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Business of Engineering

Advanced motor and generator designer, Daniel B. Jones, dies 

Dan Jones, Incremotion Associates, dies at 84 after more than 60 years in the motion control industry, with decades of service to associations and involvement in more than 100 motor designs, including one for a NASA mission to Mars.

By Mark T. Hoske September 16, 2020
Courtesy: Incremotion Associates

Daniel B. Jones, president, Incremotion Associates/Motion Media Group, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., died on Sept. 1, at 84 years of age, according to his wife, Jan Jones. Dan Jones was an electric motor and generator design engineer and worked in the motion control industry more than 60 years, including 37 years at Incremotion, working on designs of high-torque, high-power density brushless permanent magnet and brush permanent magnet motors, and high-efficiency ac induction motors and generators. While Jones represented motor companies, often on twice a year press tours, he also was a motor designer, lecturer, and advanced-motor technology advocate.

His motor designs ranged in size from 2 to 500 W, according to a 2015 Control Engineering news story, that said Jones received the 2014 “Outstanding Contributions to the Electric Machines Industry” lifetime achievement award from The Electronic Motor Education and Research Foundation (EMERF) in cooperation with the SMMA-Motors and Motion Association. The 2015 story said Jones had written and presented more than 265 articles and papers on various elements in motion control in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Burnet D. Brown, chief executive officer, GreenTech Motors Corp., called Jones “the Rosetta stone of electric motor technology.”

Frank Bartos, former Control Engineering executive editor (retired) said Jones worked with Control Engineering on many articles (see a few links below): “With either Dan as the author or as the acknowledged invaluable contributor to in-house written articles. We were able to exchange ideas on electronic motor technology off and on – with Dan supplying the majority of ideas. Speaking personally, and I am sure for many in the electric motor and motion control communities, Dan will be sorely missed.”

Dan Jones: Mars mission motor design, competitive softball

According to information provide by Jan, wife of Dan Jones, and George Gulalo, long-time friend and president of MTT Technical Services, Dan Jones:

  • Began involvement and interest in the industry from his mother, who was production manager for an electric motor company in the 1950s.
  • Designed a motor that went to Mars in a NASA exploratory mission.
  • Was a member of UL 1004 Standards Technical Panel since 2004, Advisory Board PCIM Exhibition and Conference member since 1985, PCIM European Exhibition and Conference member since 1989, MCA Board of Director’s Member since 2007, Member of Board of Directors for AIME since 1994 and member of NEMA Technical Standards Review Committee for Servos and Step Motors since 1997.
  • Was previously AIME president 1998 to 1999; Advisory Board member for SMIC (Japan) Conference 1992 to 2002; member of Board of Directors of SMMA (Small Motors and Motion Association, now the Motion Control and Motor Association, MCMA, part of A3) 1999 to 2007; member of U.K. Drives and Controls Conference Advisory Board 1999 to 2002; and, until recently, was a member of ASME, IEEE and AIME.
  • Was known, taught and had clients in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and worked with engineers from India, the Middle East, Europe, North America and South America.
  • Held positions of chief engineer as well as vice president of marketing for motor companies.
  • Accepted the role of chief engineer when companies needed help quickly and was involved in more than 100 motor designs.
  • Played softball into his early 70s and traveled across the U.S. to play competitively, and was particularly proud of his ability to help his seniors team win.
  • Was part of history and Bible study groups with church congregants and friends.

The tribute from Gulalo with information from Jan Jones said: “His contributions to the industry are legendary. But Dan’s most extraordinary contribution was his openness and generosity to everyone who asked for his help. He willingly and enthusiastically became a teacher and mentor to up-and-coming engineers. He helped and advised seasoned engineers looking to start up their own consultancies, even as they would become competitors to his own consulting business.”

Gulalo, who said he enjoyed more than 40 years of working with Jones on various projects, added that Japanese collaborators said “Dan had a ‘wide face,’ an indication of someone well known and well respected in an industry.”

Dan Jones article sampler on advanced motors designs

Among many past articles Jones contributed to Control Engineering included:

High performance motor designs – Motor innovations: Advanced motor technologies influence motor form factors, performance, and efficiencies. Examine how these technology advances can help with your next set of applications.

Servo or no? How to decide? – Do you really need a servo? Can an induction motor with a feedback device provide a better solution for specific applications? Looking at definitions and performance characteristics for servos and induction motors may move the decision along.

Advances in direct-drive rotary servos – Inside machines: In performance and market growth, direct-drive servo motors are outpacing conventional servo motors and gear motors. Advanced designs and new technologies can add efficiency.

Advanced motor design: New motors reach new applications – Permanent magnets, axial, transverse, and radial flux designs optimize torque, power, efficiency, size, weight, and other motor performance parameters.

Jones is survived by his wife Janice of 60 years and his children Matt, Tom and Sue, 12 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and was preceded in death by his daughter Jennifer.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,

KEYWORDS: Daniel B. Jones dies, advanced motor designs


Mark T. Hoske
Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.