Editorial Feature

Why is Motion Control Important for Robot Innovation?

Incorporating advanced motion control into automated processes is becoming more frequent as manufacturing and industrial demands grow.

Why is Motion Control Important for Robot Innovation?

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

With robots utilized in almost every industry, precision motion control is needed more than ever. This article will explore why precise and advanced motion control systems are important for innovation in robots.

What is Motion Control?

Motion control, also known as servo control or robotics, is a branch of automation that focuses on precisely controlling the movement of various components inside a machine. Power, efficiency, and movement precision are critical in applications like manufacturing lines.

An effective motion control system allows for movement and guarantees that a machine may come to a halt completely. The movement of different parts of machines can be controlled by using rotary and linear actuators.

Machine position and velocity may be regulated using a motion control device such as an electric motor, hydraulic pump, or servo actuator. Industrial operations use motion control to move specified loads carefully. Hence, controlling the movement of objects falls under motion control.

What are the Components of Motion Control?

Motion control does not refer to a single component or technique; it consists of several components that work together to create a motion. A motion control system consists of a controller, motor drive, motors, and feedback sensors.

A controller is known as the brain of the system, which uses the feedback from different sensors and control motors and drives. The motor drive connects the controller and motor. It reads the input of controllers and powers the motor to create the required motion.

Many distinct motors are used in motion control systems, each with a unique set of capabilities. Their primary job is to accept commands from the motor drive and then translate those commands into actual movement inside the machine. The motor types include servo motors, stepper motors and linear actuators.

Significance of Advances in Motion Control for Robot Innovation

Each robot system is designed and developed in such a way that it is able to successfully carry out the specified task.  Control systems enable the movement and operation of different components of a robot and the execution of movements and forces in the face of unforeseen flaws.

One of the most important parts of any robot is its motion and how to control it precisely. The requirement for advanced motion control algorithms and components has increased significantly. Using advance control system algorithms, the control actuation, as well as the system’s performance, can be controlled optimally. This makes the robot consume less energy and carry out the assigned task efficiently and accurately.

Achieving  Precise Motion Control

Robots often have to interact with physical objects with uncertain properties and positions. Physical systems are often surrounded by factors not included in initial simulations, such as unforeseen errors, disturbances, and nonlinearities such as backlash. This necessitates efficient, advanced, and robust control algorithms as well as the other components of a motion control system.

The motors and motor drives should be energy efficient as well. The feedback sensor should have a high sampling frequency which also requires a high-end microprocessor. All the components need to be very efficient in their own domain.

Solutions for Motion Control Components

Currently, many companies are providing efficient and robust solutions for motion control systems. Motion Control Products is a leading technology firm that provides versatile and high-power density servo motors, which are components of a motion control system.

Advance Motion Controls makes high-performance servo drives and motor controllers. AMC delivers brushed and brushless motor drives created utilizing digital servo technology and analog servo knowledge.

PI (Physik instrumente) LP manufactures piezo motors, air bearing stages, piezo nanopositioning equipment, and hexapod 6-DOF parallel-kinematics for semiconductor production, photonics, bio-nanotechnology, and medical engineering.

Cleveland Motion Controls provides Brushless Servo Motors, Servo Motors, Linear Actuators, Servo Amplifiers, Motion Controllers, Web Tension Control, and Load Cells.

Precision Micro Dynamics Inc. makes high-performance motion control solutions. Polaris, our new distributed control and data collecting system, has the greatest feedback rates, widest dynamic range, and best usability. Similarly, many other companies have already started working on providing cost and performance-efficient solutions in this domain.

Applications of Motion Control

Motion control includes industrial, medical, and scientific applications with extensive classes. Precise motion control systems (MCSs) have provided users with new degrees of freedom. The robots with precise MCSs are now used in baking cakes, cookies, and other food items.

Advanced robots are now used in healthcare. These robots are composed of highly precise motion control systems that are now being used to assist in surgeries and even do distant surgeries, where doctors control the robots from a remote area to perform surgery. Automatic surgeries are possible now, just because of the precise MCSs.

These robots are being used in manufacturing industries to make precise and accurate objects. These robots are not only precise and accurate in their operations but also reduce the cost of the tasks significantly.

Challenges and Future of Motion Control

It is no doubt that the technology at this time has progressed, and precise motion control components and algorithms are available. Still, researchers must focus on hardware problems and discover efficient control techniques. Industrial robots need to take advantage of advanced motion control systems to enable innovation in both their design and industry as a whole.

Continue reading: Trends in Robot Motion Control Technologies

References and Further Reading

Brockett, R.W. (1993) ‘Hybrid Models for Motion Control Systems’, Essays on Control, 0164, pp. 29–53. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4612-0313-1_2.

Ibrahim, A. et al. (2016) ‘Control Systems in Robotics: A Review’, International Journal of Engineering Inventions, 5(5), pp. 29–38. Available at: Control Systems in Robotics: A Review.

Romeo, J. (2021) Precise Motion Control Provides Robots New Degrees of Freedom, robotics247. Available at: https://www.robotics247.com/article/precise_motion_control_enables_many_degrees_of_freedom

Saykin, A.M. and Buznikov, S.E. (2021) ‘Principles of building competitive motion control systems for highly automated vehicles’, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2061(1). Available at: doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/2061/1/012133.

What is Motion Control? (2019) heason. Available at: https://www.heason.com/ 

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Muhammad Adeel Ahsan

Written by

Muhammad Adeel Ahsan

Adeel is an aerospace engineer and a robotics enthusiast. He has been providing services related to aerospace on Upwork and Fiverr for more than 2 years. Being passionate about control engineering, machine learning and AI, he wants to pursue his career in these fields. He loves to travel around the world and make new friends worldwide. He has just started his research journey and will soon publish research papers related to control engineering, robotics and AI.


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