Harsh Environments for Motion Control


We’re so used to automation that we can forget some of the reasons we use industrial machinery instead of having people do all the work by hand. Speed, obviously, and consistent results — those have been prime motivations for automation since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

But human safety is another of the purposes of automation. Not only can machines do repetitive motions at high speeds without the physical effects humans would suffer, but machines can also work in harsh environment.

Harsh environments include heat, washdown environments including those using caustic chemicals, and dangerous situations (you wouldn’t want to be collecting data near the mouth of a volcano, would you?).

It’s great that machinery can take care of this work so people don’t have to. But there’s another difference between machines and humans that comes into play here. Humans can adapt to harsh environments. Machines cannot.

Faced with excessive heat, people came up with fans, air conditioning, and iced tea. Excessive cold leads to clothing, homes and heaters. Machinery can’t come up with a workaround.

This means that you have to plan ahead for harsh environments. You can’t plan and configure your set-up in a temperate climate slightly above sea level in a cool, dry room and then transport the machinery to a cold, damp space at a high elevation. You have to look ahead.

Determine the environment your servos, drives, and controls will have to cope with and plan for that environment. If you’ve bought used components which have been in different environments, be prepared to make changes in your parameters.

And if something happens that you couldn’t foresee, give us a call. We can provide fast, expert support for all legacy Indramat and new Indradrive components.


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