Motion Control Technology—What is it?



Motion Control Technology—What is it?

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While walking through the International Fluid Power Exposition in Chicago last spring, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of exhibitors who displayed the term motion control technology. What is going on here? Is there something in this new buzzword that requires some further investigation? The answer, in my opinion, is an unqualified and resounding yes!

Motion control is a unique technology, as evidenced by the interest among industry’s engineers. But the technology remains in its formative stages. I believe it essential for practitioners of the fluid power art to be involved in this early stage of development, lest we be excluded from those industries that can benefit from the excellent motion-control attributes that fluid power offers.

E.A. Ross, a consultant with Ross Associates, defined motion control in a technical article as, “The precise control of position using an input control signal and an actuator consisting of a servoloop, or an incremental driver of similar precision.” Personally, I disagree with this definition because it contains the subjective term “precision,” and reasonable and knowledgeable engineers will disagree on the meaning of precision. Furthermore, the definition lists the constituent parts of the system. The last phrase is there, I presume, to accommodate the stepper motor industry.

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