How can motion control innovations help differentiate OEM machine designs?

How can motion control innovations help differentiate OEM machine designs?

Motion control system designers are under pressure to differentiate products in a variety of applications in an increasingly commoditized market, such as benchtop laboratory automation, factory floor material handling, and heavy-duty construction vehicles.

Motion control system designers are under pressure to differentiate products in a variety of applications in an increasingly commoditized market, such as benchtop laboratory automation, factory floor material handling, and heavy-duty construction vehicles.

Many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) turn to motion control component suppliers for help with more functionality in a smaller space, faster prototype and product delivery, and greater price control through seamless integration and operation. flexibility. The innovation of motion control technology makes the machine design realize the value enhancement in the following five aspects.

How can motion control innovations help differentiate OEM machine designs?

Engineers gather information about motion control components.Some online tools can help you with motion control system design, so that the best

Product selection is reduced from hours to minutes.Image credit: Thomson Industries

smaller product

Designers of small systems want products that are smaller and that make the system more compact, portable and easy to store. Many customers want to install analytical or monitoring instruments closer to the point of use for added convenience. This machine is an example of innovative manufacturing techniques that enable the production of miniature linear motion components to meet these needs.

Factory system designers want to help customers make better use of their shop floor or workspace. Manufacturers of larger equipment, such as agricultural combines, also want technologies that use space more efficiently to improve operational efficiency or safety, or provide other related benefits of market differentiation.

Improvements in manufacturing technology have made it possible to produce smaller products more efficiently, enabling design engineers to pack more functionality into less space. For example, miniature ball screws, electric linear actuators, electric lead screws and linear bearings can be used in small-scale applications. Electromechanical actuators can also replace pumps, compressors, conveying systems and other components for hydraulic and pneumatic drives.

Embedding electronics into motion control products requires less space by supporting network communications, location monitoring, and other functions that previously required external devices. Internal electronics eliminate complex wiring and the actuator can be connected to power and communication networks with just a few wires.

Faster prototyping

As competitive pressures increase, the need for faster delivery of more personalized devices increases. Effective prototyping is important when designers try out various models of parts before application. Metal-based 3D printers and simulation software offer greater flexibility and speed, as well as enhanced modeling capabilities for motion-controlled parts.

In the past, designers could have to wait 6 to 8 weeks. Now, they may have parts within a few days. Some manufacturers have redesigned processes to offer next-day shipping capabilities on certain items, and parts inventories are increasing for frequently needed items. Distribution channels also help increase inventory of commonly used items.

optimal integration strategy

A key factor in accelerating time to market is selecting the right components and integrating them optimally for maximum precision, accuracy, straightness, noise levels and other performance characteristics. While many system designers have the expertise needed to select motion control products, many are closer to retirement than fresh out of college. The handover of new and old employees is not an easy task. New members usually come from electrical or mechanical engineering disciplines. It is often necessary to develop expertise in motion control on the job.

Inexperienced design engineers may know what speed or straightness they need, but may not be familiar with the function of motion control components. Over-engineering increases time-to-market and production costs.

The increasing importance of overall system design, coupled with the lack of motion control experts, is a good reason for motion control suppliers to get involved early in the process. They have a lot of experience with engineering applications, understand which aspects have a greater impact on integration, and can save time and money by consulting them in advance. Online configuration tools reduce optimal product selection for motion control applications from hours to minutes.

Consider the total cost of ownership

While machine designers want to have the highest quality system components, they don’t necessarily need components that outlive the machine. It doesn’t make sense to integrate a motion control component with a design life of 20 years into a system that may become obsolete in 5 years.

As the component market matures, designers can take the time to find a product that fits their application and budget needs, and making proper judgment in this situation requires a better understanding of motion control systems.

Designers driven solely by economics are more likely to underdesign than overdesign. While tests can verify that a design meets the required specifications in the short term, they often cannot test all components for the entire lifespan and will shorten the test procedure. This doesn’t always provide enough data to differentiate higher quality motion control components from lower cost/poor design products and can go wrong.

For many applications, total cost of ownership can be the deciding factor. If purchase price were the only factor, designers might opt ​​for pneumatic or hydraulic actuators rather than smart electromechanical components. However, electromechanical options may offer greater advantages when other factors such as reliability, uptime, footprint and maintenance are considered.

Add product value

The biggest business challenge for OEMs may be with component manufacturers: understanding what the market needs to buy and how to differentiate at delivery. Connected products that share data in the cloud are an opportunity for strategic differentiation.

For example, a large medical device manufacturer has placed the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) at the center of its business strategy. The system records data about machine performance, component status, and detected system errors. In traditional systems, using this data requires a trained technician to connect the machine, read log files, order parts as needed, and manually schedule maintenance repairs. Now, with interconnected computers, businesses can securely upload these log files and analyze and plan from almost anywhere.

Motion control industry experts can help manufacturing companies integrate motion technology. Motion control vendors continue to add onboard intelligence to the computing power and communications required for connected strategies. Whether connected systems or otherwise, motion control suppliers are striving to support OEM innovation at the right price and deliver the right motion control performance to manufacturing customers.

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