A stepper motor, at its most basic definition, is an electromechanical device that converts electrical power into mechanical power. Specifically, it’s a brushless motor that can divide a full rotation into an equal number of steps and can be accurately controlled with no feedback mechanism when the motor is properly sized to the application.
The main types of stepper motors include permanent magnet stepper motors, variable reluctance stepper motors, and hybrid synchronous stepper motors. While these three vary in their operation, each brings a number of advantages to certain applications over their servo motor counterparts.
The Advantages of Stepper Motors
Not every application will benefit from a stepper motor, but in the right environment stepper motors can be ideal. First, stepper motors have full torque at standstill, and the rotation angle of the motor is proportional to the input pulse. Essentially, stepper motors offer excellent speed control, precise positioning, and repeatability of movement.
Additionally, stepper motors are highly reliable since there are no contact brushes in the motor. This minimizes mechanical failure and maximizes the operation lifespan of the motor. These motors can be used in a wide range of environments, as many different rotational speeds can be achieved because the speed is proportional to the frequency of pulse inputs.
Applications of Stepper Motors
Stepper motors are diverse in their uses, but some of the most common include:
- 3D printing equipment
- Textile machines
- Printing presses
- Gaming machines
- Medical imaging machinery
- Small robotics
- CNC milling machines
- Welding equipment
While these applications are the most common, they’re a fraction of what stepper motors can be used for. Generally speaking, any application that requires highly accurate positioning, speed control, and low speed torque can benefit from the use of stepper motors.
While servo motors have their place in industry as well as numerous advantages of their own, stepper motors are an ideal solution in many applications.
Stepper motors are a robust motion control technology and can be found inside of many common machines and equipment. To learn more, browse stepper motors at MCMA from the world’s leading suppliers.