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At Kollmorgen, there are more and more female employees every year, which really helps to broaden overall perspectives. Everyone agrees that diversity drives innovation and these values apply to the group at every level.

We are now living in a digital world. E-commerce consumers expect goods to be delivered faster and more flexibly than was the case just a couple of years ago. Organizations, retailers, and their warehouse service providers therefore need to find new ways to move, store, and dispatch goods with agility and accuracy. Add the widespread shortage of labor and you have an indisputable case for automated solutions to meet the myriad of challenges.

Robotic joint design almost always involves tradeoffs. But does it have to be that way? Let’s look at the three most common compromises.

If you’re looking for precise motion with easy setup, then stepper motors should be your first choice when building or upgrading a machine.

To get the most out of your stepper motor, you need to pair it with the proper drive. There are three critical elements to keep in mind when making your selection: voltage, current and inductance. Each one plays an important part in a motor’s performance, and not accounting for these parameters can lead to poor performance or even cause the motor to overheat and fail—resulting in lost production time and increased maintenance costs. 

Missiles operate in some of the most demanding conditions. They can experience massive heat flux when going through the layers of the earth’s atmosphere and because of the sheer speed that the missile is traveling at. With speeds in excess of 10,000 kilometers per hour, they require components that can provide reliability and precise motion under these conditions. And with the need to respond to higher demands for performance, the technology powering these missiles needs to deliver more torque and power in relation to weight.

For rapidly evolving Aerospace and Defense (A&D) requirements, engineers are facing many challenges to keep up with ever evolving demands. From supply chain issues to changing government regulations, companies are being tasked with not only navigating these global issues but also providing more value-based technologies, reliable products, and constant innovation.  

The Low Voltage Directive defines low voltage from 50 – 1000 Vac, or 120 – 1500 Vdc, which is based on the mains voltage used to power the electrical system and ties in with specific IEC regulations on safety and risk of shock and arcing. When low voltage motors are discussed in the context of servo motors however, low voltage is focused on battery operated applications. While standard industry brushless motors are typically operated at 120 – 480 Vac, low voltage servo motors are optimized at voltages ranging for 24 – 96 Vdc. By definition, voltages in this range are considered by the IEC to be in the Extra Low Voltage (ELV) category.

All electric motors heat up during operation, which is simply a product of passing current through a coil of wire. Electric motors use copper wire to form coils that are part of the electromagnetic circuit required to produce rotation. While copper is a very good conductor, it does have resistance that causes the copper to heat up. The amount of current delivered to the motor along with the winding resistance determines how hot it gets. The nature of stepper motor operation requires full rated current to be applied at all times, which differs from a servo motor that provides only the required current to produce the desired motion.

The performance benefits of direct-drive motors are well documented: industry-leading performance, improved accuracy, higher throughput, better reliability and quieter operations. This is because, unlike a conventional motion setup, a direct-drive system connects the rotary or linear motor directly to the load, reducing the number of moving parts in the system.

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