White papers
and articles

Know your options, choose your solution

Download our white papers and articles to learn about motion control components and architectures. Explore your options and develop your strategy for balancing costs, reliability, maintenance, and time-to-market.

White papers:

Motion Control Boards for Machine Design

Learn how you can benefit from motion control boards in your designs. Consider the different motion control board form factors, their fit with different machine requirements, and how they affect machine design. Examples include a 3D printer, tabletop test equipment, and a three-stage pick-and-place assembly line.

Motion Control Components and System Architecture

Learn how motion control solutions based on ICs, boards, and drives meet different machine requirements and affect machine design. Examples include medical/biotech equipment, a 3D printer, and an industrial paper-cutting machine.


Motion Software - Part I HTML

This article is the first part of a two-part piece on motion software – both the kind that lets you tune your system and the kind used to write your machine's application code.

Motion Software - Part II HTML

This article is the second part of a two-part deep dive into the world of motion software. Having the right software for both tuning and programming is critical to getting your machine to market quickly.

Selecting The Right Motion Control Amplifier HTML

A detailed look at motion control amplifiers. Making the right design choice can have a big impact on your machine's cost and performance.

Mechanical Resonant Frequency HTML

Explore why a machine is exhibiting resonant frequency and what tools can be used to analyze it.

Motion Kinematics HTML

Take a close look at motion kinematics through the control of robot arms and other non-Cartesian mechanisms.

Advanced Step Motor Control HTML

Explore the world of step motors and new control approaches for making these versatile and cost-effective motors operate more smoothly, efficiently, and rapidly.

Common Motion Problems and How to Fix Them - Part I HTML

Everyone who has worked in motion control has a war story, be it the machine that mysteriously stopped working or the motor that wouldn't stop vibrating. Fortunately, common problems often have common solutions.

Common Motion Problems and How to Fix Them - Part II HTML

We continue with our deep dive series that gives you tools to diagnose common motion control problems and get your machine back on track!

Common Motion Problems And How To Fix Them - Part III HTML

We wrap up our deep dive series on how to diagnose common motion control problems and get your machine back on track!

Regenerative Braking - Part I: Steady State Analysis HTML

In this two-part piece, we investigate the conditions at which battery regeneration can occur. The emphasis of this article is on the analysis of a battery powered vehicle operating at a steady state.

Regenerative Braking, Part II HTML

This second part of our regenerative braking deep-dive uses a theoretical model to prove the existence of steady state regeneration and provides insight into estimating the energy recovered during regenerative conditions of an electric vehicle.

Motion Controller Design Deep Dive: See the forest through the trees with this overview of motion controller design architectures HTML

A detailed look at design choices for building a machine controller that provides precision motion control. This article addresses whether it is best to build or buy motion control hardware and software, and what aspects of your application are most important for determining the architecture of your machine controller.

Servo Tuning Deep Dive: Black art, rocket science, or walk in the park? HTML

An overview of proportional, integral, derivative (PID) based servo tuning and two standard manual tuning methods that work well for a large variety of systems. This piece shows that optimal parameters vary with application and performance goals, even for the exact same motor and amplifier setup.

Torque Feedforward Deep Dive - Get The Most Out Of Your Motion Controller by Feeding It More Information HTML

Take a look at torque control and the related subject of torque feedforward, which can make your system run smoother and deliver better accuracy.

Synchronized Motion Deep Dive: New Techniques Complement The Tried And True To Precisely Synchronize Axes Motion HTML | PDF

Many motion applications require precise synchronization of one or more axes. Understand some of the important approaches toward motion synchronization and have some fun with a motion synchronization video from the PMD lab.

Position Encoder Deep Dive: New Measurement Techniques Drive New Formats HTML

With positioning motion control applications, one position feedback device has been king of the hill for a long time: the incremental optical encoder with quadrature output, which has very low-cost, good-enough resolution, and good-enough ruggedness.

Field Oriented Control Deep Dive HTML

Brushless DC, step, and DC brush motors are the three most commonly used motor types for positioning and velocity motion control applications. Of these, brushless DC and step motors are “multi-phase,” meaning they require some type of external coil excitation. Explore the most popular techniques for multi-phase motor control, and determine which techniques work best for various positioning and high-speed spinning applications.

S-Curve Profiles Deep Dive HTML

S-curve motion profiles add “smoothing” segments to the traditional 3-phase trapezoidal profile (accelerate, coast, decelerate). Why is this better? The answer is beyond the motor, at the load itself.

Top 10 Tips - Things to Know About Motion Controllers HTML | PDF

Motion controllers are complex animals, no doubt about it. But with a few tips from the experts about proper specification, location, and avoidance of mishaps, choosing the right controller for the job is as easy as one, two, three.

Motion Performance Trace HTML | PDF

The question facing the designer is: how do you go about making these improvements? How do you optimize the various motion controller variables such as profile parameters, servo gains, and commutation, to arrive at the best overall machine performance?

Motoring to Success HTML | PDF

Understand the issues around selecting the right type of motor for positioning control applications.

Tuning Servomotors HTML | PDF

Get an overview of proportional, integral, derivative (PID) based servo loops. We’ll introduce two standard manual tuning methods that work well for a large variety of systems.

Mathematics of Motion Control Profiles HTML | PDF

Review the mathematics of motion profiles, understand which profiles work best for which applications, and gain valuable insights into how to tune your profile for maximum performance.

Motion Control Architectures HTML | PDF

Examine trends and review the four major motion control architectures in use today. Two of these can be traced back to earlier motion control approaches, and two are more recent additions.

Motion Control Networks HTML | PDF

The cost savings and flexibility offered by motion networks can be substantial. The key is knowing which solution will work best in your application.

Motion ICs Make Their Move HTML | PDF

Learn about the significant cost savings that can result from integrating separate motion control functions together. Understand the recent developments in motion ICs that have made new architectures possible.

New Developments in Commutation and Motor Control Techniques HTML | PDF

Examine the latest trends in advanced current control techniques, including a comparison of various commutation techniques.

Mathematics of Electronic Motor Control HTML | PDF

Several trends have been driving the use of sophisticated, complex motor control algorithms. The most important of these trends include the desire for lower energy consumption and the need for higher performance. PMD Founder Chuck Lewin addresses these trends and introduces the major techniques used to control multi-phase motors, both brushless DC and AC induction.

Phase Initialization Step By Step Guide HTML | PDF

This document describes in detail the setup procedure for initializing commutation on the brushless Navigator and Pilot families of motion processors.

Haptic Feedback in Motion Control HTML

Motion control applications with an operator remotely controlling a robot or mechanism can now be expanded to where the operator can “feel” what the robot is touching.