The ability to provide an accurate and precise rotary motion is essential, if not even crucial, in a very wide range of high-precision applications.
All such applications related to heavy equipment, semiconductor, aerospace, automotive, robotics, welding, energy, machine tool, medical device, automation equipment industries and so on, literally depend on these precise rotary motion technologies.
Some of the key technologies that relate to such applications include precision ring drives, direct drives, planetary gearheads, cam indexers, and belt drives.
It’s recommended to take some precaution when addressing the minuses and pluses of these key technologies to make sure to select the right approach that combines all the right elements, such as noise, speed, durability, economy, accuracy and so on, for each specific application.
Each of the aforementioned applications requires certain levels of expertise, knowledge, sophistication, and skill. Therefore, if all the requirements of the specific application are met, it’s a certain way to ensure that the costs of each critical component are minimal and the performance is at a maximum.
The Key Technologies
The best example of putting together minimal costs and maximum performance is a belt drive. A belt drive is any rotary table driven by a belt.
Such tables are known to offer two advantages in their use: low cost and high speed. That means that these belt-driven rotational tables are perfect for any positioning application that includes high precision positioning and rotary motion at high speeds.
Fiber-reinforced elastomer belts are highly durable and they are equipped with teeth that are extremely efficient at preventing slipping and transferring torque.
On top of all that, one of the biggest reasons why belt drives are one of the most popular rotary motion technologies is that they are pretty silent, as they tend to generate little to almost no noise. Additionally, such drives require almost no maintenance.
Still, when compared to precision ring drives or planetary gearheads, belt drives are inferior, as their positioning accuracy tends to deteriorate with time. Some of the known limitations of belt drives are relatively poor product life, limited rigidity, limited accuracy, and limited load capacity.
Cam indexers are the most frequently and commonly used rotary motion technology for high-precision applications, such as linkages, conveyors, and dial machines. They come in two different types: the fixed index cam indexers and fully programmable cam indexers. The difference between the two is that the fixed index cam indexers don’t use servo motors.
The first type is the most commonly used type for accurate positioning. Any application that doesn’t require high acceleration and includes angular repetition when it comes to positioning can be handled with the fixed index cam indexers.
On the other hand, fully programmable cam indexers combine two main components to function: a cam-driven index drive and a servo motor.
These components make this type of cam indexer more suitable for applications that require a flexible motion pattern. It’s also the right rotary motion solution for those applications that include a long dwell period and positioning at extremely high speeds.
Any motion control application requires a planetary gearhead, as this rotary motion technology provides a high torque that is based on the volume ratio requirements. Planetary gearheads are arranged in an order where one or more planet cogs circle around the main or sun cog.
By doing so, this technology allows for a more accurate and consistent motion response, as well as an increased control system responsiveness. With a variety of cog ratios, planetary gearheads are perfect for a wide variety of applications that require maintaining the ideal speed of both the application and the motor.
This key technology includes a permanent magnet servo motor and is quite large in diameter. What makes a direct drive a perfect high precision positioning system is that the load and the motor are directly connected. This offers a huge advantage, as all mechanical transmission elements and components are eliminated from the equation.
Because of that, such a rotary positioning system is simply perfect for energy, medical equipment, and factory automation industries. Direct drives are also extremely energy-efficient, as they provide a significant reduction in friction due to having no power transmission components.
Since each of these key rotary motion technologies brings some specific benefits and advantages that make them unique for a selected range of applications, it’s safe to say that modern industries wouldn’t be able to advance and evolve without such technologies.
This is only proof that we live in a world that depends on new technologies to further develop and enjoy all the advantages and benefits that the modern age has to offer.