Motion Control Product Manufacturing

Motion control is the action of directing or determining the way in which a part or machine changes position or place. Motion control products provide an effective means of gaining control over many manufacturing, processing and material handling applications. Many motion control systems utilize computer numerical control, or CNC, motion control to allow for automated industrial processes. Some examples of commonly utilized motion controllers include speed reducers, linear actuators, fractional horsepower motors, ball bearings, rubber rollers and gas springs. Although many of these products can be used in various ways, some motion controls are most apt to specific applications. For instance, ball screws are specifically designed for applications that require extreme precision and efficiency. Motion control components are essential to industries including automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturing, construction, commercial, medical, electronics and more.

Types of Motion Controls:

Air Cylinders

Air cylinders, also known as pneumatic cylinders, use compressed air to move objects. These cylinders are comprised of a shaft, a rod, and a plunger. The plunger is attached to one end of the rod and is contained within the shaft of the cylinder. When compressed air is pumped into the shaft, the air presses against the plunger and causes the rod to extend out of the shaft. The rod is then retracted using compressed air or springs. Air cylinders are commonly used in the metal working, automotive, mining, and food processing industries as well as many others.

Ball Screws

A ball screw is a linear actuator comprised of a threaded rod and a large nut which contains many small ball bearings. The threaded rod is fabricated with tightly spaced threads which allow the ball screw nut to move along the axis of the rod with extreme precision. For this reason, ball screws are used extensively in industries like the aerospace and robotics industries where precise linear motion is essential. The ball bearings also provide smooth motion over the rod and minimize friction which makes the ball screw one of the most efficient linear actuators in the industry.

Friction Materials

Friction materials are products used to slow or inhibit movement, and they are used in many different types of machinery to control or stop processes. The two main criteria for good friction materials are a high coefficient of friction and good energy absorption. The coefficient of friction describes the roughness of a material, so a material with a high coefficient of friction is very rough and requires more energy to move along its surface. Frictional forces generate excessive heat, so it is also important that frictional materials be able to absorb this extra heat energy to prevent damage to the system. Friction materials are used extensively in braking and clutch systems which are essential in automotive equipment and industrial machinery.

Linear Actuators

A linear actuator is a device that translates different forms of energy into mechanical linear motion. These devices can vary in size and power, and there are many different kinds of linear actuators to meet the diverse needs of industrial and commercial applications. Linear actuators are most commonly utilized in industrial automated processes for lifting and pushing products and for controlling machinery. For example, piezoelectric actuators have the capability to make very small and careful actions which provides precision machine control.

Linear Slides

Linear slides are devices used to allow free movement along a single axis. These devices consist of two main components: the plane and the rolling element. The plane typically consists of a fixed plane and a sliding plane, and ball bearings or roll bearings comprise the rolling element which lies between the two planes. The bearings allow the sliding plane to move easily with little friction. These devices are utilized in many kinds of machinery to push, pull, or position materials or tools, and multiple slides can be used to allow motion in several different directions. For example, XY tables utilize motorized linear slides to move objects left and right as well as forward and back.