Two major trends have greatly impacted the Motion Controls industry, and are currently affecting the global controls market: safety and single-cable servo motors. Therefore, knowing about the changing trends beforehand can serve as a great way to route the selection of your automation hardware in the right direction.
The first trend is the industry-wide approach towards increased adoption of safety. This was quite a predictable trend, as with the passage of time system engineers were placing greater emphasis on safety of their equipment. Ensuring maximum protection has become a priority, one that is necessary for greater continuity of production as well as decent return on investments.
The Safety Torque Off (STO) is the most common feature currently being embedded within servo drives in order to increase their protection. The European Market has led this push for safety which has eventually made its way across the Atlantic to the US. Still, greater parts of the world view STOs as a way to differentiate products rather than as a stringent requirement for operation. The trends show a sudden shift within Asian markets as Japan seems to be the only country to have widely implemented it, with over 60 percent of such shipments within the servo drive category.
More safety features to take over the servo drive market are Safe Stop 1 and 2, safe speed monitor, limited speed and safe direction. Optional software and hardware modules are also available for enhancing the functionalities of servo drives that ultimately lead to greater efficiency however cause a major problem. As you may have guessed, the cost of servo drives is greatly affected by such additional installations, triggering a serious problem for suppliers when it comes to anticipating the features that would be highest in demand by a specific industrial group.
Single-Cable Servo Motors
The development of single-cable servo motors has had a significant impact on the motion control marketplace. The use of analog signals between the motor and drive in traditional servo motors increases the risk of electromagnetic interference. This results in the use of separate housing for each cable, resulting in a two cable inputs for each motor. On a larger scale, this adds to maintenance costs as well as cluttering within the industrial environment.
The use of digital signal for transmitting feedback eliminates such wastages, and saves resources required for the extra installation. The digital encoder technology has been around for quite a while, but only recently garnered popularity within the industry due to the increased trend towards large-scale automation.
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