5 Useful Applications of Miniature Motors in Industrial Automation

The benefits of industrial automation are well documented: lower operational costs, more consistent production output, improved product quality, and reduced safety risks. Almost all industrial automation solutions that produce motion are dependent on a motor of some type. Wherever precise motion is required, mini electric motors are used.

These motors are able to deliver precise and accurate motion with less power consumption. They have smaller footprints than other motors, so they can be mounted in small spaces where full-sized motors cannot fit in. As miniature motor technology advances, their efficiency and power density increases – allowing them to replace other motors.

Miniature motor

Industrial robots

Miniature motors have been used in industrial robots for a long time, enabling them to perform precise and fast miniaturized movements. As the efficiency and power density of motors increase, better industrial robots can be designed. These robots can be lighter, more agile, and more energy efficient, providing better mobility and faster output at the same time. As such, they can lower the cost of ownership of automation solutions.

Pick and place assembly

Electronics and semiconductor assembly have been using pick-and-place (P&P) or surface mounted technology (SMT) equipment since the 1980s. A robot arm inside the machine picks up a component and precisely places or mounts it on a circuit board. These machines require high speed and precise motions.

Miniature motors are used as they are able to fit inside small spaces, and they can reliably perform accurate movements with higher speed, allowing the machine to complete production cycles as fast as possible. In this capacity, the motor must have a long service life because the assembly system typically performs millions of duty cycles.

Material handling

Industrial production requires the handling and transport of materials. This automation solution can comprise a simple robotic arm or a complex system of interconnected equipment for sorting, stacking, and other material handling activities. The system is able to move materials to storage or to the production area with as little human intervention as possible.

Automated material handling ensures that stocks are used efficiently and wastage is at a minimum. Miniature motors can often replace other motor types in these solutions because they require less space, and they help save energy. Furthermore, they can be instrumental for accomplishing processes that require precise and careful handling.

Yarn winding machinery

Yarn winding machines are widely used in the textile industry for winding yarn used for other processes like weaving or knitting. Yarn winders must be able to accurately position and guide the yarn during the winding process to prevent tangling, which not only interrupts the production process but can also render the material unusable. Miniature motors are able to provide the necessary motion to ensure that yarn winding is performed successfully.

Conveyor system

Conveyor systems allow for the quick transfer of materials, components, or goods. They are integral to the production process of many industries as they are often used to move goods through a production process or to link several production operations together.

High-performance miniature motors in conveyor systems are able to power the movement of loads that are as heavy as what can be moved by larger motors. The smaller motor size allows for more design options as the motor has a smaller footprint.

These days, miniature motors are becoming more advanced such that they able to meet the many rigorous demands of industrial automation applications. With the development of more energy and cost-efficient motors, engineers can be sure that these motors will be able to provide the power necessary for virtually all kinds of applications that rely on accurate miniaturized motions.