Behind every ingenious and marvellous innovation or invention can be a simple but powerful device that makes it work. These include servo motors and servo drives.
While they find applications across different industries, not everyone understands how they work or even benefit users. It’s, therefore, time to learn the basics, including how it fits into the future of tech.
What is Servomechanism
Also known as a servo system or simply servo, servomechanism is a kind of electromagnetic device that uses an automatic negative-feedback closed-loop system to correct the performance of a mechanism.
A mechanism may produce disturbances when the output and input signals significantly vary. The system helps to correct that until there’s no difference between these two.
It usually involves the following components:
- Servo motor (which can be DC or AC)
- Integrated circuit
- Output shaft
Here’s how things work:
- The integrated circuit receives the electronic input signal and then drives the motor to work.
- The energy the servo motor generates is still not enough to drive the mechanism. Thus, it moves the gear instead, which then controls the direction and speed of the mechanism’s movement.
- The potentiometer keeps tabs of these changes and continues to provide feedback to the IC. Once it registers the desired position of the mechanism, then it “tells” the IC to stop. This process is already automatic, which means the entire system may not need significant human intervention.
What is servo motor
A servo motor is one of the essential components of the servo system. It connects to the integrated circuit, which receives the input signal, and to the gears. It can work either in a linear (push) or circular motion.
Servo motors can be either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC):
- In DC, the current flows only in one direction. In this case, it travels from a negative terminal to a positive one. Most of the motors are DC type.
- In AC, the current can flow back and forth, which happens when there’s alternating of the polarity of the voltage either at the source or at the generator.
What is Servo drive
Another term for servo drives is servo amplifiers, and as their name suggests, their job is to improve the signal that reaches the servo motor. In a typical servo mechanism setup, this drive connects directly to the motor and the integrated circuit, which receives the signal.
It controls many factors, such as current, but the command signal may also be about position such as angle, torque, or velocity. The servo motor contains a sensor that “reports” to the drive.
The drive then determines any aberration or difference between the command and the actual signal status of the servo motor. Depending on the result, it adjusts the pulse width, frequency, or voltage accordingly.
A servo drive may be either digital or analog. In an analog setup, the system uses a potentiometer. When it is digital, it already runs on a microchip or a microprocessor. Like anything electronic of such type, it may be capable of handling more complex processes. It may also be self-adjusting, which reduces human error.
The downside is it may consume a lot of power. To overcome this, a drive may work alongside a capacity battery.
Servomechanism Future Applications
Many industries use servo motors and drives for a variety of applications. For one, they are a staple in robotics, especially one used in manufacturing and healthcare. Processes that involved robotic arms, for example, demand both precision and speed.
Servo drives are also in computer numerical control (CNC) machines, which help design complex pieces from different materials. As a boost to its function, CNC Design Limited released an add-on hat for any Raspberry PI system. It helps improve the performance of motors.
Servo motors may also be in:
- Satellite and GPS tracking
- Monitoring of weather systems
- Elevator and gripper operations
- Automatic devices
Servo motors and drives have been part and parcel of some of the most amazing technologies for years. Even better, they themselves are getting some innovation, allowing them to be more useful.