General Servo Systems

What is a Servo?
Servo control, which is also referred to as "motion control" or "robotics" is used in industrial processes to move a specific load in a controlled fashion. These systems can use either pneumatic, hydraulic, or electromechanical actuation technology. The choice of the actuator type (i.e. the device that provides the energy to move the load) is based on power, speed, precision, and cost requirements. Electromechanical systems are typically used in high precision, low to medium power, and high-speed applications. These systems are flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. Motors are the actuators used in electromechanical systems. Through the interaction of electromagnetic fields, they generate power. These motors provide either rotary or linear motion. Here is a graphical representation of a typical servo system:

The controller is considered to be the intel part of the servo. encoders and resolvers. To find out more about s control visit the ‘Motion 101’ section of our website or if you want to ask specific questions about your moti system call one of our applications engineers at 805-389-1935. performance. S drives and amplifiers are used extensively in motion control systems where precise control of position and/or required. The motor can be of the brushed or brushless type. Each is descri below. The motor is the actual electromagnetic actuator. The reference signals represent either a motor torque or a velocity comm can be either analog or digital in nature.This type of system is a feedback system. Most controllers fall into the category of Microcontrollers. which is used to control position. The drive/amplifier simply translates the low-energy reference signals from the controller into high signals to provide motor voltage and current. and Motion Controllers. rotary or linear. the drive provides power to the motor. Controllers can be something as simple as an ON/OFF switch or a dial controlled by an operator. They can also be as complex as a multi-axis controller that actively servos several as well as monitors I/O and maintains all of the programming for the machine. etc. The drive or amplifier closes another loop (typ velocity or current) and represents the electrical power converter that drives the motor according to the contro reference signals. The block diagram below shows the general role of a controller in a servo system. convenience. terminals. It is responsible for generating the motion paths and for reac changes in the outside environment. Typically. PLCs. Advanced Motion Controls designs and manufacturers servo drives and amplifiers for use in servo systems. Feedback from the load is also routed to the controller. The controller analyzes the feedb signal and sends a new signal to the amplifier to correct for errors. Physical Forms of Controllers Controllers come in a variety of forms. are mounted on the motor and/or load in order to close the various servo loops. and the feedback from the motor is sent back to the controller and drive. velocity. In some cases the use of a digital drive replaces the controller/d controller/amplifier control system. . Howe many amplifiers will close the velocity and/or position loops allowing less demand from the controller. closing the velocity and/or position loops while the amplifier closes the current loop. and/or acceleration. Controller The controller is the "brains" of a servo system. The and some of our digital drives contain the algorithms to close the desired loop (typically position or velocity) handle machine interfacing with inputs/outputs. Advanced Motion Controls has representatives worldwide that sell and support our servo drives and amplifie complementing motion control components to meet all of your servo control needs. and e use. which people choose based on cost. the controller se signal to the drive. which generates the forces required to move the load. Feedback elements such as ta lvdts. An analog +/-10 VDC command is still the most common reference use today.

Microcontrollers This is a small and low-cost type of computer that runs a program stored in non-volatile memory. The computer runs software which allows you to control a multitude of features. These commands may be dependent on inputs into the microcontroller (sensors. PLCs have a processor and memory to allow for commands to be programmed. It also has a rack and I/O slots so that I/O modules may be added to the PLC as needed. Drive . Therefore commands and I/O are specific to the needs of those in the servo industry. The price is generally lowe that of motion controllers. which have limited lifetimes. The modules may add such features as high-speed counters. and other fun A motion controller. they are typically more expensive. and RS232 and many more which allow you to con motor by connecting the amplifier directly (or almost directly) to your computer. The benefits of PLCs include expandability and resistance to harsh environments. allowing for a graphical user interface. Unlike the others. Other Types of control Other types of control include CANopen. and closing loops such as position and velocity can be quite difficult. Because of the add features. when one designs a servo system using a microcontroller. USB. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) were first used to eliminate the mess of wires and troubleshooting nightmares associated with sequential relay circuits. while the microcontroller simply sends particular commands back to the amplifier. saved and executed. PLCs can take the place of mechanical relays. PLCs In the late 1960’s. Often. Motion Controllers Motion controllers are built specifically for the control of motion (hence the name). Configuring a microcontroller for a system generally requires an experienced programmer. but with good reason. switches. real-time clocks. motion controllers are PC based. there are advanced features that allow ease of tuning. Synqnet. Usually. etc). in general. These controllers are more expensive than microcontrollers. one will have the amplifier/drive close the desired loops. or servo control capabilities. commutation sensing. will make your life easier than a PLC or microcontroller.

Simplified. Amplifiers designed for brushed motors are typically used to drive single pha loads although. The path to the future of drive technology will follow the demands of the motion control industry. inductive loads and voice coils. Four quadrant means the ability to both drive regenerate a motor in both directions. There are many types of motors that can be used in servo applicati The following list of motors types can be used in servo applications. user-friendly and universal operation. Increased velocity and position control to allow for more intricate and miniaturized manufacturing. They started out as single quadrant mo that powered brushed motors. Most motors are rotary types but linear motors are also available. Single Phase Picture Here Single phase motors have two power wires and are very easy to set up. Later they incorporated quadrant capabilities and the ability to power brushle motors. Motor The motor converts the current and voltage that comes from the drive into mechanical motion. resolvers and tachometers.The servo drive is the link between the controller and Also referred to as servo amplifiers. As the line between controller and drive blurs. d were simply the power stage that allowed a controller drive a motor. the drive will take on many of the more comp control functions that used to be the sole domain of the controller. most three phase drives from AMC can also operate with sin . Increased network capability to closely coordinate axes within a machine and coordinate machines w factory. velocity loop and position loop and being given the responsibili path generation. as well as limit switches and other sensors. Today drives can be expected to handle all o system feedback including encoders. D are also being asked to close the torque loop. For mor complete information see 'AMC's Capabilities'. The current trend is to add more features and abilities to drives. Originally. Moto this category can include brushed motors. their job is to tra the low energy reference signals from the controller i high energy power signals to the motor. These dem include: • • • • Higher bandwidth to increase production throughput.

Brushless mot may be a little more difficult to set up due to the increased wiring so our digi makes things easier by automating the commutation process. Motion is linear and usually limited to less than 0. Flexible couplings will add resonances that have to be considere Feedback . the moving par the machine and anything that may cause unwanted instabilities such as couplings backlash. Magnetic bearings use electromagnet levitate the rotating shaft so nothing is physically touching it. Friction points such as from linear stages and bearings w to the motor load. The most common single phase motor. Linear actuators use a rotary motor coupled to a gear box to move a linear sh and out. better dissipation and require less maintenance than brushed motors.5" (13mm) of travel. The brushes are a form of mechanica commutation that directs the current into the correct coils at the correct time. The motor in the actuator is often times a brushed motor. The construction of a linear motor is the same as a rotary motor but opened u flattened out. Inductive loads are often used by universities and scientists to create magneti for their experiments. A typical magn bearing system will require 4 or 5 drives . The total mass of the moving parts in the machine all have inertias that w reflected onto the motor. Load Considerations Load considerations should include the object that is being moved. Many voice coil applicatio require a high performance servo drive and Advanced Motion Controls is oft first choice.Brush Linear Actuator Voice Coil Magnetic Bearing Inductive Load phase.an x and y on each side of the rota shaft and an optional thrust bearing to keep the shaft from floating in and out performance requirements for the drives can be extremely high due to the dy nature of the system. Advanced Motion Controls drives have successfully controlled inductive loads with less than 80uH of inductance to over 1H (1000000uH) of inductance. A voice coil is conceptually similar to an audio speaker. There are special considerations for the energy s in a large inductor. Linear motors are used in direct drive applications w the speed and accuracy requirements are more than a rotary motor and ball sc can provide. Three Phase Brushless Rotary Linear Permanent magnet brushless servo motors have higher power density. and our technical support department would be happy to d these regarding your project. Configuring a drive for a linear motor is identical to configurin drive for a rotary motor. Magnetic bearings are used when low friction is required or when the shaft s are too high for conventional bearings.

In order to know th motor or load’s position. T is the total time required for the move. this incremental feedback needs to be used in conju with some type of absolute feedback (a limit switch. A resolver is essentially a rotary transformer. T are two main types of feedback.000 counts per revolution. D. Trapezoidal. for example). encoders can go to sub-micron resolutions and rotary encoders can have reso exceeding 100. feedback devices are used to ensure that the moto load reaches the commanded position or velocity. while the X-axis represent The total distance traveled. . In figure 1. Resolvers are the feedback of choice for high tempe and high vibration environment. and S-Curve motion profiles. Here are some of the devices most commonly used in motion contro Feedback Types Quadrature Encoder Sinusoidal Encoder Hall Sensors Resolver Encoders are the most prevalent position feedback device in motion control. This is a low resolution feedback that is often necessary for commutation con This can also be used for velocity feedback at higher velocities. based on its present position and velocity versus where it needs to be. Absolute Feedback Relative Feedback (incremental) Absolute devices provide definitive position within a specified range withou movement (without a homing routine).In modern control systems. or as complex as bipedal stability control o axis humanoid robot. Within these two general types of feedback. An example move is shown in figure 1 The Y-axis represents the velocity. Sinusoidal encoders use sine waves in place of the square waves seen on qua encoders. absolute and relative (also known as ‘increm only’). These devices provide only incremental position updates. Servo amplifiers and contr use this feedback to determine how much current to deliver to the motor at a time. there are many different feedbac devices. the slope of the velocity curve represents the acceleration or deceleration a particular instant. This allows intermediate encoder counts can be interpolated to ove times. All motio profiles will require the load to accelerate and decelerate at le once during the move. is found by calculating the area the curve. Motion Profiles All servo systems consist of some kind of movement of a load method in which the load is moved is known as the motion pr motion profile can be as simple as a movement from point A B on a single axis. There are several types of motion profiles used with servo control systems. This feedback is capable of resolutions above 16bit. The most often used are Constant Velocity.

The result is a slower. Issuing a correcting order (the error signal) that will properly change the existing conditions to the desired result 5. To avoid the effects of Ta and Td seen in the constant velo motion profile. minimum acceleration points occur at the beginning and end of the acceleration period. Precision positioning machines do not use the constant velocity profile because of the delay errors involved. Because it cannot. This overshoot translates into small vibrations seen at the load. Similarly. If ta = td = T/3 for a trapezoidal move profile. Ta and Td still exist. the acceleration mu suddenly drop to zero. at the instant the velocity reaches the desired value. but much more predictable move. This erro involves overshoot at the edges of the move. Comparing the desired result with the present conditions and obtaining a difference or an error signal 4. the dotted line represents the actu velocity path the load will take due to energy limitations. These delays add to the projected move time. a control system must be capable of the following: 1. most significant error deals with the fact that it is impossible to jump from a zero velocity to some other velo instantaneously because it would require an infinite amount of energy to do so. This is the basic motion profile because only a velocity command is necessary to operate. but are now known instead of random values. and the result is a great deal less mechanical vibration seen by the system. there is some overshoot as the acceleration goes from zero to a negative value d the slowing down period. This gives a motion profile that is fast and accurate. there is some overshoot as the velocity increases past the desired po before attenuating. During acceleration. this motion profile maintains a constant velocity between points (see figure 2A). THE CLOSED-LOOP CONTROL SYSTEM A closed-loop control system is another name for a servo system. This helps to reduce or eliminate the problems caused from overshoot. the overall power used is a minimum: Overshoot error still exists for a trapezoidal move. Ta and Td represent the time required to accelerate decelerate. higher precision machines require a different motion profile. Another error involved is minor compared to the effects of Ta and Td. Still. Because of this. S-Curve The S-curve motion profile allows for a gradual change in acceleration. Accepting an order that defines the desired result 2. and can often be overlooked. However. Trapezoidal A trapezoidal motion profile is shown in figure 3. many systems do not need to take it into accoun because it is negligible. Determining the present conditions by some method of feedback 3. Obeying the correcting order We . while the maximum acceleration occurs between these two points. In figure 2B. This stems from the fact that the acceleration cannot change instantaneously. To be classified as a servo. there will be delay that will fluctuate with changes in the load and system.Constant Velocity Just as it sounds. the trapezoidal motion profile slopes the velocity curve to create known acceleration and deceleration times.

used to store motion programs. open-loop control systems are also often referred to in the Navy and many publications as servo systems even though they lack one of the five basic requirements. the PC performs all real-time motion control operations including feedback loops and multi-axis coordination. Founded by MIT professionals in 1998. It also serves as a user-friendly graphical interface (Windows).. spreadsheet programs. Soft Servo Systems is committed to providing high-performing yet affordable and reliable general motion control (GMC) and CNC solutions to our customers by exploiting the high-speed. high-end motion control solutions for industrial machine builders and users. . is a pioneer in providing all-software. Inc. everimproving CPUs of personal computers.and closed-loop control systems and defined a servo system as a closed-loop control system. Soft Servo Systems.have discussed the open. that of feedback. Although not technically accurate by definition. and run other applications like database software. or statistical process control applications. can be connected to a network. With our products.