Episode #17: Gantry Systems: The Holistic Approach

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The Motion Control Show

I remember teaching somebody once the five building blocks that I referred to in a previous episode, Episode 2, “How to size and select those different components.”  Sometime later he comes back to me and he selected his mechanics, he selected his motor.  Now he was trying to decide how to select the drive and the controller and on up.  I started asking him questions about these and he's asking me about the drive.  I started asking more questions about the controller and he didn't understand why.  Then I started realizing that I needed to teach him the more holistic approach.  So, since then, I've been teaching what I call the holistic approach to sizing and selecting a motion control system. 

You cannot just start on the mechanics, pick the motors, pick the drives, pick the controls, pick the HMI.  First you must understand everything all together.  Since we're talking about mechanics, there's a few things we need to kind of jump on right off the bat.  To figure out the holistic approach, there's a lot more to it.  Here's a few things to consider right off the bat. 

I'm Corey Foster of Valin Corporation.  Let's keep talking about the holistic approach.  

Right off the bat, we need to talk about the lifespan.  I talked about that in more detail back in Episode 8, you can check that out. We need to talk about the mounting; I talked about that in Episode 16.  We need to talk more about the limit sensors and home switches, or do you want to use absolute encoders.  That may and can make a huge difference.  I'll be talking about that more on the next episode, Episode 18.  Stay tuned for that one.  Power input can really affect the motor and drive sizing.  That affects the motor mounting and the motors that are put on the gantry.  I'll be talking about that in future episodes.  Then there's point-to-point versus contouring.  This doesn't really affect the mechanics per se, but it can affect the controller.  This can affect the drive you select which can affect the motors you select.  This also affects the motor mounting on the actuators that we are sizing and selecting.  I discussed that a little bit here in this video, check it out…

Is this going to be a point-to-point application where the actuators are moved one direction at a time, just back and forth?  That’s a very simple application.  Or is there going to be interpolation, where there may be a circle that is moved?  In that case, we must coordinate the axes with higher level math.  Those are different capabilities that we have to make sure that the controller has or doesn't have, depending upon the application.  

So, don't make the same mistake of just focusing on one building block at a time.  Look at the whole system, ask questions about the whole system, look at the holistic approach and then bring it all together and make those decisions.       
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