Integrated motor + driver = design versatility

DN Staff

March 25, 2002

2 Min Read
Integrated motor + driver = design versatility

"Let system designers choose the best method of control." That's the philosophy Intelligent Motion Systems (headquartered in Marlborough, CT) had in mind when the company recently introduced its "MDrive" integrated motor and driver. The compact unit combines a NEMA 17 or 23 enhanced-torque stepping motor with a 12 to 48 or 24 to 75V microstepping drive, but leaves the controller out. Users save not only valuable design and assembly time, but money.

Becasue MDrive's heat transfer is limited by convection, rather than conduction, a thermoplastic enclosure with a thermal conductivity of 20W/mK achieves nearly the same thermal results as an aluminum enclosure at 150 W/mK. The use of plastic not only allows more intricate moldings to accommodate parts and maintain close tolerances, it costs less than die cast or investment cast housings.

Integrated motor/driver assemblies often contain the controller as part of the package. Users specify such subassemblies to save the cost of integration. However, as IMS President David Coutu observes, an indexer on every axis may not be the best solution for many applications. "If you have multiple axes," he says, "you are spending a lot of money for intelligence you don't necessarily need."

MDrive maintains the simplicity of an integrated motor and driver without the expense of an indexer. Depending on application, users select their own control scheme. A graphical user interface-included on a CD that ships with the product, and also available at configuration easy; there are no external switches or resistors. Setup parameters, which include microstep resolution and run-and-hold currents, can be changed on-the-fly via SPI port, or downloaded and stored in non-volatile memory.

Integrated electronics save space by removing the drive from the control panel. Furthermore, they eliminate the need to run motor cabling through the machine, reducing the potential for electrical noise problems. "Because motor leads are self-contained, EMI is less," Coutu explains, adding "Our electronics minimize current surges from the power supply which also helps lower EMI."

MDrive is available in three different stack lengths (13, 15, and 19).

Applications include medical and semiconductor where cost concerns, space problems, and time-to-market requirements are critical.

Additional Details

Contact Intelligent Motion Systems, 370 N. Main St., Box 457, Malborough, CT 06447; Tel: (860) 295-6102; Fax: (860) 295-6107; or Enter 501.

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