The hybrid servomotor has been a useful piece of equipment in industry for a very long time, and for good reason. It’s both versatile and accurate and can be used in a wide number of applications.
The hybrid part comes from its ability to work as a hybrid of a permanent magnet motor and a variable reluctance motor, a combination that improves the motor’s torque. San Dimas, Calif.-based QuickSilver Controls has long been known for taking a hybrid step motor and converting it into a servomotor using software. More recently, the company has integrated a drive on a servomotor to create a fully integrated system. And it has put its patented magnetic encoder, the Mosolver, on it to provide precision position sensing.
QuickSilver recently brought its SilverMax integrated hybrid servomotor line out of retirement and back to its product catalog. Since the line was removed from the market briefly for patent purposes, the company used that time to develop new capabilities and enhancements in the non-integrated space and apply these advancements to the SilverMax family. According to Don Labriola, QuickSilver’s president, customers held the SilverMax in high regard and have been pleased by the return of the series.
“We have improved the driver and algorithms to improve smoothness of the motion,” Labiola told Design News. “We have doubled the current rating of the driver, expanded the instructions, expanded the program size capabilities, and increased the user registers. We have increased feedback resolution. We have added Modbus and CANopen as well as DMX and 1-2ms PWM capability (used by R/C controllers). Two control threads may now be run simultaneously with a motion.”
The SilverMax series has been widely deployed in a number of industries ranging from scientific equipment to injection molding, CNC grinding, labeling, winding applications, and many other general automation spaces. The company’s non-integrated lines have been deployed across a wide variety of applications from animatronics to military. QuickSilver also has a strong presence in the precision pumping market because of its motors’ ability to handle high inertial mismatches as well as high friction.
Hybrid servos are ideal for the direct drive of lead screws and belt drives, and can eliminate the need for gearheads, which makes them more efficient and affordable by saving cost, size, and weight, and gearhead maintenance. In most applications, the company’s hybrid servomotors are able to directly drive lead screws and belt drives.
“The gearhead also introduces backlash into the system, which tends to grow as time passes; teeth wear out,” Labriola told Design News. “Backlash reduces accuracy and can also destabilize some control systems as the load gets disengaged from the motor while the teeth are not engaged. Suddenly having no load on the motor looks like much higher gain to the system (torque/inertia, and the inertia drops significantly when the gear teeth are not touching) – this may cause oscillation in many systems at load reversal. In fact, a gearhead with low backlash and long life, may cost as much as the integrated hybrid servo motor itself,” he said.
The reintroduced SilverMax’s interpretative command language allows for program creation, modification, and debugging using the company’s QuickControl environment. The company has updated the programming environment and added commands.
“We’ve added high-precision electronic gearing allowing fractional gearing to one part in 100 million as well as exact ratios (i.e., 7/33),” Labriola said. “We have added approximately ten times the number of user registers and five times the program space. The SilverMax can run two independent user threads plus a motion.
“Communications including CANopen are in their own threads. We’ve added commands to support flying knives. We have developed a very good debugging environment allowing tracing, breakpoints, move to line, modifying registers while running, charting, and a lot of other features,” he added.
The result is an improved ability for customers to support themselves, according to Labriola.
[image via QuickSilver Controls]
Tracey Schelmetic graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. and began her long career as a technology and science writer and editor at Appleton & Lange, the now-defunct medical publishing arm of Simon & Schuster. Later, as the editorial director of telecom trade journal Customer Interaction Solutions (today Customer magazine) she became a well-recognized voice in the contact center industry. Today, she is a freelance writer specializing in manufacturing and technology, telecommunications, and enterprise software.
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