Motion control may have a simple meaning—that is, to “control movement”. However, there’s so much more that it can bring. Its ability to move parts of a machine or the machine itself in a precise, rotary, or linear manner makes it advantageous in a variety of applications. Let’s dig in deeper as to what motion control is all about and what are the benefits of motion control to most industries.
Motion Control in a Nutshell
A motion control automation system is made up of several components that work together to produce controlled movements in a machine. Aside from enabling movement, motion control also makes sure that a machine can stop. The three basic components of a motion control system are:
This serves as the “brain” of the motion control systems. It helps control the drives and the motor. From the feedback-based system, the controller receives the input command from the user, examines the signal from the motor, and produces the action required with little or no error. The number of controllers to be used will depend on how many individual processes are needed to be controlled. These controllers can receive instructions and provide feedback to and from the main computer that controls the production.
This is considered the “middle man” of the motion control systems. It works directly with controllers and motors together with a motion control board. Its function is to interpret the signal received from the controller and supply the appropriate level of power to the motor to ensure the accurate movement of the machine.
In a motion control system, the main job of a motor is to transform the signal received from a motor drive into movements. The two most common types of motors are AC and DC. In an AC motor, energy is transmitted from magnetic fields directing through the coils wrapped around the output shaft. Meanwhile, the energy produced in a DC motor comes from a generated power source that provides continuous voltage, like a battery.
The Role of Servo Drives in Motion Control
Servo drives provide the motor the needed amount of energy for it to move. These drives can control the position, torque, or velocity of a motion control system. They are also referred to as an “amplifier” because they pump up the control signals coming from the controller to deliver a certain amount of energy to the motor.
Because they deliver signals (current and voltage) for the motor to move, they are also called the “nervous system” of the motor. Servo drives work well with both digital and analog signals. Elmo’s servo drive series are ideal for motion control applications that require extreme precision and power density.
Benefits of Motion Control Applications
Motion control systems have countless uses. But why do most operations rely on this technology? Let’s take a look at the benefits of motion control to some industries:
Motion control has always been a part of the packaging industry. It is mostly used in palletizing. This process, with the use of forklifts, involves stacking of boxes on cases or boxes for transportation. One of the challenges is stacking the boxes on a stable, interleaved structure. A motion control system has a flexible program feature that helps in the palletizing process effectively.
The main focus of the textile industry is to design, produce, and distribute yarn, cloth, and clothing. The industry uses diverse kinds of high-caliber fabric manufacturing equipment. Implementation of motion control to textile machines makes way for synchronization, quick changeover, and reliability in the production.
Another thriving industry, 3D printing is a process that prints three-dimensional objects inspired by computer-aided design models. It covers various sectors, including architecture and construction, education, electronics, and more. Motion control in a 3D printer helps in integrating multiple axes accurately, developing the precision of printing mechanisms, minimizing noise, and making sure to print faster.
Photography and Film Making
A challenge in the filmmaking industry is the creation of a model that represents a make-believe situation or environment. Producers often opt for miniatures, but if it’s too small, it may be viewed by the audience as unrealistic. On the other hand, creating larger models may take time and is extremely hard work. A motion control system can help achieve a more realistic focus on the model by adjusting the data fields and frame rates, as well as, shifting the shutter speed accordingly.
Robotic application is rampant in sectors like welding, automotive, manufacturing, and other industrial settings. Why? Because they make operations easier. Motion control allows robots to move in accuracy, precision, and repeatability by using the acquired data and feedback. Furthermore, because more and more industries use robots to assist in their processes, it is expected that the motion control market will expand.
Motion control is a sub-field of automation that enables controlled movement in a machine or parts of a machine. The top benefits of motion control are precision, accuracy, and efficiency in delivering the desired action. Because of this, a lot of industries implement motion control in their operations.
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