Manufacturing Automation Requires Smart, Precise Motion Control Frameworks with Horsepower
Aug 8, 2018
Carter is an extension of me even though we have little in common. For example, he is big, strong and majestic. Me? Not so much. Despite our differences, we work in unison. Each time we see one other, I put my life in his hands.
Carter is a horse.
We perform dressage, an equestrian sport that requires the horse and rider to dance in synch (not to the boy band) move and sway in beautifully rhythmic fashion; sometimes to music.
Machines in manufacturing similarly work in harmony, albeit in autonomous functions. I’ve been in manufacturing since my graduation from Eastern Illinois University. I began my career working with the behemoth Motorola and since moved to a handful of mid-sized global manufacturers. Regardless of size, they all have one common attribute: precision of manufacturing components and movements to accomplish the end goal. Just like Carter and me when we compete for blue ribbons. (We have lots of them!)
Love of Horse Power and Manufacturing
Although I’ve always loved horses, my first real experience with these athletic beauties was when my husband and I volunteered at a local therapeutic riding facility in 2010. And my love of manufacturing came by working alongside some very smart, talented engineers, first, at Motorola. I have always enjoyed the front row seat in seeing how manufacturing drives innovation and innovation drives manufacturing.
As we’ve all experienced with technology in general, the size of devices continues to get smaller. We’ve seen this same trend in mission control frameworks. In the last five years, AMK Automation has engineered 1) innovative, motion control servo motors 2) machine mountable drives and 3) compact, full-featured controllers that make it possible for manufacturers like Automatic Guided Vehicle original equipment manufacturers to undertake new approaches to their AGV motion control platforms — with a smaller footprint.
No longer is there the need for large, weighty control cabinets when innovation has developed motors and components engineered for tight machine spaces, lighter weights and excellent performance.
In comparison, dressage will always require a 1,000+-pound animal to be flexible and dance.
Borrowing from my horse analogy, as machines, like AGVs, become more complex and undertake a larger role in manufacturing, motion control technology will be much like the rider in dressage. Drive-integrated motors, with drive/converter and I/O mounted directly to the motor, can significantly reduce the size of the control cabinets and converters needed to move an AGV, a conveyor, or a packaging machine in perfect harmony.
Motion Control & Motor Market Growth
Demand for motion control frameworks is increasing, and like most of our technology devices, they are shrinking in size, while increasing in efficiency.
According to the Association for Advancing Automation, for the first nine months of 2017 (latest figures available), motion control shipments increased by 10 percent to $2.6 billion compared to the first nine months of 2016. By product category, Motors comprised 38 percent of shipments, with nearly equal shipments of Actuators and Mechanical Systems (18 percent) and Electronic Drives (17 percent).
During the same nine months, the association also reports that Motion Controllers was the fastest growth category, representing a 24 percent increase, followed by Sensors & Feedback Devices (20 percent), AC Drives (15 percent), Actuators & Mechanical Systems (13 percent) and Motors (11 percent).
All components in the manufacturing process need to work in unison, and centralized, decentralized and hybrid motion control solutions can simplify the motion control process while reducing your machinery footprint. This smart synchronicity created by cabinet-free motion controls will continue to shape how manufacturers regard their physical space and accelerate automation performance.
P.S. Check back on future blogs to see how Carter and I fare in the Region 2 United States Dressage Federation in Third Level on our quest for a USDF Bronze medal.
To learn more about AMK Automation, call us at 847-565-2652 or reserve a meeting with our engineers at PACK EXPO International, Booth N-6129, Oct. 14-17 in Chicago. Register for the show on us, use code 29Q24 and this link to register Register on AMK.