8 examples of air motors in specific environments!

5 septembre 2017

Motor applications

Modec Air motors are often used in very specialized applications. We therefore cannot make a standardized motor for any one specific industry! We can, however, describe certain specific situations in which our motors are used.  

Here are eight examples of specific environments in which Modec air motors are suitable :   

1. Damp atmospheres

The biggest problem faced by motors used on boats or at any industrial site located next to the sea, is corrosion. The machines used to power sluice gates or winches, tend to degrade very rapidly. The main problem with electric motors is that not only it is necessary to protect the motor itself, but also the electrical system supplying it with power! The primary advantage air motors offer is that they do not need as much protection (motor & electrical networks) as electric motors. All that is required is a simple air filtering and lubrication system to ensure that the air injected into the motor is clean and dry. Air motors are also more resistant to damp and more robust!  

2. Submerged environments

Corrosion of equipment is a problem in these environments, as is safety, due to the high risk of short circuits occurring! Electric motors have to comply with IP protection standards, which provide a rating of resistance to dust and water. Each motor has to offer a specific level of protection depending on the type of use to which it is to be put and the depth involved. In addition to the motor itself, the whole electrical system supplying it with power must also be protected. In the case of air motors, there is a constant 6 bar of air pressure inside the motor itself, which means there is no risk of water penetrating insideAs far as the materials used are concerned, it is essential to ensure that parts that come into contact with water are made from stainless steel, in order to avoid any risk of corrosion, and that all seals and joints are waterproof. Once these precautions have been taken, the risk of corrosion or damage to the interior of the motor is removed; and with no electricity supply involved, there is no risk of short circuits!   

3. Dusty atmospheres

There are countless environments in which this kind of situation occurs, such as when sandblasting, on dusty building sites, in grain silos in the agri-food industry, etc. The problem dust usually causes is overheating of the motor.

Electric motors are affected by two specific problems:

  • Filters and vents designed to prevent the motor from overheating get blocked by dust
  • Dust penetrates inside the motor and damages internal components

Air motors offer an excellent alternative for two reasons:

4. Very high temperatures

In very high temperature environments, all electric motors heat up and therefore need to be excessively large in order to operate properly. But even when larger in size, there still exists a risk that the motor will overheat and trip out! Additionally, this increase in size also involves a not insubstantial increase in costs. In the case of air motors, there is no risk of overheating because the motor actually gets cooler when being used. The limiting factor is not the temperature of the motor but rather the components used. The seals/joints, oils and other components need to be suitable for use in high temperatures. Because we ensure this is the case, our motors are able to operate in temperatures up to 130°C without the need to be made excessively large.

5. Nuclear sector

The specific issue with nuclear environments is that anything present in them gets exposed to nuclear radiation. Electric motors exposed on a daily basis to this radiation can become uncontrollable due to problems of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). With air motors, there is no electricity present in the motor and therefore no risk of radiation interferenceLarge numbers of air motors are used in irradiated zones in the nuclear industry. In such applications, the air used is supplied from a non-contaminated zone and also evacuated to a non-contaminated zone in order to minimize contamination.

6. Particularly clean environments

An example of this type of environment would be the "clean rooms" found in the chemical, pharmaceutical and agri-food industries. When used in these industries, motors need to be resistant to the specific types of cleaning products used to clean them and also be entirely clean in operation. Non-lubricated air motors are the types mainly used in such applications. This is in order to remove any risk of lubricating oil leaking into the sterile operating environment. These kinds of motors are made from stainless steel as it offers resistance to the high-temperatures used in sterilization and aggressive cleaning products.

7. High mechanical stresses

Certain highly specific applications generate very strong mechanical vibrations. In cases where motors are used for sanding/abrasive stripping or cleaning applications they tend to be located on the parts of devices that are subject to tremendous vibration. In these kinds of situations, the mechanical resistance of the motor is the key factor: there is a risk of internal components breaking. Our air motors are very robust and designed to stand up to high mechanical stresses! Modec motors are tested and approved for use in these conditions.

8. Explosive and flammable environments

As mentioned in one of the other articles, air motors offer the ideal alternative to electric motors in environments governed by ATEX regulationsThey do not heat up; they do not produce electricity (hence no sparks), and it is not necessary to provide a protected electrical system in order for them to operate. Air motors simply need clean, dry, filtered and lubricated air in order to function. Another advantage air motors offer over electric motors is that they require less precautionary measures (there is no electrical system to feed through and protect) and less maintenance (they don't heat up or produce sparks, and no dust gets inside the motor).


As you can see from these eight examples, there are numerous applications for which air motors are better suited than electric motors. To find out how exactly how we have applied our expertise with specific clients, download our case studies.

You are also welcome to request a free consultation if you would like the opportunity to discuss your own project with us.

download our case studies


Bruno Martin
Bruno Martin

Subscribe to the blog!