Thanks to AC servo technology, plants no longer thunder, screech, and whine. Servo technology has brought the plant down to a low hum. But that's aesthetics. The more operational and pocketbook value of servo technology is flexibility, lower maintenance needs, and reduced energy consumption. Servo technology also offers significant opportunities for plants to simplify motion control.
Plants can dispense with the heavy, inefficient machinery in favor of lightweight flexible machines. If you're no longer turning all that metal, you're burning less energy. Another big advantage is the synchronized varied-axis and multi-axis machines. In the past, machines were coordinated through cams, gears, and linkages. That's been replaced with servo drives.
Design News has gathered a ton of information on servo developments in the Technology Roundup: The Latest Developments in Servo Technology. This collection spells out the functions and advantages of AC servo.
As well as making machines more lightweight, servo technology allows changes to be made through software rather than the cumbersome process of configuring hardware. The shift is from mechanical to electronics. Heavy lines of gears and cams have been swapped out for multiple motors. Instead of gears, you bolt a motor directly on to the machine.
In the past, plants were run on multiple networks that were loosely integrated. The need for increased efficiency has pushed plants into creating a single network. The old network is being replaced by servo motion control on industrial networks. This greatly reduces wiring while allowing the axis to grow without adding wiring. That means you can quickly reconfigure or changeover a machine.