Frank J. Bartos, PE
Motion control: Efficiency improvements target electric motors, including developments in different topologies and innovative use of magnet materials, providing highly efficient advanced motor designs. A previous article about Motor Summit (Nov/Dec 2014) focused on trends to raise the efficiency of electrically driven systems that extend beyond the motors.
Various motor control and motion control developments were covered in the main article “Electronic motion control, then and now,” appearing in Control Engineering’s 60th anniversary issue, September 2014. Newer developments over the last 20 years are discussed in this online extension (2 of 4) of the main article.
This motion control product and technology roundup looks at motor, motion, and drives developments from 60 years ago through 2008, with more than 20 historical images. Original wording of excerpts from the pages of Control Engineering has been kept where possible to portray the flavor of the times. See added remarks; add your comments.
See motion control, motor control article series references, additional motors, drives, and motion control discussion, and 6 more images from the Control Engineering archives.
Linear encoders provide direct position feedback to various machine tool and automation systems. Working in a linear format allows extreme length position measurement and control—critical for machine tool accuracy and production of precise large-scale parts. Focus here is linear encoders with 3-meter (about 10-ft) or greater measurement length.
Case study: This application describes the vital role of encoders in the finishing process of giant bearings.
Motion control: Successful implementation of linear encoders requires appropriate installation, calibration, and connectivity to the control system—in addition to an accurate encoder scale. Coverage of these areas here supplements the article, Long-length linear encoders. See the table of selected encoder manufacturers and products.
The American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and exhibition, WindPower 2013, assembled leading international manufacturers and suppliers of wind power technology exhibiting wind energy products, speakers delivering numerous papers in multiple tracks, various expert panel discussions, and networking opportunities for attendees. Automation and controls help the manufacturing and use of wind-power technologies.
Cost, simplicity, and continuing innovation are keeping stepper motion technology competitive—as described in the May 2013 main article. Additional developments and perspectives on motor-drive integration, controls, component miniaturization, and stepper motion system suppliers are provided here.
Motion control: Traditional stepper-motor systems represent the only motion-control technology able to operate in open loop—although the addition of position feedback to enhance performance is on the rise. Simpler controls, lower cost components, and other innovations keep stepper systems competitive with servo motion systems in numerous applications.