The substantial developments in servomotor and motor drive technology, both in industry and in academia, can greatly enhance the quality of control across a wide range of applications. Improvements in control techniques and algorithms backed by greater processing power in motor drives are increasing the functionality, capability and appeal of servo-based control systems.
The development and availability of greater functionality, especially at attractive costs, provide important potential benefits for application developers of servo systems technology.
“Integration at lower levels within the controller itself increases the number of features and functions that can be integrated into a single chip,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Rahul Nayar.“ In some controllers, this can occur to a considerable degree, absorbing many of the functions of the servo drive into a single device.”
Such integration has a huge impact on applications. It enables designers building servo applications around the controller to add and develop more features in them.
A greater number of enhanced features enables technology developers to differentiate their applications, giving them a significant advantage in a competitive market. Increasingly, technological challenges – including problems that might traditionally have been solved through changes in motor design – are being tackled through improvements in software and control algorithms, a trend that is aided by the increased ability in hardware to support more complex software. Developers are creating more feature-rich products for application segments.
The features and functionalities have been improved to such an extent that this technology is now being considered in areas where its use was once restricted.
Linear motors are particularly seeing increasing application in fields once dominated by traditional and low-cost technologies. The latter are increasingly yielding to servo technology due its natural advantages in important operating parameters.
Some enhancements in the drive technology include improvements in some of the core technologies around which drives are built, greater digital processing power, performance and resolution.
A crucial factor that drives adoption of servo technologies is the economic attractiveness of processing power offered by it. This has helped servo technologies match rising demands from end-user industries and applications such as packaging. Servo technologies, in their ability to offer performance and attractive features at increasingly competitive costs, are approaching the point where they are considered as a practical option in many application areas.
“Servo technology, which once found application only in high-cost, advanced applications like fly-by-wire systems in military aircraft, now replaces hydraulics and pneumatics in common, day-to-day products,” notes Nayar. “For a technology that has traditionally been labeled expensive and ‘high end’, this is a significant step.”
The rapid advancement of this technology has outpaced the awareness about the significance of new research among engineers and other personnel. Moreover, engineers’ original training in digital technology would have been limited to theory due to the expense and limited availability of hardware.
Some industry professionals prefer to stick to ‘tried and tested’ techniques and technologies such as proportional-integral controllers considered reliable, stable and ‘safe’.
Providing better training and conducting awareness programs to keep engineers informed about the latest technologies and their potential advantages in applications can correct this trend.
Advances in Servomotor and Motor Drive Technology is part of the D923 vertical subscription service. It presents technology and applications viewpoints, examines technologies such as electric servomotors, classified variously as rotary and linear, brushed and brushless; permanent magnet and induction motors; as well as drive technology and its components including digital signal controllers. The research service enables companies to align their positioning strategies to benefit from the emerging technologies. Executive summaries and analyst interviews are available to the press.
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Advances in Servomotor and Motor Drive Technology
Keywords in this release: servomotor, motor drive, algorithms, electric servomotors, rotary, linear, brushed, brushless, permanent magnet, induction motors, digital signal controllers, linear motors, hydraulics, pneumatics