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Covering tools and technology for motion control engineers designing for electrical and mechanical systems.
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Designing with Motion Control in Mind

Daniel Repp,Robert Spadarzewski | October 28, 2019

Whether designers are improving a motion-centric machine or building a new one, it is essential they begin with motion control in mind. Then they can develop the design around the best way to get effective and efficient automation. Motion-based machine …

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Reducing load inertia

Bob Parente | October 18, 2019

In our last posting we found that a gearbox reduces the load inertia that is attached to the gearbox’s output shaft by the inverse square of the gear ratio (gr) or: J reflected = J load/gr2 The inertia reduction can come in very handy when trying to si …

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Calculating reflected inertia for linear systems (cont.)

Bob Parente | September 26, 2019

In the last several postings we saw how a ball screw changed the rotary motion of the stepper motor to linear motion. We calculated the rotational equivalent of a 200 pound linear load that was effectively reduced by the inverse square of the pitch or …

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Calculating reflected inertia for linear systems

Bob Parente | May 22, 2019

Review from last time In the last several postings we talked about ball screws and acme screws along with the advantages and disadvantages of both of them. In this posting we’ll get to calculate the inertia that this type of rotary-to-linear converter …

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Which Motors Are the Best: Servos or Steppers?

John Brokaw | May 16, 2019

One of the more critical decisions engineers can make when designing any type of motion control process is choosing the motor. Getting the right motor, both in terms of type and size, is imperative to the final machine’s operational efficiency. Further …

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Back driving ball screws and dropping loads

Bob Parente | May 3, 2019

Revisiting last time In our last posting we discussed the pros and cons of an acme screw. The self-locking characteristic was an important feature that prevented the load from being dropped when the servo amplifier tripped out from an over current cond …

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A tale of two states and an ACME screw axis

Bob Parente | April 17, 2019

An ACME screw story In our last posting we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of ball screws and ACME (lead) screws. In the next two postings I’ll share two stories, one about the Road Runner and the other about Wile E Coyote…If you’re just …

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ACME screws – a cost effective alternative to ball screws

Bob Parente | March 20, 2019
ACME Screw Linear Actuator Motors

In our last posting, we talked about the positional accuracy of a point of the moveable plate or work surface of our ball screw table with the terms roll, pitch, and yaw. The application that you’re trying to solve should be with the most cost-effective positioning solution.

Linear Systems: Bearing Supports and End Fixity

Bob Parente | February 20, 2019

Let’s start this discussion with the bearing supports for the ball screw. Let’s assume we have a ball screw that is 18” long and it provides 12” of travel. We have 3” on both ends that have been machined down past the root of the thread to form a smooth surface to install bearings that will support the screw. Let’s place the screw so it’s oriented left to right and our stepper motor and its coupling is on the left. We could install a number of bearing combinations on both ends of the ball screw that’s easier to define with a table:

Linear Systems: Thread precision and mechanical backlash

Bob Parente | February 8, 2019

In our last posting, we introduced leadscrews, ball screws and linear slides. We’re going to continue with that discussion by considering how accurately the threads are cut into the screw. Using the five-pitch screw as an example, we understand that five revolutions are supposed to move the plate one inch, but what happens if the thread is cut too long or too short. Five revolutions might move the plate 0.990” or 1.010”.

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