The Motion Control Show

Welcome to The Motion Control Show hosted by Corey Foster, Application Engineering Manager at Valin.  In each of the episodes below Corey explains various topics related to motion control and automation.

4 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Servo or Stepper Motor
Episode 71:
4 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Servo or Stepper Motor
These are the four most important questions to ask when selecting either a servo or stepper motor for your application: speed, torque, inertia and power.
Direct Drives vs Worm-Gear Driven
Episode 70:
Direct Drives vs Worm-Gear Driven
What is the difference between a direct drive and worm-gear driven rotary stage?  Which is better?
Load-to-Motor Inertia Ratio
Episode 69:
Load-to-Motor Inertia Ratio
When sizing a motor, what is the load-to-motor inertia ratio?  And why does it matter?  What is an acceptable value?
Episode# 68: What is an Electro-Hydraulic Actuator?
Episode 68:
What is an Electro-Hydraulic Actuator?
Understanding the blend of electric and hydraulic technologies.
what is a hydraulic actuator?
Episode 67:
What is a Hydraulic Actuator?
How a hydraulic actuator is similar, yet different, from pneumatic actuators.
Episode# 66: What is a Pneumatic Actuator?
Episode 66:
What is a Pneumatic Actuator?
How a pneumatic actuator moves, creates force, various types and constructions, what is required in a system, and the pros and cons.
What is an Electric Actuator?
Episode 65:
What is an Electric Actuator?
The basics of what an electric or electromechanical actuator is and the various technologies that this encompasses.
Linear Motors in Vertical Applications
Episode 64:
Linear Motors in Vertical Applications
Linear motor actuators are great…but we hesitate before using them in vertical applications.  We discuss why and what some solutions are.
Electric Actuators for Multi-Axis Configurations
Episode 63:
Electric Actuators for Multi-Axis Configurations
Multi-axis applications, applications where two or more actuators are connected together, do not necessarily need customized actuators.  But, we do a lot of engineering on how they go together.  We discuss factors and lessons to learn.
Electric Actuators for Explosion Proof Requirements
Episode 62:
Electric Actuators for Explosion Proof Requirements
Explosive materials and flammable gases can be a danger, especially if the equipment could ignite it.  So there are certain things we want to take a look at and understand for the actuators.
Electric Actuators for Corrosive Environments
Episode 61:
Electric Actuators for Corrosive Environments
Wet environments may include caustic chemicals.  Sometimes all we have to do is protect the actuators.  Other times we have to modify the design a little bit or the materials used.  We take a look at the factors we’ll ask about.
Electric Actuators for Clean Room Applications
Episode 60:
Electric Actuators for Clean Room Applications
Cleanroom applications have particular requirements for keeping the environment that they are in super clean in order to keep the products from being contaminated.  We discuss the various factors to consider in selecting the right actuator for the application.
Electric Actuators for Applications in a Vacuum
Episode 59:
Electric Actuators for Applications in a Vacuum
Extreme environments often require custom actuators and motors. We discuss typical considerations for designing actuators and motors for a vacuum environment.
Electric Actuators with Custom Stroke Lengths
Episode 58:
Electric Actuators with Custom Stroke Lengths
Looking for an electric actuator with a specific stroke length? We discuss the feasibility of producing custom stroke lengths using various technologies.
Customizing Electric Actuators
Episode 57:
Customizing Electric Actuators
Have you found an actuator that you like that you want but it just does not quite have everything that you need?  Maybe you wish you could tweak it just a little bit?
Episode 56:
Why is My Stepper Motor Skipping Steps or Stalling?
Are you having troubles with your stepper motor skipping steps or stalling?  There are a few reasons that could be.
How Can The Servo Drive Configuration Limit My Motor Performance?
Episode 55:
How Servo Drive Configuration Can Limit Motor Performance
Are you struggling in getting the performance from your servo motor that you are expecting?  We discuss how the servo drive configuration can adversely affect your servo motor performance.
5 vs 24-volt Logic for PLCs?
Episode 54:
5 vs 24-volt Logic for PLCs?
Should you use 5 or 24-volt logic with your devices and controllers?
What is the Difference Between Single-Ended and Differential Signals?
Episode 53:
What Is The Difference Between Single-Ended and Differential Signals?
Find out the difference and why you’d use differential signals.
A useful topic to understand is the difference between “sinking” and “sourcing”. You can use this for inputs and outputs and to make sure that your feedback is compatible with your electronics.
Episode 52:
Sinking vs Sourcing Explained
A useful topic to understand is the difference between “sinking” and “sourcing”.  You can use this for inputs and outputs and to make sure that your feedback is compatible with your electronics.
What Types of Feedback Are There?
Episode 51:
Types of Feedback for Motion Control
Learn about different types, protocols, form factors and variations of feedback.
Episode 50:
Feedback Technologies for Motion Control Explained?
These are the technologies and terminologies you need to know about industrial automation and motion control feedback.
What is feedback? A broader view.
Episode 49:
What is Feedback in Motion Control?
We take a broader, more philosophical, look at what feedback is, the types, and where to put it.
 5 Questions That Arise When Asking: ‘How Do I Select a Drive for My Motor?
Episode 48:
How to Select an Electric Motor Drive
We discuss five questions that typically should arise when trying to select a drive for a motor.
WHY isn't my servo motor getting speed torque?
Episode 47:
How To Troubleshoot Servo Motors
We address the most common questions asked by customers who are not getting the performance they expect to from their servo motors.
The Motion Control Show, Episode 46: What Thermal Protection Does My Motor Have?
Episode 46:
Types of Thermal Protection For Motors
The next step to understanding and solving performance problems that you may be having, like not getting enough torque or speed or burning up motors, is to understand the various thermal protection models that your drive and motor may have.
How to Understand a Servo Motor’s Speed/Torque Curve: The Expanded Explanation
Episode 45:
Servo Motor Speed & Torque Curve Formulas Explained
We dive into the finer details of how speed/torque curves are created.
How to Understand a Servo Motor’s Speed/Torque Curve: The Short Explanation
Episode 44:
Servo Motor Speed & Torque Curves Explained
To size and select a servo motor, understanding the speed/torques is crucial. We discuss the basics as well as address typical questions that arise.
What Types of Electric Motors Are there? Piezo Motors
Episode 43:
How Piezo Motors Work
Piezo motors are an entirely different type of electric motor.  We look at the basic structure and how they operate.
Episode 42:
Types of Linear Motors
Linear motors are linear version of rotary motors…but typically are the same technology as brushless servo motors.  We look at the basic structure of a few different designs.
Episode 41:
Types of Stepper Motors
Steppers motors are a specific type of synchronous electric motors.  We look at the basic structure of them and what makes a stepper motor a stepper motor.
Episode 40:
Types of Servo Motors
Brushless servo motors are a specific type of synchronous electric motors.  We look at a few different designs and compare them.
Episode 39:
Types of Electric Motors: DC Brushed, Asynchronous, and Synchronous
John Brokaw helps us learn the difference between these types of motors plus how AC Induction and servo motors fit in.
Episode 38:
What is Motor Commutation?
Synchronizing the drive’s output current to the motor’s magnets.

One may think this is simple, but there are a lot of pitfalls in the compatibility between drives and controllers from different manufacturers.  Here are the factors to consider.
Episode 37:
What is a Motor Drive?
We address the basics of what a drive is.
What is an electric motor?
Episode 36:
What Is An Electric Motor?
We address the basics of what an electric motor is.
Episode 35:
Can I Mix And Match Controllers And HMIs From Different Manufacturers?
HMI to controller communication may be one of the biggest surprises in your project to over-come.  Here are some factors to consider.
Episode 34:
Can I Mix And Match Drives And Controllers From Different Manufacturers?
One may think this is simple, but there are a lot of pitfalls in the compatibility between drives and controllers from different manufacturers.  Here are the factors to consider.
Episode 33:
Can I Mix And Match Motors And Mechanics From Different Manufacturers?
Which is better: Selecting motors and mechanics that are the best of breed from different manufacturers OR sticking with one supplier?  Here are the factors to consider.
Episode 32:
Can I Mix And Match Drives And Motors From Different Manufacturers?
Which is better: Selecting drives and motors that are the best of breed from different manufacturers OR sticking with one supplier?  Here are the factors to consider.
Episode 31:
Can I Mix And Match Products From Different Suppliers?
Which is better: Selecting products that are the best of breed from different suppliers OR sticking with one supplier?  You don’t want to find yourself pushing a train under water with a VW Bug with square wheels!
Episode 30:
The Motion Out of Control Episode
For my 30th episode, I thought I'd celebrate by sharing a little bit of the goofs and fun and laughter and jokes and frustration that we've had along the way in making the first 29 episodes.
Episode 29:
10 Questions To Consider In Deciding Between Robots And Modular Mechanics
Robots are easy to specify, but they lock you into their design. Modular mechanics take a little more engineering but provide flexibility that you may need. Here are 10 questions to consider for this decision.
Episode 28:
How To Convert From Pneumatic and Hydraulic Actuators To Electric?
On the surface, converting fluid power (pneumatic and hydraulic) actuators to electric actuators is simple.  And it can be.  But, there are a few things that I've run into that tend to hold things up that you may want to be aware of right off the bat.
Episode 27:
How Does Abbe Error Effect the Straightness and Flatness Performance?
How well a linear actuator performs in its straightness and flatness is highly dependent upon its Abbe Error…that is the angular error caused by the rolling, pitching and yawing of the carriage as it moves.  But, why does it change the performance…and by how much?
Episode 26:
What Tools Can I Use To Size & Select Actuators?
Here are various types of tools available to you to size industrial electric linear actuators and free access to our favorite one!
Episode 25:
The Effect of Moment Loading on a Solution’s Lifespan
Valin’s Bruce Ng continues the conversation on what happens to the lifespan of an actuator when important moment-loading information is omitted in Episode 25.
Episode 24:
The Effect of Moment Loading on a Solution
Valin’s Kent Martins shows what happens when important moment-loading information is omitted in Episode 24.
Episode 23:
Motion Control: The Effect of Accuracy & Repeatability on a Solution
What happens if you use the incorrect terminology?  What if you say “accuracy” but need “repeatability”?  We interview Ray Marquiss in Episode 23 to find out.
Episode 22:
Mitigating Risks in Mechanics
How do you mitigate your risks when sizing, selecting and designing mechanics?  How do you decide whether to make or buy your mechanics?  Here are some considerations. Learn more in episode 22.
Episode 21:
Linear Encoder Error and Accuracy
You may be wondering about what problems adding feedback to your mechanics can cause.  One is that it can make your electronics more sophisticated and therefore more expensive; the other one is that the feedback devices may not be as accurate as you think.
Episode 20:
Linear Encoder Feedback: What To Know
Do you embrace linear encoders, or do you avoid them whenever possible?  Or are you wondering what a linear encoder even is?  After all this sizing and selecting of mechanics, and even designing your own mechanics, you might be considering putting a feedback device on there and whether you should or not.  Learn more in episode 20.
Episode 19:
LOSTPED: What To Know About Selecting Mechanics
LOSTPED is an acronym that stands for Load, Orientation, Speed, Travel, Precision, Environment and Duty Cycle.  But, what does it REALLY mean?  And how much do we really need to know about each of those to be able to select our mechanics? Learn more in episode 19 of The Motion Control Show.
Episode 18:
End-Of-Travel/Home Sensors vs Absolute Encoders
A common topic when putting together a motion control system and a gantry is whether to use end-of-travel limit switches, home sensors or absolute encoders.  This really depends upon the application.  There's no simple answer to that.  So, let's talk about the pros and cons.
Episode 17:
Gantry Systems: The Holistic Approach
You cannot just start on the mechanics, pick the motors, pick the drives, pick the controls, pick the HMI.  First you must understand everything all together.  Since we're talking about mechanics, there's a few things we need to kind of jump on right off the bat.  To figure out the holistic approach, there's a lot more to it.
Episode 16:
Gantry Mounting: Things To Know
When we size, select, and design gantry systems such as this one, we must make sure that we take into account the whole framing that this is going to be mounted on.  Is that framing going to be simply supporting the actuators at just the ends? If so, we might get some deflection and vibration caused by the moving of the load or even just the weight of the actuator itself.
Episode 15:
Ballscrew Actuators vs Belt Pulleys vs Linear Motors
Back in Episode 6, I explained to you the different types of linear mechanics.  This included ballscrews, belt & pulleys, linear motors and even rack & pinion.  I get the question all the time: which linear mechanics do I use?  That could be a short conversation or a long one, depending upon the application.
Episode 14:
Gantry Cable Management Basics
A very important factor to keep in mind when sizing your gantry system is the cable management and cable lengths you'll need. If you think about it, we're going to need cables to span throughout every axis of motion. Starting with the Theta, we must go through the Z-axis, through the Y-axis, and then even through our X-axis, to get to our end.
Episode 13:
How Many Motors Do You Need For Parallel Axes On A Gantry?
One of the things that can really trip people up with sizing and selecting a gantry system is whether they need one or two motors for the X and X-prime. In this system’s configuration, we're utilizing two separate servo motors to drive the X and X-prime axes. This is since they are so far apart.
Episode 12:
What Does A Gantry Look Like?
After taking a break from mechanics for a few episodes, we're returning to the idea of a gantry. But, you may wonder what a gantry looks like. For an explanation of that, we're going to turn to Valin’s own Michael Reynaud with a special animation by Valin’s Cassidy in order to show you what a gantry looks like.
Episode 11:
How To Select A Mains Filter
I am continuing my conversation with you about EMC installation. We talked about electrical noise, where it comes from and how we control it. We talked about the reasons for Mains filters. Now I'm going to talk a little bit about how to select Mains filters and unfortunately, it's a real black art.
Episode 10:
What Is A Mains Filter?
Continuing on talking about electrical noise, I often times have suggested mains filters to customers and they say, “Well I'm not shipping my system to Europe so I don't need it.”  But there are very good reasons for putting a mains filter on your system even when you're not shipping it to Europe.  Let's take a look at this.
Episode 9:
How To Reduce Electromagnetic Interference From a Servo Drive
Today we're taking a break from all the mechanical topics and are going to talk about an electrical one: electrical noise. I've talked to people who don't believe in electrical noise, but I guarantee you that when you've had the problem, and found out what it was, you will wish you had known this.
Episode 8:
What is the Lifespan of My Industrial Actuator?
Today we're talking about specsmanship.  Specifically, we're looking at a load-ratings on mechanics by using the bearing life curves. What is specmanship?  Why do we care?  Well, in case you haven’t noticed, the catalog specs are not always straight forward as they appear.  Let's look at a couple examples.
Episode 7:
Types of Rotary Mechanics
Typically, when people think of rotary mechanics, they're talking about rotary tables.  Here's a classic picture of a rotary table on the right.  Now, this is a worm gear-driven table.  So, you have to have an external motor.  Here's the motor mount over here on the right-hand side.
Episode 6:
Types of Linear Mechanics
We've been talking about a lot of different basic terminology.  Now we're going to talk about just some basic types of linear mechanics.
Episode 5:
Distance vs Move Profiles vs Duty Cycles
We're continuing on with talking about some of the basic terminology and things you need to know in order to be able to size your own mechanics and gantry. We cover motion requirements and a summary at the end of the last several episodes.
Episode 4:
What Are Resolution, Repeatability and Accuracy?
As we dive further into sizing and selecting mechanics, there are a couple of terms that are extremely important in understanding the requirements of an application.  They center around the precision requirements for the application.
Episode 3:
Definitions for Motion Control
Before we dive into the meat of the matter of sizing and selecting mechanics, there are some basic concepts we need to understand: namely the force, torque, moment, inertia, and axes of motion.
Episode 2:
What are the Main Components Needed to Make a Motion Control System?
You may be wondering what the main components are that you need to make a motion control system. What are the minimum number of components you need?
Episode 1:
What Is An Industrial Automation Distributor?
You've been asked to put together a gantry (or some mechanical motion control system) and you probably have no idea where to start. Let me help you narrow it all down a little bit.

A lesson for me is that I need to involve you earlier in the program.

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