Many are aware of the numerous benefits of actuators in applications. But if you’re looking for the perfect fit for industrial machines, think servo motor actuators. Among others, their major features are high precision and repeatability. These qualities make them ideal for the automobile industry.
But how do these servo actuators reduce automobile production expenses? As you read, we underline everything about servo actuators. This piece covers what they are, how they work, their cost and how they help reduce production costs. You also get to know the benefits and why you should pick them for your next project.
What are Servo Motor Actuators?
These are devices responsible for rotating or pushing parts of the machine in which they are installed. They make sure the machine moves with utter precision. Linear servo actuators are popular in many applications. Among them are home electronics, household toys, vehicles and even planes.
Sometimes you recognize the operation of a servo actuator if that application uses radio control. It also involves moving levers around to control the steering or wing surfaces. As such, they are common in automobile and aircraft systems. It also helps in regulating speed levels by rotating the shaft from the engine throttle.
Servo actuators are also essential in home electronics. The head arms of hard drives in your computer are one of the more regular uses of the servo motor actuator at home.
How Do Servo Motor Actuators Work?
The main parts of a servo actuator system are:
- The device to be controlled
- The output sensor
- A feedback system
Typically, the command signal or reference input signal reaches the system during the application. The system then compares it with the output reference signal from the output sensor. It also compares these signals with another signal from the feedback system.
The feedback system signal now becomes the controller device’s input signal. This input signal continues to exist from the logical difference between the output and reference input signals.
At some point, the device reaches the desired output. The logical difference between the system’s input and output reference signals then ceases.
The final signal emitted from comparing the other signals is not often enough for the device’s operation. It does not produce sufficient output. That’s where applying the next command signal or reference input signal becomes necessary. In essence, the servo actuator mechanism’s main task is to maintain the desired value from the system’s output.
In all, the above is a typical closed-loop system with automatic control. Its operation involves comparing the reference input signal to the output signal. With this, it controls devices, unlike the application of a variable signal.
Advantages of Servo Actuators
Servo motors possess many benefits. The major ones that make them stand out are:
Servo actuators are great at delivering top speed, power, and excellent torque throughout their lifespan. Because of their reliable performance, they are the preferred actuator type for high-demand industrial applications.
Both the linear and rotary servo actuators offer massive power density in a system. The overall usage of energy by the system or machine is, therefore, less. Industries now become capable of building better energy-efficient solutions.
This is one of the servo actuator’s main features; high accuracy in motion control. It is a main requirement in several applications, especially in automobiles. Therefore, its high precision and impeccable repeatability make it an automotive industry favourite.
A rotary or linear servo actuator is compact. It is a great complement to systems with weight or space constraints. An example of such applications is in mini robotic systems.
How Servo Actuators Reduce Costs in Automobile Production
In the automotive sector, manufacturers are always seeking means to drop production costs. This, of course, includes improving the quality of their products. Here is where automation comes into play. To achieve these aims, welding robots are often crucial to the automation processes.
Resistance spot welding is one of the popular techniques in body and auto frame construction. Alongside robotic welding lines, it is a familiar sight in several automobile plants. This welding type involves accurate weld placement, precise pressure and speed. This is where servo welding actuators come in. The actuators help control the pressure and cycle timing on the robotic weld tips. It’s also important that the linear actuator is easily programmable as they need adjusting to each new car model.
Auto Chassis Welding: A Case Study
Below we analyze a case study. It entails how the servo actuator improved the car manufacturing processes and reduced costs.
In an automotive factory, an external guide assisted the servo actuator in performing spot welding. The process was to operate a movable welding electrode. The factory set the external guide mechanism in a thermal welding environment. This caused a contamination from welds being expelled. Eventually, it led to wear. This meant increased maintenance and a shortened life span of the chassis assembly. Maintaining and replacing the worn body parts led to reduced productivity and downtime.
As a solution to the problem, the factory introduced a servo welding actuator. The new servo actuator was to have internal side loading and anti-rotation support. It also came in an enclosed design to offer protection against harsh thermal conditions caused by welding.
The development resulted in reduced weld expulsion. It also removed burn-throughs and improved the life of the weld tip. The outcome was an improved weld quality due to consistency in weld tip force. Also, the less wear meant reduced downtime and higher productivity.
Also, the automotive plant needed a lightweight actuator working with a smaller robotic welding system. It needed to save storage and reduce weight for more effective welding. Hence, they installed an integrated servo motor in the new servo welding actuator. It solved the need for a timing belt transmission. This meant less maintenance cost due to downtime.
Servo motors are among the best actuators in the automotive industry. They offer higher speeds and repeatability and are more suitable for force-sensitive applications. The result is less energy consumption, less maintenance cost caused by machine downtime, and better performance. They also have high resistance to heated environments in welding. Therefore, the servo actuator is crucial to reducing overall automobile production costs.