Moore's Law has long applied to advancements in technology-based industries. Servo- and Automation have benefited particularly from exponential advancements in memory as well as processing power, and most recently, astounding gains in sensor technology performance vs. price. Here is one definition of a servo system that I will use to limit the scope of what I share in this and future blog posts:
- Servo system is electronic (vs. pneumatic or hydraulic or other)
- Servo system consists of:
- Control that generates a signal indicating a target force/torque, and/or a target velocity, and/or target position.
- Digital amplifier (controlled by microprocessor, DSP, Gate Array, or any combination), which accepts the control signal and transmutes it and amplifies it in such a way that it can commutate an electric motor.
- Electric motor (may be linear or rotary, and may use any electromagnetic method to generate force/torque)
- External error-measurement device (e.g. resolver, encoder, potentiometer, etc.)
This definition assumes the control and/or the amplifier must accept the external error signal and compare to the desired result generated by the control, and filter the information to best control the electric motor.
Here is a good example of a servo system using precise control and feedback to position within a fraction of a width of Scotch(TM) tape.
- Interconnection method and apparatus (such as cables & connectors)
- Wired and wireless communication (e.g. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, etc.), as well as related protocols (e.g. EtherCAT, CANopen, Ethernet/IP, Profinet, etc.).
Please stay tuned. I hope future blogs will draw your attention to interesting applications in servo and automation.