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Servo Motors vs. Stepper Motors for Motion Control: How do you choose the right one for your application?

The selection of the right motor is crucial for your motion control applications' efficiency and productivity. Because there are many factors to consider, such as cost, torque and efficiency, speed and circuitry, it can be hard to decide between stepper and servo motors.

It is important to understand the differences between these motors, and what each one offers. The motor's capabilities can then be matched to your application.

Different Servo Motors and Stepper Motors For Motion Control Applications

The overall pole count is the main difference between these motors. Stepper motors usually have between 50-100 pole counts. Servomotors have a lower pole count, between 4-12.

The difference in pole counts means that stepper motors operate incrementally and with a constant pulse in a closed loop circuit. An encoder is required for servo motors to adjust pulses for position control.

Stepper Motors for Motion Control: The high pole count of Pros and ConsStepper motors offer precise drive control for motion controller applications. They are relatively affordable and readily available and have high torque at low speeds.

However, stepper motors do have some limitations. They lose almost all their torque at high speeds, sometimes as much as 80%. They are susceptible to resonance problems and high vibrations. In some applications, stepper motors can also generate high levels of heat.

Servo Motors for Motion Control: The Pros and the Cons They are also efficient at between 80 and 90%. Servomotors are able to work in either AC or DC drives and they do not have vibration or resonance problems.

Although they have many benefits, servo motors are much more expensive than stepper ones. The entire system can get quite expensive when you add in the cost for an encoder and sometimes a gearbox. The system is more complicated because it requires an encoder and a gearbox, which can lead to higher maintenance costs and more frequent repairs.

Each motor has its own pros and cons. Understanding the differences between stepper and servo motors will help you match the motor to your specific application.