Modular Systems Are the Way Forward for Motion & Motor Control
Motion and motor control systems are becoming more modular, with products like the ACOPOSmotor from B&R Industrial Automation (pictured), which allow for motion control in different parts of the system rather than from one point, key to this new design. Corey Morton, a solutions architect from B&R, will discuss this and other topics at the upcoming Design and Manufacturing Midwest conference in Chicago. (Source: B&R Industrial Automation)
Drive-on-motor has been tried several times, and is making a resurgence again. Depending on how the drive and motor are integrated, failure of one can be twice as costly as when the drive and motor are more traditionally separated.
Putting the drive out in a production environment invites this sort of failure. The production environment may be extremely hot, or extremely dirty, or extremely wet. Any of these may lead to that more costly failure.
Finally, there's the amount of space needed for the drive when piggy-backed to the motor. Many times the space inside a machine is sufficient for the motor only (and sometimes, not even then).
Protecting the drive electronics is no harder than protecting the motors. Properly designed motor controls can withstand the same harsh enviroments as the motors they control, perhaps even more so given that the electronics can be fully sealed since they have no moving parts. I would argue that the modular motor/control set is easier to replace since it has fewer connections with only power and comm, whereas a separate controller must also route sensor wiring. I have been designing and using modular motor control electronics for years and am always pleased with how clean the connectivity is in the final product.
Several suppliers do offer IP67 rated motor-drives, which is often the level of protection used in packaging. Obviously the specifics of the application are vital but many of these units are finding their way into packaging capitalizing on their ability to provide distributed control.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.