New trends in servo technology


Modern AC servo systems, undergoing the transition from analog to digital, digital control loops have become ubiquitous, such as commutation, current, speed and position control; It is not surprising that new power semiconductor devices, high-performance DSPs plus FPGAs, and servo-specific modules such as IR's servo-controlled engine. International manufacturers' servo products will be replaced every 5 years, new power devices or modules will be updated every 2~2.5 years, new software algorithms are changing day by day, in short, the product life cycle is getting shorter and shorter. Summarizing the technical route and product route of servo manufacturers at home and abroad, combined with the changes in market demand, we can see some of the latest development trends:
High efficiency
Although work in this area has been under way for a long time, it needs to be further strengthened. It mainly includes the high efficiency of the motor itself, such as the improvement of permanent magnet material performance and better magnet mounting structure design, but also includes the high efficiency of the drive system, including the optimization of the inverter drive circuit, the optimization of acceleration and deceleration motion, regenerative braking and energy feedback, and better cooling methods.
Direct drive
Direct drives include rotary servo drives using disc motors and linear servo drives using linear motors, and high speed and positioning accuracy are achieved by eliminating intermediate transmission errors. The characteristics of linear motors that are easy to change shape can make various devices using linear linear mechanisms smaller and lighter.
High-speed, high-precision, high-performance
The use of higher precision encoders (millions of pulses per revolution), higher sampling accuracy and data bits, faster DSP, high-performance rotary and linear motors without cogging, and various modern control strategies such as application of adaptive and artificial intelligence continue to improve the indicators of the servo system.
All-in-one and integrated
The vertical integration of motor, feedback, control, drive and communication has become a development direction of the current low-power servo system. Sometimes we call this integrated drive and communication motor Smart Motor, and sometimes we call the drive integrated with motion control and communication an intelligent servo drive. The integration of motor, drive and control brings the three closer together from design and manufacturing to operation and maintenance. However, this approach faces greater technical challenges (such as reliability) and the challenges of engineers' usage habits, so it is difficult to become mainstream, and it is a small and distinctive part of the overall servo market.
The general-purpose drive is configured with a large number of parameters and rich menu functions, which is convenient for users to easily set into V/F control, speedless sensor open-loop vector control, closed-loop flux vector control, permanent magnet brushless AC servo motor control and regeneration unit without changing the hardware configuration, suitable for various occasions, can drive different types of motors, such as asynchronous motors, permanent magnet synchronous motors, brushless DC motors, stepper motors, It can also be adapted to different sensor types or even without position sensors. A semi-closed-loop control system can be formed using feedback from the motor configuration itself, or a high-precision fully closed-loop control system can be formed through an interface with an external position or speed or torque sensor.
Modern AC servo drives have parameter memory, fault self-diagnosis and analysis functions, most imported drives have load inertia measurement and automatic gain adjustment functions, some can automatically identify motor parameters, automatic determination of encoder zero, some can automatically carry out vibration suppression. The combination of control functions such as electronic gears, electronic cams, synchronous tracking, and interpolated motion provides a better experience for servo users.
Networked and modular
The integration of fieldbus and industrial Ethernet technology, and even wireless network technology, into servo drives has become a common practice in Europe and the United States. The important direction of the development of modern industrial local area networks and the focus of various bus standard competition is how to adapt to the requirements of high-performance motion control for real-time, reliability and synchronization of data transmission. With the rise of domestic demand for large-scale distributed control devices, the successful development of high-end CNC systems, the development of networked digital servos has become a top priority. Modularity not only refers to the combination between servo drive module, power module, regenerative braking module and communication module, but also refers to the modularity and reusability of software and hardware inside the servo drive.
From troubleshooting to predictive maintenance
With the continuous development of machine safety standards, traditional fault diagnosis and protection techniques (identifying the cause of problems when they occur and taking measures to avoid the expansion of failures) have become obsolete, and the latest products are embedded with predictive maintenance technology, so that people can keep abreast of the dynamic trend of important technical parameters through the Internet and take preventive measures. For example, monitor temperature sensors when current rises, evaluate spikes when load changes, monitor temperature sensors when case or core temperature rises, and be alert to any distortion in the current waveform.
Specialization and diversification
While there is a versatile servo product range on the market, servo systems specifically designed and manufactured for a specific application abound. Using magnetic materials with different properties, different shapes, different surface bonding structure (SPM) and embedded permanent magnet (IPM) rotor structure of the emergence of motors, the use of split core structure technology in Japan has made the production of permanent magnet brushless servo motors achieve high efficiency, large volume and automation, and has caused research by domestic manufacturers.
Miniaturization and large-scale
Both permanent magnet brushless servo motors and stepper motors are actively developing towards smaller sizes, such as 20, 28, 35mm outer diameters; At the same time, it is also developing models with greater power and size, and has seen the emergence of 500KW permanent magnet servo motors. It reflects the tendency towards polarization.

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