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Motor Controller

Selecting a Motor Controller for Electrical Drives

The days of matching catalog motors with available power supplies and motor controller may be over. The old way of handling motion control was to choose a off-the-shelf motor controller with ratings that usually exceed actual application requirements. This was especially true for a motor controller available in three or four models each designed to accommodate a range of motor sizes. The result was often an overrated (in current, voltage, or both) and expensive motor controller driving a larger-than-needed motor.

Overspecified systems of this nature may be all right in small quantities. But in volume OEM production where price is an important consideration, a better matching between components such as a motor controller becomes critical.

In addition, the performance demands made on today's motion-control systems frequently eliminate off-the-shelf products from contention. These demands concern high acceleration and deceleration rates, tight speed accuracies, and fine adjustment increments that are difficult to reach using collections of standard products.

Another approach is increasingly being used to meet such requirements. Rather than make do with standard parts, it is often better to design the motor and motor controller together as an optimized system. This technique involves constructing a motor from a few building block components and matching it with a power supply and motor controller that together provide the needed performance at a minimum cost.

Successful examples of this approach can be found in the retrofitting of electronic controls to mechanical production or manufacturing equipment in machine tools; filament-winding, packaging and labeling machinery; avionics controls and actuators; industrial sewing machines; and optical recording equipment.

A number of problems can make standard motion-control products suboptimum. One is that an off-the-shelf motor or motor controller generally comes with set performance and fixed dimensions. Shaft diameters and lengths, motor diameters, and supply voltage requirements are generally invariable.

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