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New and Interesting Applications deriving benefits from Servo Technologies

04 Nov 2013
Scott Evans

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: 

  1. Servo system is electronic (vs. pneumatic or hydraulic or other)
  2. 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.)


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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.

About the Author

Scott Evans - Author
Scott has been with Kollmorgen for 7 years, currently as Director of Global Product Planning. Scott also has played the role of Business Unit Director for the Americas for Kollmorgen. Scott was founder of Advanced Digital, a designer and manufacturer of servo drives ultimately acquired by Lenze. In Scott's role as Global Product Planner for Kollmorgen, he has been very fortunate to find and even occasionally participate in some creative and fantastic experiments. Scott intends to use this blog to share interesting articles about new products or services that leverage a servo system, or use key components that one may find in a servo system. You can reach Scott here: Scott Evans
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