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How Linear Motors Contribute To The Boost Of Packaging Industry
Till about four decades ago pneumatic servo systems were in high demand. But they presented several problems such as leaks and individual power units per machine. In the phase that followed, cam driven screw machines were gradually replaced by ball screw actuators. Eventually, the 90s saw the replacement of pneumatics in electronic assembly machines by stepper and servo ball screw drives. This change happened because there was a need for programmable multi-position moves. Hence, linear motors gained prominence.
For several years, the packaging industry has heavily relied on pneumatic drives. However, with increasing demands for higher speeds and less downtime the pneumatic drives and high cycle air cylinders have proven ineffective. As more and more players from the packaging industry look for instant programmable change-over of the machine, the electric actuator has been in the spotlight. Electric actuators also eliminate the need for setting up an in-house pneumatic power plant that can prove to be very costly. However, it needs mention here that electric ball screw and early generation linear motor actuators did not offer much of a value-addition because the cycle speeds were almost the same. Besides, the cycle life wasn’t significantly better and the cost was also higher as compared to the older drive technology.
However, with the development of the new generation linear motors over the last one decade has helped address all of these problems. Following are some of the main reasons:
1. Their speeds can match cams and are significantly higher than air cylinders.
2. The life of these devices is much higher than that of air cylinders. It is at par with Cams.
3. The greatest advantage lies in the fact that an electric actuator has programmable adjustment movement profiles. Neither Cams nor air cylinders can boast of this feature.
4. As compared to pneumatic drives, the repeatable responses are 10 to 20 times better.
5. Customers stand to benefit from the fact that the cost of electric servo linear motors have dropped by a few hundred dollars making them more accessible than they were before. They are priced just a little more than air cylinders. However, they are a great investment considering the advantages they present.
6. There is no need for an in-house power plant making it very simple and easy to use.
By switching over to linear motors, manufacturers have been able to churn out higher units per cycle, thus achieving higher sales. With thousands of units being sold, linear servo motor companies have been able to pass on the benefit of economies of large scale. This, customers have been able to enjoy competitive rates as well as unmatched operational quality.