International standards for motion control

Feb. 16, 2006
This paper seeks to expand knowledge in the area of motion control standards so that those involved in the field can take better advantage of them as one strategy for the continued growth of the industry.
By Greg Winchester, Program Manager, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

THE AREA of technical standards can be one of the more confusing aspects of the motion control field. One of the reasons for this is that there is, as yet, no single, unified, complete set of standards for motion control anywhere in the world.

As the motion control industry both changes and matures, there are clear indications that standards in such areas as terminology, interfaces, and performance test procedures are playing a key role in the growth of the industry. Nevertheless, the pace of standardization has barely kept up with this growth. This may in part be due to the lack of understanding regarding the benefits of standardization, what standards currently exist -- and do not exist -- for motion control technology, and the process of creating and maintaining standards, particularly international standards.