Manufacturing Automation: Emerging applications in motion control

An on-machine module allows motion control integration in previously uncontrolled factory floor assets. (PHOTO: Rockwell Automation)

Besides precision, accuracy and faster speed, motion control customers in the manufacturing industry are looking for new solutions that offer greater safety, ease of integration, flexibility and reduction of waste.

Industry is keeping up with many new innovations recently marketed or soon to launch. We approached industry stakeholders in the motion control space for insight into emerging trends and the technology behind them.

Hot new applications – replacing hydraulics and more

James C. Fadool, global OEM technical consultant at Rockwell Automation, points to a big current push to replace hydraulics with servo motors, as hydraulics are noisy, expensive, have safety issues and produce a lot of heat and waste oil. “It’s in its infancy but moving fast,” he says. “There have been smaller applications like a small assembly press in automotive, but now it’s into large applications like a large stamping press. You can also collect and store related data easily.”

In terms of other broad areas where motion control is expanding, Will Morris, motion control category manager at RS, points to packing and packaging. “We have three [systems] in our own warehouse that enable us to automatically pack certain-sized products and increase our shipments,” he says. “Some other uses we see are our filling, sealing and labelling machines.” Morris also lists medical/lab processes, CNC machining, 3D printing and cobot applications as growth areas for motion control.

This article originally featured in Manufacturing Automation. Read the full version here.