Automated systems are becoming ubiquitous in many countries and one of the key enabling factors has been motion control. Indeed, this multibillion-dollar industry has been steadily increasing in value and expected to hit the $22.84 billion-dollar mark by 2022. While motion control systems are everywhere, industrial automation has been a big driver of this trend.
Here’s an overview of why the motion control market is booming and where it’s headed in the next few years.
What is a motion control system?
Motion control systems provide advanced automated functionality to machines in a large number of fields, serving many different purposes. They typically work by initiating and coordinating machine movements with a high degree of precision when it comes to factors such as speed, position and torque.
Most motion control systems are made up of at least a controller, a drive/amplifier, and a motor. They can often be mixed and matched in a variety of different ways, integrating old hardware with new hardware or robotic control systems with non-robotic ones depending on the sophistication of the technology involved.
As industrial automation continues to spread, motion control centers have become invaluable across factory floors and more. Indeed, motion control systems can be found almost everywhere one goes in a modern town or city; from coffee machines to escalators, shopping malls to aerospace manufacturing centres, they are ingrained into the very fabric of modern society.
However, their ubiquity doesn’t mean that they’re mere playthings. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. Motion control systems have the advantage of being highly modular and configurable, but it takes experience, knowledge and training for an automation technician to know how to set up and maintain them.
Robots are fueling the boom
Recent industrial automation trends are at the heart of the increasing demand for motion control systems. As the use of robots in industrial settings continues to grow, the motion control market value is expected to undergo a significant boost – rather impressive, given that as early as 2015 it was a market worth $15.65 billion. Of course, none of this is surprising given that robots have been highly adopted by manufacturers.
For example, warehouse owners have taken to automated solutions capable of moving materials, carts and more. Intelligent motion control centers, in particular, have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to this growing demand for automation, boasting features such as improved diagnostic data processing and increased flexibility of over their traditional counterparts.
Aerospace and other advanced manufacturing sectors
In the aerospace, defense and automotive industries, motion control technology have played a significant role in the push towards upgrading and automating mission-critical and safety-critical systems. The technology can be used for a variety of different purposes, controlling everything from landing to propulsion systems.
This is particularly true as vehicles continue to undergo electrification, requiring engineers and technicians to incorporate intelligent motion control devices capable of replacing older hydraulic systems, which tend to require more maintenance. Mobile weapon systems, unmanned aircraft systems, and aircraft emergency fuel systems are only just a few of the many advanced systems requiring the use of motion control technology.
The medical industry
Though it may be surprising to some, the medical industry is also a driving force behind the recent boom in motion control systems. This is because modern medical technology often requires a high degree of precision in order to be safe and effective. As bioengineers continue to innovate and produce new marvels to tackle health and safety challenges, motion control systems are expected to continue playing a role in everything from cataract surgery to radiation technology, bionic prosthetics to all-terrain wheelchairs capable of traversing stairs and more.
For instance, by incorporating sophisticated motion control technology into radiation therapy systems, engineers and doctors can ensure that patients undergoing treatment will not be exposed to more radiation than necessary thanks to the compact size, multitasking ability and accuracy of modern motion controllers.
Motion control is booming
Motion control systems are clearly at the center of many new technological innovations across a wide range of industries, used in everything from commercial airplanes to children’s respiratory devices. As industrial automation continues to gain traction across the world, the demand for motion control systems – and the expertise to program and maintain such systems – will likely continue to grow in tandem.