Software plays an increasingly important part in most electronic systems but no amount of software is sufficient to operate without hardware. In most cases, the software requires a substantial amount of hardware. The hardware includes critical electromechanical products such as motors, actuators, switches, circuit breakers, relays, enclosures, hardware, fans, and heat sinks. In control systems, any movement at the end of the process to change either the linear or the rotary position requires motors or actuators.
In general, the power for these applications could range from very low fractional horsepower to several kilowatts. The focus in this section is more towards the low-power area where the voltage is typically well below 100V, although one product specifically targets fan applications up to 230V ac and another addresses a broader voltage range.
The voltage range and required power output also constrain the size of the motor or actuator so the units in this section are relatively small—typically less than 10 inches3 for the motors. One actuator even boasts being the smallest linear actuator. Even though the motors and actuators are, for the most part, lower voltage, a motion controller is discussed that can address higher power applications. The one higher voltage motor operates up to 230V ac but the fan control application it targets is lower power with a maximum rating of 4 hp.
Integration is one of the approaches that many suppliers use to meet the performance of the end application and provide added value to customers. This section has integration as a means to an end rather than a specific identified trend. However, a case could be made that it is a trend that deserves mention as well.