All About Motion Control Systems

Within the automation industry, motion control systems and subsystems play a crucial role in the controlled movement of machine parts. Generally, these systems employ computerized controls to manage and manipulate the actions of an actuator in regard to positioning, speed, force, and/or pressure. More advanced models also integrate technology to capture critical process data and feedback for the optimization of future operations.

The following blog post provides an overview of motion control systems, outlining the basic components and how to choose them appropriately for an application and typical use cases in the industrial sector.

How to Choose the Right Motion Control Components

The three key components of a motion control system are:

  • A motion controller:acts as the central operating component of the system
  • A drive:receives low voltage command signals that prompt the submission of the appropriate voltage and current to the system
  • A feedback device:sends feedback to the motion controller that indicates if and when adjustments are necessary

Altogether, these components allow industry professionals to exert greater control over machine operations. However, they must be carefully chosen with regard to the system architecture for them to offer optimal performance.

The broad selection of motion control components available from vendors across the world and the continuous advancement in the field of motion control technology make selecting the right parts difficult. When evaluating potential motion control parts for a particular application, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. These considerations include:

  • Clearly define system requirements.The first step to choosing motion control components is understanding the requirements of the system in question. Once system conditions are clearly defined, it is easier to select compatible components.
  • Focus on the motion controller.Think of motion controllers as the brains of motion control systems. It’s important to choose a motion controller that is well-suited of the needs of the system. Some of the design elements to consider include coordinated motion requirements, I/O points, multitasking and error-handling capabilities, programming language, and setup software tools.
  • Partner with a vendor that specializes in motion control.These vendors can offer insight and advice about potential components that may be difficult to find elsewhere.
  • Evaluate whether a custom solution is necessary.For highly unique or complex applications, custom-tailored motion control components offer better reliability and performance.

Applications of Motion Control Systems

Automation technology—including motion control systems—finds application across a diverse set of industries, including in the following:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Defense
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Power generation
  • Pulp and paper

Within these industries, customers from a variety of different types of companies employ the technology to facilitate their operations. At Stafford Manufacturing, our clientele stems from companies such as:

  • Market research and consulting firms
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
  • Power transmission and motion control manufacturing companies
  • Power transmission and motion control providers
  • Research and development companies
  • Solution providers
  • System integrators
  • Technology investors
  • Technology standards organizations

Motion Control Components From Stafford Manufacturing

Established in 1975, Stafford Manufacturing is a manufacturer and distributor of a broad selection of high-quality motion control components. Our product offerings include:

  • Rotary encoder collars.Our rotary encoder collars are suitable for adding speed sensing capabilities to shafts in new system installation or retrofitting applications. Their configuration features steel targets that can be read from the face and outer diameter surface and a fully split design that allows for mounting without the need to remove other components. They can be used alongside a compatible sensor mount assembly.
  • Sensor mount systems.Our sensor mount systems are compatible with all popular sizes of electromagnetic sensors. They are available with five threaded collar sizes, six standoff and base height options, and fixed or sliding base configurations.
  • Mounting components and clamps.Our Universal Positioning System facilitates the mounting of motion control components. Its highly adjustable design allows users to move devices freely to suit their needs. In addition, nearly 800 standard mounting components are available individually, making it suitable for use in a wide range of OEM and MRO applications.

The Stafford Advantage

By partnering with us for their motion control component needs, customers benefit from our customizable off-the-shelf products that eliminate the need to invest in costly custom solutions. By integrating our one-piece, two-piece, hinged, Accu-Clamp™, or Staff-Lok™ quick release collars, they can accommodate the requirements and restrictions of their unique applications.

For additional information about our motion control system components, watch our product videos or contact us today.

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