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What is a servo motor?

September 1st 2021

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A servo motor is an industrialised electric motor that works with other electronic devices within a closed-loop system to perform repetitive and complicated tasks with a great deal of precision and speed.

You would find a servo motor in automated manufacturing, robotics or in any other industrial application where high levels of accuracy and repetition are required, such as CNC machine operations.

What makes a servo motor different from a conventional motor is that its output shaft can be digitally controlled and moved to a selected angular or linear position with precise velocity and acceleration.

Fanuc A06B-0314-B072 AC servo motor

It is this shaft that controls and drives other mechanical components, such as robotic arms or machine tools with absolute precision. Such accuracy is achieved by working in unison with a special sensor, commonly known as an encoder.

The servo's encoder senses and transmits positional data to other devices within the closed-loop system, such as a PLC. Data is then sent back to the servo motor, typically via a servo amplifier, which then determines the speed and position of the output shaft.

Siemens SINUMERIK CNC system

All of this happens within milliseconds and it's this level of speed and control that makes servo motors ideal for highly complex and repetitive tasks.

Variations on the servo motor include low to high inertia, low to high capacity, AC or DC current and brushed or brushless commutation types therefore different specifications will be selected depending on the application.

AC servo motors can withstand high current requirements and generally are the preferred choice with many manufacturers. You would typically find an AC servo motor being used with industrial machinery in robotics or inline manufacturing, for example.

Car manufacturing

DC servo motors are less suited to high-current applications and are often found in smaller processes.

Brushed servo motors are generally less expensive and are easier to operate and maintain whereas brushless servo motors are more reliable, have higher efficiency and are less noisy.

At Foxmere we sell, repair and support industrial servo motors from a number of key brands, including Mitsubishi, Yaskawa, Fanuc, GE Fanuc, Siemens and Allen-Bradley.

So, if you want to know more about servo motors (or if you're just looking to purchase a servo motor) you can contact our team today on +44 (0)1922 349 999.

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