Engineering Notes by Oriental Motor

8 Reasons to Upgrade to the AZ Series Connector Type Motors

[fa icon="calendar"] Originally posted on Feb 23, 2024 9:00:00 PM
Last updated on April 11, 2024 / by Johann Tang

Johann Tang

Facing a leaner engineering workforce and rising costs, machine designers need a way to build machines faster with less resources.  Aligned with our continuous commitment to simplify motion control, this article explains the innovative features of the new connector type motor for our flagship AZ Series and how it supports faster installation and maintenance.





Oriental Motor's customer-facing teams regularly seek feedback for the purpose of improving our products.  In this case, a number of customers provideded feedback about our AZ Series cable type motors, which is our popular closed-loop motors and drivers with AlphaStep hybrid open/closed-loop control technology and patented built-in mechanical absolute encoder.

  • A customer was using an AZ Series cable type motor in a test process to eliminate homing accuracy issues due to thermal expansion of an external photo sensor.  To make cable routing easier, a suggestion was made to consolidate the cables between the motors and drivers.

  • A customer was using a 20 mm frame size AZ Series cable type motors to position a stage in a tight space and were using joining cables to extend the cable from the motor to the driver.  However, the joining connectors were bigger than the cable and cannot fit.  They also had electrical noise interference and washdown concerns due to the exposed connectors on the joining cables.  To alleviate these issues, a suggestion was made to eliminate the middle extension cable.

  • A customer was using an AZ Series cable type motor for an LED equipment and needed flexible cables for routing around internal components.  In the cable type motor, there's a part of the cable that's not flexible, and a suggestion was made to make the whole cable flexible.

Responding to customer feedback, Oriental Motor has released a new line of AZ Series connector type motors using a new flat connector from Hirose Electric to improve useability and a consolidated cable make it easier to connect to the drivers.

In the standard cable type motor, the motor will have several pigtail cables, which include the motor, encoder, protective earth ground, and electromagnetic brake (brake motor type only).  To connect to the driver, a middle extension cable is necessary.

In the new connector type motor, we have improved the design of the connector and consolidated all the cables into one cable to make these motors easier to use, simpler to maintain, and fit into tighter spaces.

Let's take a deeper look and learn what advantages the new connector type motors can provide for you.


Benefits of One Cable Technology

Unification of Cables

  • Reduce routing work and downsize cable holder

By consolidating all the cables into one, only 1 cable is required for each motor.  In the example below, we show how 5 cables for the Y and Z axes in a cartesian system are changed to 2 cables.  The cable holder can be downsized as a result.


AZ Series connector type motor comparison - # of cables


Direct Connection

  • No more middle joining cables.

For the cable type motor, a connection cable is required to extend the cable more than the standard pig tail length of 300 mm.  Sometimes, the electrical noise emits from the exposed connectors in between the cables can affect other machine components.  The new connector type motor uses one cable technology and reduces electrical noise interference (EMI).


Cable Type AZ Series cable type connection example
Connector Type AZ Series connector type motor cable connection example


3 Cable Outlet Directions for Flexibility

  • Select from three cable outlet directions

The connector and cable comes in 3 configurations (shaft direction, vertical direction, or opposite to output shaft direction).  You must order the connection cable this way (use "F" = front, "B" = back, "V" = vertical in the cable part number ).  This increases the degree of cable outlet freedom around the motor.


AZ Series connector type motor - 3 cable outlet directions


Faster Maintenance

  • Direct connection leads to quicker replacement of motors and cables

Perform speedy motor maintenance by dealing with less cables (and downsizing your cable track).  In the example below, we show what the differences look like.


AZ Series connector type motor downsizes cable track


Reduced Material

  • By consolidating the cable, the materials used to manufacture the cables are reduced.
Electrical cables are composed of a conductive metal wire core, such as copper or aluminum, surrounded by various layers of materials, such as insulation, tapes, screens, armor for mechanical protection, and sheathing.  By consolidating 3 cables into 1, we reduced the cross-sectional area by 44.3% and mass by 55.5%.


Reference: comparison of cable diameters, cross-section areas, and masses


Easy Installation

  • Lock lever connector for simple connection

Connecting the cable is easy due to the lock lever that does not require screw.  Just insert connector and lock the lever.


AZ Series connector type motor - 3 step cable locking process


Low Profile, Flat Connector

  • A motor with a flat connector can fit into tighter spaces

The new low profile flat connector is lower in height by 49 mm when compared to the cable type.


AZ Sereis connector type motor has a lower height profile


Maintains High Ingress Protection

  • The new connector and cable maintain an IP66 ingress protection rating for dusty or washdown environments

Same as the cable type motor, the connector type motors maintain the IP66 rating; meaning that it's able to handle a sprayed water jet of 100 kPa at a rate of 100 l/min for 3 minutes from all directions at a distance of 3 meters.


IP66 rated AZ Series connector type motor


⚡ One Cable Challenge: Dealing with Electrical Noise

Stepper motors are driven by PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control, so radiated noise is generated from the motor signals as it switches phases during rotation.  Due to this problem, conventional cables have to separate the low signal encoder cable and the electromagnetic brake cable from the motor cable.   


In order to combine all signals into one cable and prevent issues from electrical noise or magnetic interference inside the motor, we needed to redesign the motor internally and re-route the motor and electromagnetic brake wires inside the motor.  


Internal structure of an AZ Series connector type motor with electromagnetic brake


The built-in mechanical absolute encoder has a steel shield cup covering it since it's a type of magnetic sensor that uses a series of permanent magnets to track absolute position coordinates like clocks.  To prevent the effects of external magnetic fields, the magnetic sensor is housed inside a steel shield cup.  To protect against electrical noise interference, the shield cup and motor casing are now electrically grounded using a metal spring.  The magnetic sensor opening has also been sealed.


Shield cup - inside an AZ Series connector type motor AZ Series connector type motor - ABZO sensor location


By forcing an electrical ground using a metal spring, noise propagation to the ABZO sensor is eliminated by setting the shield cup and motor housing to the same potential and providing a way to absorb radiation noise.


Blog - AZ connector type noise reduction


Product Lineup

The AlphaStep AZ Series connector type motors are available in 2 frame sizes: 42 and 60 mm.  More frame sizes will become available as we expand this series over time.  The specifications and flange size are the same as the traditional cable type, so it's easy to upgrade AZ Series cable type motors to connector type motors without missing a beat.

The connector type motor can be ordered with various pre-assembled gearhead options, such as the TS spur gear, right-angle FC "face" gear, PS planetary gear, or harmonic gear.  In the future, we also plan to expand the connector type motor to linear and rotary actuators.

The connector type motor is compatible with all of the drivers from the AZ Series:  AC input, DC input, and mini Drivers.  Common industrial communication protocols include EtherNetIP, EtherCAT, Profinet, and other popular networks.

Cable lengths for the connector type motors range from 1 to 10 meter for AC input drivers; 0.5 to 10 meter for DC input, and 0.2 to 10 meter for mini drivers.


AZ Series connector type motors lineup


Learn more about AZ Series connector type motors


The new AZ Series connector type motors are also compatible with our mini drivers.  These are our smallest closed-loop drivers.


AlphaStep AZ Series mini drivers lineup


Choose the right connection cable or flexible connection cable for your AC input, DC input, or mini driver.  One cable locking connector allows for a maximum of 10 m (32.8 ft.) between the motor and driver with the same motor performance specifications as our standard cable-type AZ Series.  Current motor cable connections are not compatible multi-axis drivers.


AZ Series connector type motors - use flexible cables for max bend radius



In summary, a consolidated cable has these 8 benefits:

  • Less cables to deal with
  • Directly connect motor to driver without no middle extension
  • 3 cable outlet directions to choose from
  • Reduce maintenance with less cables to route
  • A consolidated cable helps reduce material used
  • One cable makes installation easier and faster
  • A low profile, flat connector for smaller motor footprint
  • Maintains IP66 ingress protection rating

Until wireless motion control becomes possible, cables will be essential to any motion control system whether it uses motors, linear actuators, or rotary actuators.  By consolidating the motor cables for the AZ Series connector type, Oriental Motor aims to make motor installation and maintenance easier and faster for all engineers involved.


AlphaStep AZ Series connector type motors


The AZ Series connector type motors are part of the AlphaStep AZ Series product family, which also includes dedicated smart drivers, linear actuators, and rotary actuators.

Is there a product feature that you want in our products?  Please let us know!

Update: March 18th, 2024

There's one more reason to upgrade to the AZ Series connector type motors.

Released in 2024, these "integrated motor" style driver mounting brackets can be used to mount a AZ Series mini driver to a connector type motor to save space and cabling.

These mounting brackets are currently available for 42 mm and 60 mm frame size connector type motors.






Topics: Stepper Motors, Absolute Positioning, Alphastep Hybrid Control, New Product Introductions

Johann Tang

Written by Johann Tang

Johann Tang is a Product Specialist at Oriental Motor USA Corp. Before joining the marketing team, he spent 15 years in sales, technical application support, and training of various types of fractional horsepower electric motors, gear motors, actuators, drivers, and controllers. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the live chat window, 1-800-GO-VEXTA (1-800-468-3982), or, to reach our product support team. Johann can be reached via LinkedIn. Sorry, comments have been turned off.

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