Miniature automation requires miniature motion components.
Ever-tinier machine designs have spurred the use of miniature motion components to build what are in many cases custom designs. These builds often rely on
components pre-integrated into subsystems such as:
- Miniaturized slotless and coreless motors sporting thumbnail-sized drives and encoders within housings often no larger than a pencil
- Frameless motors that don’t come with their own housing, but rely on the OEM’s component frame for protection and support
- Linear stages with linear rails pre-engineered into the build by the supplier
Other examples or pre-integration for compactness abound.
No matter how they’re built into systems though, nearly all motion components come in diminutive versions that were unimaginable even a decade ago.
In this Motion Control Classroom, we’ll cover some of these components — including miniature linear slides guides, sensors, encoders, gear, and motors that lend
themselves to tiny designs.
Semiconductor manufacture continues to spur many of these scaled-down builds, along with demand for pocket-sized consumer home products and small
appliances with motion functions. Aerospace too continues to require pint-sized designs for maximal efficiency and functionality. Perhaps the biggest driver of
miniature motion designs though is the medical-device industry … a trend likely to grow as COVID demands creative new approaches to medical manufacturing,
distribution, and treatment — including more emphasis on automated status-monitoring systems, distributed laboratory operations, and home healthcare.