How It All Began

How It All Began

Setting out to reinvent an old technology

Beginning in 1995, AML set out to redefine two of mankind’s greatest revolutions–electricity and magnetism—fundamentally unchanged since their development in the early 1800s.  The goal: To rethink the principles of electromagnetism–to imagine how a new generation of magnet solutions could emerge from radical new coil designs, the novel applications of advanced materials like superconductors, and highly precise and automated manufacturing methods.

The basics – how an electro-magnetic field works

As electrical current passes through the conductor, it creates a magnetic field 90 degrees from the direction of current.  The question we asked:  Is it possible to define (design) a magnetic field based on controlling the individual conductor in 3D space?

The "right-hand rule"

The “right-hand rule”

The problem… Since magnetic fields are generated by the flow of currents, the conventional, 19th century paradigm is to use a conductor of highest possible conductivity and wrap it over an appropriate support structure. This results in three basic coil configurations: solenoids, racetracks and saddle coils. Although these configurations have been in use for nearly 180 years, they remain limited in shape, field quality, scalability, and in the application of advanced materials. Plus, they all require magnet-specific tooling for manufacturing.

Unchanged for nearly two centuries: conventional coil configurations—solenoid, racetrack and saddle.

Unchanged for nearly two centuries: conventional coil configurations—solenoid, racetrack and saddle.

AML’s hypothesis:

Given that the field and force “direction” are the result of the “position” of the electrical conductor, the ideal design method would be to “define” the field–in software–by controlling all aspects of 3D magnet winding configurations:

Instead of manipulating conventional coil configurations, which always results in a less than perfect magnetic field, you should start by defining the perfect magnetic field, and then design the precise coil configuration that will deliver it–perfectly.

Two decades later…

AML’s proprietary CoilCADTM, the world’s most advanced magnet design software, enables theoretical fields to be described as the complete 3D conductor path in arbitrary coil winding configurations. CoilCADTM optimizes the design for all performance aspects of the coil, and then automatically generates machine code to enable highly automated manufacturing.  With this radical approach, there is no manufacturing limit (or penalty) for even the most complex coil windings. Performance Optimization includes:

  • Complete control over 3D current density distribution
  • Unlimited design freedom over 3D conductor layout
  • Variation of conductor shape and cross section throughout winding
  • Unprecedented freedom in conductor material choice
  • Direct output of the final design to precision automated manufacturing machines
AML has redefined the standards for magnet design, enabling radical new coil configurations, including flared, twisted and bent.

AML has redefined the standards for magnet design, enabling radical new coil configurations, including flared, twisted and bent.

Not even the most optimistic visionaries could have foreseen how a simple, elegant and fundamental new approach would lead to dozens of new discoveries, advanced magnetic technologies, and a complete end-to-end application development process – The AML Perfect-Field Process!

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