Servo controllers level up robotic automation

Servo controllers are taking robotic automation to the next level by making it possible for machines to make smooth, repeatable and exact movements. Together, those characteristics allow electronic design engineers to create fascinating innovations.

It is  vital that manufacturers at least explore how robotics could enhance their processes and it is more than likely servo controllers will be part of those automated solutions . Here are some recent examples that fall into that category.

Servos facilitate automated liquid-filling systems

It has historically been time- and labor-intensive for manufacturers to design automated filing systems for products like cosmetics and cleaning products in small or customized batches. However, that has changed with a setup made by Unilogo Robotics.

The Polish company uses a Linear tracking system with servo motors to meet client needs for limited production runs or packaging changes made within tight timeframes. The company’s system is a fully automated production line consisting of robotic modules. The modular features allow for changeovers that only take a few minutes to complete.

Modular servo technology appeals to decision-makers in other types of production, too. Bihler of America, for example, offers these products for the metal-forming industry. The company said the servos provide process reliability with minimal setup times.

The automation boom helps the servo market grow

Servo controllers level up robotic automationCompany leaders often decide to pursue automation due to a desire to stay relevant and competitive in a challenging market. Servo motors support that goal by enabling robots to excel in repeated processes, such as those occurring ON assembly lines.

A global servo market report echoed that trend. The sector recorded a 9.5% drop in value during 2020, but analysts expect it to rebound and show a 3.6% compound annual growth rate for 2020-2027.

An excerpt from the report noted, “The pandemic has, however, fast-forwarded the world’s migration to the fourth industrial revolution by accelerating digital evolution of industries and companies. The long-predicted boom in robotics and automation is expected to come much faster than earlier forecasts and will play a key role in inducing a faster and more rapid recovery to growth.”

It continued: “Adoption of automation technology enables enterprises to gain from improved quality of manufactured products, superior employee work efficiency, increased yield and reduced material wastage, and savings on capital and operating costs.”

Servo controllers provide improved precision for automated processes

The push for robotic automation began in 1947 when an engineering manager at the Ford Motor Co. created an automation department within the organization. With the patent filing for the first mechanical arm in 1954, the world had its first industrial robot.

One of the reasons for the popularity of robotic automation is that it frees humans up from repetitive tasks that could cause fatigue if done for hours on end. Thanks to the progress and improvements in servo motors, drives, and controllers, people can also count on robotic systems to perform the smooth, precise movements often required in industrial environments.

Engineers who design servo motors and controllers must account for aspects such as force, the accuracy associated with positioning and speed, and the number of axes.

One robotic case packer that recently arrived on the market combines a programmable logic controller with servo motors. It can place and erect cases, significantly reducing the changeover time. It also minimizes the factory footprint by not requiring a separate case erector.

Robotic automation is the future

Today’s electronics design engineers understand that automation is here to stay. That’s true whether it’s within a fast-paced factory setting or a consumer-facing pizza vending machine. People without engineering backgrounds probably don’t think about the impacts of servo controllers. However, these examples and others like them will be instrumental in helping engineers create new robotic designs that meet current and emerging needs.