Motion Challenges

Resources on How Machine Builders Are Keeping Their Motors Innovative and Running Properly

By Katherine Bonfante

The cold weather is finally here, and we know that once its gets chilly and snow starts to come down, we all tend to exercise less. As usual, the holiday season somehow just signals our brains to bundle up, eat up and exercise less. Yet, there are some fitness aficionados that stay motivated and stick to their exercise routines. Maybe they come up with innovative ways to challenge their motors (body) and keep them running, or maybe, like machine builders, they understand how mechanical motors run.

SEE ALSO: Get Your Motor Running

Talking about challenging mechanical motors, I remember reading the article "From A to B with Mechanical Control," written by ex-semiconductor process engineer Hank Hogan. In it, Hogan said that for some motion control challenges, a simple solution might be the best. Hogan used M&R Printing of Glen Ellyn, Ill., as an example.

M&R Printing prints sports and concert T-shirts, but they had to make their printing processes faster. Printing 650–1,000 T-shirts in an hour wasn't good enough to meet their clients' demands, and the company needed a cost-effective solution to their problem.

Initially, they thought of using a direct-drive mechanism, but even though this was effective, it was also more expensive than using a pneumatic method. M&R Printing opted to use mechanical motion control instead.

Rad this article, and learn more about M&R Printing's challenge and how they effectively met their customers' demands.

Another interesting article on the subject is "Robots and Machines Become Partners in Motion," which was written by senior technical editor Dan Hebert, and touches on the increasing popularity of robots in industrial machine environments.

Hebert noted that, since 2012, robots have become easier and cheaper to use. The Robotic Industries Assn. (RIA) also reported booming sale statistics for robots that same year. Maybe their cheap prices influenced industry professionals to invest in robots, or maybe it was their high-performance and efficiency.

Machine builders started to see robots as a tool to assist a press or an injection molder. And, because robots progressed to the point where use and integration is much simpler, vast opportunities opened up for use in factory automation.

Read this article to find out how Intelligrated in Cincinnati builds material handling solutions using mechanical robots.

Finally, we recently conducted an audience survey on motion, drives and motors. We wanted to know about the usage and application trends of motion, drives and motors among the industrial machine builders that comprise our readership. Some of the main questions we presented were:

• What types of motors do you primarily use?

• If you use servo motors are they mostly for digital or analog?

• If you use steppers are they closed loop or open loop?

• What is the biggest motion control challenge for you?