Episode #33: Can I Mix And Match Motors And Mechanics From Different Manufacturers?

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The Motion Control Show

We're continuing on our conversation about mixing and matching products from different manufacturers or suppliers.  Now we're talking about the motors and mechanics.  Out of the five building blocks of automation that I've talked about before, this is one of the easier ones to really mix and match.  But still, remember again as I've talked about before, that distributors are your suppliers and distributors really are adept and good at mixing and matching products from different manufacturers.  Manufacturers prefer to just talk about their own products.  But there's fewer manufacturers that have motors and mechanics than there are that have, let's say, motors and drives. So, you're really going to probably be using a different manufacturer between motors and mechanics, or you're more likely than other situations. But again, the question still applies, what's more important, your time or your money?

There are a few interesting things I have come across over my years that I have run into problems when mixing and matching motors and mechanics.  So, I thought I'd share a few of those.  While they are the easiest combination, there are still a few ‘gotchas.’  Let's look at a few compatibility issues.

Sizing the right motor for the mechanics: this may seem obvious, but if you are using one manufacturer’s mechanics, sometimes their tools may or may not make it easy to size another manufacturer’s motors.  It kind of depends upon that manufacturer and how good you are at sizing and selecting.  We've gotten pretty good at it, so we know how to do it.  But, sometimes there are some challenges to that.  In particular, it's the inertia matching.  You may think that you have enough torque in your motor and the math may show that you have enough torque in your motor.  But, if you don't look at that inertia of those mechanics, that could really bite you in the behind, especially if you are using servos and you want to tune them to pretty high performance.

Then you have to look at the bolt hole pattern.  Fortunately, these are fairly standard.  There's NEMA for the English.  There's metric for metric sizing.  These are pretty standard, but interestingly enough, like with NEMA 23, that's the 2.3 inch wide English sizing, sometimes you get ¼” shafts and other times you get 3/8” shafts, so you need to take a look at that.  Again, that's pretty easy to fix.

Then there's the pilot diameter.  Again, that's pretty typical, not too big of an issue, but it's still something you have to look at because there is some variation and sometimes it will bite you in the behind if you don't pay attention to that.

Then there's the coupler.  Couplers are pretty easy.  They’re fairly standard.  You just have to make sure you have the right diameter for the input shaft and the output shaft and make sure the length of the coupler’s right.  But, there are different types of couplers.  I know of a situation once where a sales guy tried to shave a few dollars off by going with a less expensive coupler. Unfortunately, that coupler was such that it really ruined the performance of the motor and stage. The motor and stage were high performance items, but then he put an inexpensive coupler in there and that really ruined that performance.  So, don't cheap out on the coupler.  But, you know, make sure you specify the right one.

These are all just different things that we've run into in specifying motors and mechanics. We're happy to help you out.  Reach out to us at this email address.  I'm Corey Foster at Valin Corporation, I hope this helps.

If you have any questions or are just looking for some help, we're happy to discuss your application with you.  Reach out to us at (855) 737-4716 or fill out our online form.