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Motion control for speed, precision and repeatability

Motion control technology

Motion is precise control of a motor. Not just speed, but position also. It is often used for applications that require an extremely high level of repeatability or a very aggressive acceleration and/or deceleration. Machines like CNC mills and lathes, rotary tables, packaging machines, filling machines, stamping machines and many machines in the packaging and plastics industries are a few of the instances you will find motion control.
Motion control typically refers to systems with exact position/velocity/torque capabilities operating in either open or closed loop mode. Open loop stepping drives send motion commands to stepper motors but receive no information about the result. Closed loop stepper and servo systems have feedback devices at the motor shaft to verify or adjust the resulting motion.
Motion control systems control a machine’s position, velocity, force, and/or pressure. The system may control one, several or all of those variables. Motion control systems generally consist of the following components:

  • Motion controller: The brain, and the central component that operates the system.
  • Drive: The drive receives low voltage command signals from the controller and then sends the necessary voltage and current to move or rotate the motor.
  • Motor: The motor converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy to power the system. Servo and stepper motors are common in motion control systems.
  • Feedback device: It sends feedback to the motion controller to make necessary adjustments for position, velocity, force and/or pressure.

How motion control works

Motion is achieved by combining a servo motor with a servo amplifier (drive) and a controller. Controllers can be built into an amplifier, be part of a PLC or be a stand-alone piece of equipment. The controller can be programmed to track the number of rotations, or partial rotations, that the motor has made and correlate that into a distance measurement.

Example application

A rotary table application using a motion control system: If the table has six equally spaced clamps around its circumference, we can program a motion system to stop a clamp at a conveyor, have the clamp pick up an item coming down the conveyor line. The table then rotates 60 degrees (1/6 of a turn) so the next clamp can pick its piece. As the table rotates at some other position, or maybe multiple other positions, some operation can be done to the piece. The acceleration, deceleration, speed, and wait time between movements are controlled by the controller. The amount of rotation is also more precise than using other methods such as proximity switches or limit switches, so the lining up of the part to other operations is constant and repeatable over years of operation.
This is just one example of motion, you can find other examples virtually everywhere from industrial machines to medical devices, to robots, to “flying cameras” at sports and entertainment events.

Primary Considerations with Motion Control

When designing a motion control system, Innovative-IDM engineers can help. There are several factors to consider when designing a system.

Maximize Throughput

Throughput is a function of faster speeds on the line. Your production will increase if your motion control systems is faster. Faster speeds also mean more fine-tuning for reliable operation and to alleviate production errors. Make sure whatever networks you consider (ethernet, for example) are able to remain reliable enough to reach your intended throughput. How fast can they check for and recover from errors between the controller and the components that control the motion.

Cycle Time Factors

Communications operating speed the key to cycle time, which dictates how fast an application can perform repetitive actions and how fast the motion control components can move. How many components, how much data is being sent to those components, and fast is your network: All factor into your resulting cycle time.

Component Compatibility

Can your motion control components communicate with each other? A well-planned motion control system ideally has a mix of components that are compatible with one another. Make sure you network will work with the automation components on your machine and/or robots. This will help lessen issues with systems integration. A trusted integrator will work with blue chip automation component suppliers that normally supply products that can pass most conformity tests for overall compatibility.

Easy Operation and Maintenance

Design it to be simple to run and easy to maintain. Work with an integrator to design a system with hot-swappable components that can be changed out without having to restart the motion control system. Your maintenance department with thank you.

Featured Yaskawa motion products

Motion Controllers

Yaskawa Motion Controllers

Yaskawa Sigma-5 Servo Products

Yaskawa Sigma-5 Servo Products

Yaskawa Junma Servo Product

Yaskawa Junma Servo Products

1/2 - 25 HP - V1000-4X Drive

1/2 – 25 HP – V1000-4X Drive

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