Moog Animatics and Machine Design
Class 6 D-style SmartMotor and Doug Parentice

Powerful Integrated Motor Supports Efficient Design

July 8, 2022
Precision control designer and manufacturer Moog Animatics shows off its Class 6 D-style SmartMotor at Automate 2022.

READ MORE: Automate 2022: Machine Vision Solutions Point to the Future of Automation

If you chatted with the folks at the Moog Animatics booth at Automate 2022, chances are you were also invited to check out their showstopper: a Class 6D SmartMotor.

Machine Design had the pleasure of meeting with Doug Parentice, commercial leader for Moog Animatics, who shared an overview of the fully-integrated smart motor. “It is essentially a programmable servomotor combined with an multiturn absolute encoder, a drive, amplifier and a multi-axis motion controller,” said Parentice.

Synchronous Motion

To complete the motion control system, the unit was configured to link with a range of communication options, including USB and dual port Industrial Ethernet (EtherCAT, Profinet, Ethernet IP) along with the traditional RS-232/RS-485 and CAN connections.

A small footprint was apparent in the size of the demo model. “One of these motors is acting as the master and it is controlling the other motors on the system,” said Parentice. “What this allows machine builders to do, and those in the robotic space, is to build robotic machinery in a much more compact and simplified manner.”

He pointed out that the unit was designed to eliminate cables that are often a failure point in large systems. “The integrated nature of the product allows for the compact size of the 6-axis system,” he explained. It operates without a large control cabinet and without a PLC.

Extended Power Options

The unit is capable of various modes of operation. “There’s synchronous motion going on, there is circular interpolation and dual circular intuitive interpolation,” said Parentice. “And that’s all because of the sophistication of the firmware that’s embedded in the product. What it allows customers to do is to simply access that firmware and make very difficult motion control and robotic jobs simple.”

The Class 6D product line expands the power range to 1kW and provides higher torque density in the same compact package of previous series, noted a Moog Animatics press release. This feature, along with a wider operating temperature range capability (−20°C/−4°F to 100°C/212°F), gives designers a range of options in custom builds.


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Several additional efficiency enhancements demonstrate the forethought that went into the design. There is no battery in the encoder, it has a separate 24V power supply, there are no gears and it connects to diagnostics over USB with ease.

The solution has wide-ranging applicability, too. Parentice listed a broad base of applications where precision positioning is needed, from packaging and semiconductor equipment to general factory automation, autonomous guided vehicles and traverse take-up winding (spooling).

“We have done the heavy lifting; all you need to do is access what we’ve done and make that job very simple,” touted Parentice.

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