We thank Scott for sharing some of ETM’s history and successes with us and wish them the best as they continue to innovate a sector that has such an impact on many aspects of manufacturing.