Automation is the name of the game these days. Every industry is trying to streamline its manufacturing process. Automated equipment requires fewer hands and offer consistent quality goods in large volume. These automated machines make industries competitive; cutting down their manufacturing costs and time.
Precision motion devices fulfil the unique demands of process automation with its advanced technology and components, such as motors and electronic hardware. In short, automation replaces human workers with machines, which are typically electro-mechanical assemblies. Its benefits include increased productivity, lower downtime and product features which have consistent look and feel.
Precision control, automation and process control all form parts of the automation regime. The objective is very clear; to use these high precision machines for tasks which require pinpoint positioning. Some of the electro mechanical products used in automation environments are:
1. Servo motors and drives.
2. Linear motion equipments including tables and actuators.
3. Multi axis motors/controllers.
4. Planetary motors.
5. Feedback mechanisms.
One of the subsets of automation is motion control. Motion controllers are devices such as, linear actuators or motors (Servo motor) where the position or the velocity is controlled to a preset parameter. It forms an integral part of many industrial and semi-industrial plants such as car, paper, textiles and computer aided fabrication units. They are also used in CNC & 3D prototyping machines. In a car plant, motion control is used to program robots for various precision tasks.
Motion controller consists of several components such as encoders, linear actuators and of course servo drives to generate set points; typically from point A to point B and back. This process of linear or velocity motion control is looped to provide uninterrupted and precision based production environment.
Apart from the above components, belts, screwballs, linear tables, joints, gears and bearings are some of the other essential accessories.
Automation controller maintains a steady parameter by comparing the measured unit with the desired unit. It then manipulates one of the inputs to provide consistent output. This is typically applicable to control loop systems where the process is repeated again and again, providing precision velocity or linear movement. These perpetual or closed loop controls receive corrective signals from the controller, called negative feedback.
Automation controllers can run manufacturing plants, machinery and devices without external intervention. On their part, humans just have to look out for mechanical or electrical failures.