What You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know About Stepper Motors

Stepper motors are an important part of many different applications and it is important when choosing one that you find a supplier who can provide you with what you need. It is also important to have a certain amount of knowledge about stepper motors to ensure that you are working with the right product. So what do you need to know?

The Basics

Stepper motors are a type of electrical motor that can be precisely controlled by commands and signals from a computer. Each time the stepper motor receives a signal pulse from the computer it turns through a specific angle each time. A stepper motor can be turned through a precise angle before it is stopped and can also run at different rates by shifting the speed at which the pulses are produced. It is also possible to construct switching circuits which will allow a computer to reverse the direction of a stepper motor. Now that you have refreshed yourself on the basics of the stepper motor it’s time to learn a bit more about its technology and uses.

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The Technology Behind the Driver

The driver of the stepper motor receives direction signals from the control system or indexer and then translates them to electrical signals which are used to run a stepper motor. Every step of the motor requires one pulse and in full step mode a standard 200 stepper motor will require 200 pulses in order to complete one revolution. The pulse frequency is directly proportional to the speed of the rotation in the motor.

The flow of current between the driver and the motor winding changes the torque performance and speed of the stepper motor. Most types of circuits are designed so that they can supply a larger amount of voltage than the motor’s rated voltage. In order to protect the motor from damage it should be limited to the current rating of the stepper motor.

Uses for Stepper Motors

Stepper motors can be used in a wide variety of applications in many industries including computer peripherals, motion control, business machines and robotics. Other applications include:

  • Copy machines – used to feed paper in and for lens positioning

  • Card reader and Sorter – to position cards and route card flow

  • Assembly lines – to position parts

  • Collaborator adjusting – to adjust the air–fuel mixture

  • Grinding machines – downfeeding grinding wheel and automatic wheel dressing

  • Mail handling systems – for feeding and positioning letters

Manufacturers of Stepper Motors

Companies such as Nanotec make stepper motors that are reliable and economical and have a long service life. It is important when choosing a stepper motor you find one with high step angle precision as well as step resolution to ensure maximum efficiency; as well as finding a supplier who is able to provide you with different sizes and power outputs so they are suitable to be used in a large number of applications. Make sure you take this into account when looking for a supplier and choose carefully to ensure that you can achieve optimum efficiency.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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