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Why Direct Drive? – The top 5 advantages of direct drive motors.

09 Oct 2019
Nate Field

Let’s start with the definition of direct drive. In a conventional system, the moving elements of a machine are connected to the motor via gears, belts and couplings:

Traditional servomotor and gearhead

By contrast, in a direct drive system the rotary or linear motor is connected directly to the load. Here are the top 5 advantages gained by doing this:

  1. Precision: Stay on target. With the motor coupled directly to the load, gearbox backlash and belt compliance are no longer degrading your repeatability. Who's afraid of a 500:1 load inertia mismatch? Not us. For example: Kollmorgen AKD Direct Drive Servo Systems
  2. Reliability: For when it absolutely, positively must keep working overnight. When mechanical power transmission components are eliminated by using a direct drive solution, there’s fewer things to fail. You can even take it one step further with a cartridge motor design and eliminate bearings from the motor altogether. For example: Glass Printing Success Story
  3. Size Weight and Power (SWaP): Bigger is not always better. When couplings, gearboxes and other power transmission components are eliminated, the power density of the system increases. Pack more power into the same package size, or keep the same power and reduce size. Take it to the next level and eliminate the motor housing as well by embedding a frameless direct drive motion solution. Afraid of integrating an embedded motor into your machine? You shouldn’t be: Who's Afraid of Mounting a Frameless Motor?
  4. Speed: When you feel the need for speed, direct drive technology can help maximize the productivity of your machine. The higher accelerations enabled by direct drive technology can shave precious milliseconds from your index times and increase your throughput. For example: Kollmorgen KBM Direct Drive Rotary Motor Indexing Application
  5. Profit: At the end of the day, it’s all about the Benjamins. Reduced maintenance and unscheduled downtime costs along with enhanced efficiency and capability add up to greater value delivered to the customer. For example: Direct Drive vs Mechanical Transmissions on Lab Equipment

Tell us about the difference direct drive technology has made to your application.

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About the Author

Nate Field, Kollmorgen

Nate joined Kollmorgen in 2007 and has held a variety of positions supporting the engineering, operations, and commercial teams. His current responsibilities include Program Management for Aerospace & Defense accounts as well as Large Motor production. Nate received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and his MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC, Chapel Hill. Nate’s main hobby outside of work is being active with his wife and three children. You can reach him at [email protected]

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