Q: What are the trends in high precision motion systems?
A: In precision motion control, there is a drive for lower costs and smaller designs that are more efficient. The goal is to keep the cost down, make products smaller, and provide selectable levels of integration services rather than only supplying components. The key is a package that integrates the tools needed for the specific application, and making it all fit in the envelope. It is a constant striving to make things smaller and still make things fit, while keeping the costs down as you do it.
Q: What are the key factors as systems continue to move toward even higher levels of precision?
A: Customizations and flexibility are critical to providing engineering solutions, since most applications require some kind of special requirements. There is a push to cost-effectively provide a wide range of affordable options, including network communications, fieldbus protocols, drive size requirements to reduce the size of the control package, custom cable harnesses, and custom connectors. For OEMs, it's important to provide selectable levels of integration, so engineers can buy components, subassemblies and/or testing services to meet specific requirements.
Q: What key technologies are driving high precision systems?
A: Overall, we're seeing a technology migration with linear motors, air bearings, and high-resolution systems providing key advantages and higher performance. Integrating the rotary motor into the positioning table itself, so it becomes an unwound servo motor, is a definite trend. Air bearing technology is becoming more common.