Advantages of Industrial Servo Drives
Servo drives are small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, yet they’re capable of controlling thousands of watts of power and processing data at lightning-fast speeds.
These tiny controls are responsible for giant gains across a variety of major industries, including robotics, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Servo drives provide numerous technical and practical advantages, and in many ways, the technology is better than ever.
Versatility and Flexibility
Servo controllers are versatile yet highly specialized. Today, engineers can choose from an impressive array of off-the-shelf products. Standard controls typically support multiple communication protocols, including EtherCAT, CANOpen, USB and Ethernet, as well as various loop configurations.
Servo drives are available for low-, high- or ultrahigh voltage applications, and most systems can handle a variety of input and output levels.
Thanks to versatile ready-made products, design teams can source customized drives while saving time and money.
Servo Drive for Efficiency and Savings
Modern servo drives are cost effective. Competitive hardware prices coupled with increased drive capabilities have helped to propel the automation industry forward.
Today, one drive can manage multiple motors and control a network of devices, which can exponentially reduce equipment-related expenses.
This benefits industries like manufacturing, warehousing and distribution where advanced robotic systems perform complex automated tasks. Intelligent drives can also help companies maintain operational efficiency by reducing waste, optimizing motor performance and increasing accuracy.
Programming and Network Integration
As the industry matures, servo technology has started to show its true potential. Although drives are just one piece of a motion control network, they help all the parts work together. Thanks to standardized communication protocols and proprietary software, programming technology has evolved to the point where intelligent drives can help servo motors perform more efficiently.
This has the potential to enhance every automated process. User-friendly technology also allows engineers to capitalize on performance data, and it provides benefits throughout the design, testing and implementation phases.
Servo designs today aren’t just smaller and lighter. They’re more powerful. One device can control more than 100 axis points while providing a high level of synchronization.
This means that one machine can complete multiple manufacturing or materials handling procedures seamlessly. Increased data processing capacities have expanded the frontiers of mechatronics by giving engineers access to a nearly unlimited range of motion control possibilities.
These enhancements have been particularly valuable in the robotics industry where cost efficiency and feasibility are tied to the machine’s capabilities.
Servo Drives for Functional Safety
Servo drives help machines perform the correct task at the proper time. This is especially important when people are interacting with heavy equipment in a warehouse or on the factory floor.
Functional safety is a complex and mission-critical part of the design process. In an industrial setting, servo drives must communicate with proximity sensors, user controls, fault-detection systems and mechanical brakes.
For safety reasons, many motion control drives incorporate layered protocols at the input, output and logic levels to provide fail-safe protection.
What’s Next for Servo Drive Technology?
The motion control industry is growing at such a rapid pace that even experts struggle to imagine what breakthroughs might occur in the next few years.
New servo drive designs are responsible for exciting innovations in smart manufacturing, autonomous vehicles and machine learning, but the best is yet to come.