Motion Control White Papers and Technical Articles

Articles and white papers on servo, stepper, and motion control technologies used in the automation, process control, and instrumentation industry.

Many of the following links are PDF documents and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Download Acrobat Reader Here.

Position Encoder Deep Dive

By Chuck Lewin, Performance Motion Devices This article provides a survey of encoder types and the just-as-important subject of data formats that are used to carry and encode position information. Click here to read full article...

Integrating Next Generation Motion Control with Programmable Automation Controllers

By GE Fanuc
White paper discusses recent trends that have led to the need for PACs, benefits of integrating the latest generation of motion control with PACs, and the critical capabilities OEMs should assess when selecting such an integrated automation control system. Request White Paper.

Intelligent Programmable Drives Become a Control for the Entire Machine

Mechatronic solutions and modular machine concepts become more and more important for machine manufacturers. Mechatronics has proven to simplify machine construction with servo drives and intelligent Motion Control software. With the right control architecture, machine building becomes extremely efficient and allows the development of very flexible machines with a high degree of quality and throughput. Read complete paper by Josef Hammer of Siemens Energy & Automation.

Save with the Right Distributed Motion Control

by: Peishan Juan, Advantech
Not all distributed motion control approaches are the same. There’s a need to pay attention to the degree of time-determinism, the amount of integration in control loops, the types of motors that can be managed, the openness of the software interface, and other specifications. Read entire article by Advantech.

Engineering Reference: Stealth Helical Planetary Gearhead Technology

Design engineers are continually looking to increase throughput and production requirements. They require their suppliers to anticipate this demand by constantly improving product performance. In the case of servo manufacturers, the need was for motors that could perform more complicated moves, produce higher torques and speeds. With the development of new micro electronic and magnet technology, servo manufacturers were increasing the capabilities of their motors. The market demanded a gearhead that would be able to match these requirements. Read full article

Servo System Sizing: The Need, the Present & the Future

What is the need for a properly sized servo system?  What every customer and business wants - better performance and reliability at a lower cost.  However, more often than not, a servo system is either undersized or oversized. Read full article

Siemens SIMOTION - Innovative Controller Concept for Production Machines

Are you faced with the need to automate a production machine? Then you have a very challenging task ahead of you! From the outside, your machine appears simple and straightforward enough. But when you consider the functional requirements, your machine poses a real challenge. Read full article

Flexible Coupler Design Assistance

There are as many as 10 issues that need to be considered when selecting a flexible coupler.  The issues of misalignment and torsional stiffness will be discussed in this article.  Read this article

Selecting the Optimal Conveyor Drive

This paper suggests several mechanical, electrical, and software ideas that will enable conveyor designers to optimize conveyor reliability and "maintainability" without the need for large investments in equipment and design time. It introduces the concept of internally powered conveyor belt drives and offers generally applicable belt drive design software. More Info...

Waterproof Step Motors Make Waves in Industry

Because of the preponderance of water and solvents, motion control components are often exposed to the risk of corrosion and failure. Waterproof motors are a key part of the solution to water-induced motor failure problems. More Info...

Considerations for Step Motors in Space Applications

The application of stepper motors in space is a design problem whose complexity is frequently underestimated. While most of the research in this field has focused on bearings and lubrication, there are a number of other issues to be considered. More Info...

Motor Designs To Survive Hostile Environments

A new generation of step motors is allowing motion control applications to prosper where they were previously impossible or, at best, very difficult. More Info...

Semiconductor Manufacturing Requirements Drive New Automation Technologies

In addition to highly repetitive tasks, positioning equipment has long been used to provide very specialized functions and processes. More Info...

Motors for Positioning in Vacuums

Operating a motor in a vacuum is often perceived as a design challenge. Among engineers, the problems -- outgassing, contamination and temperature -- are well known. What is less well known is that there are now well-developed solutions to each of these problems. More Info...

Specialty Motors for Corrosive Environments

In the motion control industry, hostile environments often require specially-designed motors to combat corrosion, and a small company in Rohnert Park, California has built an entire business around this industry need. More Info...

Linear Motors Complement Today's Linear Motion Technologies

Today's linear motion applications are more demanding than ever before. Faster throughput, more exact positioning, longer life, less maintenance, fewer moving parts, the list is never ending. More...

Fundamentals of Servo Motion Control

The fundamental concepts of servo motion control have not changed significantly in the last 50 years. The basic reasons for using servo systems in contrast to open loop systems include the need to improve transient response times, reduce the steady state errors and reduce the sensitivity to load parameters. More...

Why Ethernet is Your Best Connection

As far as industrial motion control is concerned, Ethernet, fieldbus and PCI are all capable of carrying the same information between a high-level machine controller and a motion controller. Ethernet is a networking protocol, PCI is a PC bus architecture and fieldbus is used in industrial control. These three technologies are now competing for the same users, and while the playing field may be level, the technologies offer their own highs and lows. More...

Should I ever put an Encoder on the back of a step motor?

The easiest answer to this question is no! In the past encoders were common on step motor applications and were present in as a many as 25% of the total step motor axes being used for precise positioning applications. More...

Multi-Axis Synchronization

In many machine control and automation problems, there are two or more axes of motion which must be coordinated. More...

Advances in Digital Servo Drive Motor Protection

In the last several years, many digital servo drive producers have developed features to prolong the life of both the rotary and linear motors they are paired with. More...

Feed-To-Length (PDF)

Servo Handbook (HTML)

Observer-based Resolver Conversion in Industrial Servo Systems (PDF)

Cures for Mechanical Resonance in Industrial Servo Systems (PDF)

An Internet-based Expert System for Servo Performance Problems (PDF)

PDFF: An Evaluation of a Velocity Loop Control Method (PDF)

Comparison of Drive and Controller Architecture: SERCOS and Analog (HTML)

Load to Motor Inertia Mismatch: Unveiling the Truth (PDF)

New Online Motion Components Selector Saves Time ( is a new online motion control resource that offers a series of valuable new tools for selecting and sizing (coming soon) various types of electric motor-based products including motors, linear actuators, gear-motors, motors with matching drives, integrated motor drives, and motors with many different integral components. The site was launched by Motion Tech Trends, a leading electric motor and motion control marketing and technology consulting firm, who claims to offer users an unparalleled search experience. Read full article by Rick Zabel