All About Servo Motors

Servo motors are self-contained electrical components often employed in closed-loop mechanical systems. Depending on the application, they help system operators maintain control over the speed and/or position of other systems parts.

Due to their critical function, servo motors require careful maintenance and repair to ensure they remain in optimal working order. At Schneider Electric, we provide a comprehensive range of servo motor repair, replacement, and remanufacturing services to help our customers sustain productivity levels and avoid costly downtime.

What Are Servo Motors?

Servo motors consist of a regular motor component integrated with a potentiometer and control circuit. When positioned in a mechanical system, they receive electrical signals—either analog or digital—that dictate how much they should move the attached components (usually shafts).

These components often find use in the industrial and commercial sectors in applications that require high-precision, high-accuracy control. Equipped with precise sensing and self-correcting capabilities, they are suitable for use in highly complex automation applications, such as assembly or material handling operations. Some of the most common industrial applications include:

  • Airplanes
  • Elevators
  • Food and beverage processing lines
  • In-line manufacturing systems
  • Robots

How Do Servo Motors Work?

The key components of a standard servo motor are as follows:

  • The motor
  • The potentiometer
  • The control circuit

In mechanical systems, the motor attaches to the desired system component, allowing it to change speed and position when prompted by the system operator or pre-programmed automation software. As the motor rotates the component, the potentiometer experiences a change in its resistance. This change is communicated to the control circuit, which determines how the motor should proceed in regard to speed and direction. 

Servo motors also use a signal wire to create proportional control. This signal wire can read if the equipment is near the desired position or not. Depending on the equipment’s location relative to its goal, it can initiate the following reactions:

Speeding up the equipment’s movement to reach the desired position faster

Slowing the equipment down as it nears the desired position

Disconnecting the power once the equipment is in the right place

Types of Servo Motors

Servo motors can be classified based on three factors:

  1. DC vs. AC. The speed of a servo motor depends on whether it features a DC or AC design. In DC servo motors, the speed relies solely on the supply voltage, while in AC servo motors, the speed is dependent on the number of magnetic poles and the voltage frequency. Due to their tolerance for higher currents, AC motors often find use in industrial applications, such as high-precision, high-repetition robotics, and manufacturing operations. DC servo motors are better suited for smaller, lower current applications,
  2. Type of commutation. These motors can have a brushed or brushless design. Brushed motors are typically available at a lower price point and have simpler operating requirements, while brushless motors offer greater reliability and efficiency and lower noise levels. DC motors can be brushed or brushless, while AC motors are generally brushless.
  3. Synchronous or asynchronous rotation of the rotor and field. This distinction generally applies only to AC motors. In synchronous motors, the rotor and magnetic field of the stator rotate at the same speed. In asynchronous motors, the rotor rotates slower than the magnetic field of the stator.

Servo Motor Repair Services at Schneider Electric

Servo motors have a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Their ability to handle complex tasks necessitates complex internal systems that need careful repair and maintenance. For customers that need assistance troubleshooting or repairing their servo motor systems, the team at Schneider Electric is here to help.

With over 40 years of industrial electronic repair experience, we have the knowledge and skills to repair, replace, and/or remanufacture a wide range of servo motors from many popular brands.

Contact our team today to discuss your servo motor problems and start working towards a solution. 

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