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The industry floors are witnessing a seismic shift as the automation takes center stage, not as an idea, but as an actuality. Well, a few years back the automation seemed like a far-fetched reality. And industries where precision control was of primary importance heavily relied on servo motors because stepping motors were not able to meet the demands. However, with the advancement, the stepper motors have managed to find their way onto the floor.
The high torque stepper motor at the lowest speed with the simple implementation and attractive cost to performance ratio has become the most admired motors of all. Let’s look at the advancement of the stepping motor and how they have evolved over the time.
How does stepper motor work?
A stepping motor is a type of brushless motor that moves in synchronous steps during the revolution and it is designed to take one step at a time. The reputability is its one of the major features that means it will always come back to the same position to where it originally started the motion.
The stepping motors are simple with defined controls; in fact, they do not need adjustments; you can expect excellent torque at the speed of 100 rpm. However, they pose challenges when the speed increases because with the increase in speed the torque decreases making them extremely difficult to handle.
The Stepping Motor Mechanism
The stepping motor has three essential components that include the motor, the controller, and the drive; and these components are connected to PLC (programmable logic controller) or to a PC. Either of these elements can provide supervisory control between multiple motors.
1. The Motor: The motor has a number of coils that are energized systematically to make the motor move and rotate through each step. Generally, the stepping motor move 1.8 degrees per step that is equivalent to 200 steps for 360-degree revolution.
2. The Controller: The controller is responsible for regulating the step position of the motor and the torque, and the driver helps the controller in controlling the signal. The controller could be either open-loop or closed loop; the open-loop controller works without feedback while the closed-loop controller uses feedback according to the load size resulting in performance that closely matches the performance of a servo motor.
The Drive: The drive regulates the direction and magnitude of the current flow by modifying the controller signals, thereby making the motor create the desired torque.
The combo advantages
With the advanced technology, and increasing consumer demand, the stepping motor’s components have been combined in three distinct ways to achieve specific results and they are; drive and motor; drive and controller, and drive, motor, and controller.
1. The driver and motor: This combination takes out the driver from the enclosure thus decreasing the heat and required space. By using this combination, you can greatly eliminate the cooling components such as fans or air conditioners. In addition, the simplifying design makes the operation easier.
2. Controller and driver: this combination eradicates the wiring between the drive and the controller because it gets command directly from the PLC. This is an ideal choice for the motion control applications and works well with all kinds of stepping motors such as 3 phase stepper motor and a bipolar stepping motor.
3. Drive, motor, and controller: this combination eliminates the wiring between all the three components; in addition, it reduces enclosure space and heat. This integrated process is the most compact of all three combinations.
The technological advancement has changed the future of the stepping motor, but you need the complete understanding of the mechanism; otherwise, you might end up misapplying the mechanism; for instance, when you need tb6560 stepper driver, you must install this driver and you should be aware of its mechanical and technical aspects; otherwise, you will use a wrong driver and end up hurting the machine.
So, how are you going to understand the complete mechanism? Well, that is a difficult question because there is no certain method of understanding the workings until you apply it to your project; however, it is advisable that you work with someone who is trained on stepping motor application before you deploy it in your project.
Do not just jump on to the stepping motor application just because you think it is a great motor and can serve the purpose; in fact, you have to look at your project too. For example; if you are a toy manufacturer and want to use a stepper motor in your project, then you must look at the lifespan of the toy before you get the stepping motor.
As a matter of fact, a stepping motor can run more than 10000 hours in its lifespan; now the question; do your toys are going to last for that long? If they do, then it makes sense to get stepper motor; otherwise, brushless DC motors can do the job. So, it is imperative that you understand project requirements.