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Posted on 16th Oct 2023

Learning Motor Control: Key Aspects

Lenze Drive - Industrial Automation

CM Industry Supply Automation blog examines how motor control designs and functions—from straightforward grid-connected motors to intricate multi-axis servo drive systems—are changing to suit the demands of Industry 4.0. The complexity of automation needed to offer the greater levels of efficiency, adaptability, and autonomy demanded by the quick digitalization of consumers, supply chains, and smart manufacturing has sped up this transition. Motor control systems are becoming more complicated as a result of the demand for agile production and easier access to production data.

CM Industry Supply Automation, based on reconfigurable production lines, is necessary to enable more customization and quicker turnaround times as industries change to meet consumer demand and changing customer behaviors. High mix, low volume production is replacing low mix, high volume manufacturing as a result of consumer demand, and it necessitates more flexibility on the factory floor. Industrial and collaborative robots can now carry out difficult, repetitive, and frequently hazardous jobs, resulting in improved throughput and higher output. The demand for increasingly sophisticated, adaptable, autonomous, and intelligent automation hardware—of which motor control systems are at the core—has increased as a result of this change in production patterns.

By 2023, global spending on digital transformation will total $6.8 trillion. When paired with external sensors for vibration monitoring and other process factors, variable speed drives can provide access to equipment data in the form of voltages, currents, position, temperature, power, and energy consumption. Motor and machine data and insights are now easier to access with a converged IT/OT Ethernet network, and they can be analyzed by powerful cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve manufacturing processes and keep track of the current health of the assets throughout the entire installation. Energy usage in smart manufacturing will be further decreased by this streamlining of the manufacturing process.

To achieve this, motion control systems are moving towards a converged connectivity scenario, where Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN)-based systems, standardized around the IEEE802.1 network standards [3], gradually replace legacy, mixed Industrial Ethernet communication protocols. This is shown in Figure 1. As a result, time-synchronized data from end equipment will be instantly accessible throughout the whole network.

A Variety of Motor Control Techniques

In the end, modern production systems will combine simpler and more complex motor control systems, like those shown in Figure 2, with networked, sensor-integrated, synchronized systems increasingly replacing grid-connected and simple inverter drives. Here, each of these motor control "flavors" and the purposes they serve are briefly discussed.

Grid-Connected Motor: These straightforward motion options operate at a largely constant pace. Although there are relatively few true constant-speed applications in industry, these will still be utilized in circumstances where motor operation is very sporadic and the expense of a VSD is not justified (for example, low power, sporadic use blowers, pumps, valves, and actuators).

Inverter Driven Motor: By using an open-loop inverter to drive the motor at the speed that is best for the load and application, it is possible to significantly reduce energy usage. Applications include blowers, pumps, fans, and simpler control systems like platform movers.

A variable speed drive (VSD) such as Lenze Drive, Keb Drive, Siemens Drive and more allows precise torque, velocity, and position control for motion control applications requiring higher performance. The fundamental open-loop inverter drive is supplemented by current and position measurements to accomplish this. Machines for conveyors, winding, printing, and extrusion are common examples of applications that require VSDs.

Servo-Driven System: In more complicated motion applications, synchronized, multi-axis servo-driven systems are used. Multiple axes must be synchronized with extremely precise position feedback in order for machine tools and CNC machines to function. Multi-axis servo drives are widely used in additive manufacturing and precision machining.

Industrial robots, collaborative robots, and mobile robots: To achieve complicated 3D spatial placement, industrial robots need multi-axis servo drives in conjunction with mechanical integration and cutting-edge machine control algorithms. With the addition of power and force limiting (PFL) and safety sensing, collaborative robots (cobots) build on industrial robotic systems to provide functionally safe, multi-axis machine control that allows an operator to work safely alongside the cobot. Localization sensing and collision avoidance are added by mobile robots. Robotics systems are increasingly being used for tasks including handling, palletizing, pick-and-place, packing, and logistics in addition to conventional car manufacturing.