Engineering Notes by Oriental Motor

Smart System Performs Reciprocating Motion & Force Sensing Without a PLC or External Sensors

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 30, 2018 1:38:20 PM / by Johann Tang

Johann Tang

Automation is great for repetitive tasks, such as test fixtures for a process that has to repeated.  In this post, we will explain how to perform a reciprocating motion (back and forth cycles) with a product that does not require a PLC or external presence sensors, which can help speed up design cycles.

Reciprocating motion test fixture We will use an endurance testing application example where a test fixture is to test a push button repeatedly for 10,000 cycles.  To perform the test, the red button needs to be pressed 10,000 times.  An actuator will need to move up and down repeatedly in order to provide the pressing motion.  An external pressure sensor or presence sensor would be required to provide a signal to tell the actuator when to stop pressing and move back up to a home position.  Typically, a PLC is also required to manage these I/O signals.  This means more parts, knowledge, and labor are necessary for a successful implementation.


Challenge Create Reciprocating Motion and Torque Sensing Without a PLC or Sensors


Conventional Equipment: Endurance test equipment that receives inputs from an external sensor with a host PLC and presses the push button 10,000 times.

Problems with Conventional Equipment: 

  • Many components need to be integrated including motor, actuator, driver, sensors, and PLC.
  • An external host controller (PLC) is required, which drives up the cost.
  • External sensor(s) are required for limits and force sensing.
  • More knowledge, inventory, and labor are necessary to integrate the entire system successfully.

There may be an easier way.


Solution EAC Series Motorized Cylinder and Stored Data Driver System

For such a repetitive push and pull application, an electric linear cylinder system is recommended to perform the linear motion.  With built-in stored data operations from a stored data type driver, such as automatic sequential operation, some PLCs, or at least some PLC functions, can be eliminated.

Oriental Motor's EAC Series motorized cylinders offer the same Alphastep Hybrid Control technology as well as a built-in absolute encoder from the popular AZ Series "ABZO" Mechanical Absolute Encoder .  Along with its dedicated driver, the entire system is plug and play, and specifications are guaranteed.  The AlphaStep hybrid control technology automatically switches between open-loop and closed-loop operation to provide error-free position control, while the built-in mechanical absolute encoder (ABZO sensor) manages absolute position coordinates without the need for a backup battery.  The EAC Series linear cylinders are also offered with an optional, pre-assembled linear guide to handle moment loads, which eliminates the need for an external guide.  Due to pre-assembled components, guaranteed specifications, and built-in functions, engineers can focus their available time on improving other areas of their design.stepper-motors-az-absolute-sensor

The role of the PLC in this example is to send command signals to the driver in order to tell the actuator when and how far to move up and down.  With advanced point-to-point programming from the AZ Series stored data drivers, a continuously repeating (looping) motion can be programmed without a PLC.  This is called Automatic Sequential Operation.

Additionally, the driver's push motion function can be used in place of pressure or torque sensors.   For example, if you set the push motion at 20%, a dedicated TLC output signal can be used to indicate when that 20% torque has been reached, and the actuator can be programmed to move back up to its home position when it happens.  Essentially, a system can be configured where the actuator comes down and presses the button, then when the actuator senses a 20% load torque from pressing the button, it will automatically move back up to the home position, then repeat.  Additional programming can be added to start the operation when the actuator completes a homing operation, or when the system provides a READY status.  Any of the physical or remote I/O signals can be used to start a specific sequence of motion (see Event Trigger function).

To set up the motion data and system parameters, or to monitor the statuses  of the EAC Series, please download our powerful MEXE02 universal product support software.

Reciprocating motion test fixture with EAC cylinder-1

Advantages Offered by EAC Series: 

EAC cylinder & driver

  • Pre-assembly saves time & labor
  • Built-in absolute ABZO sensor can eliminate external home & limit sensors as well as an absolute encoder and battery
  • Built-in push motion function can elminate pressure or torque sensors
  • Built-in loop programming eliminates PLC
  • High efficiency design for high duty
Result Simpler Designs, Lower Costs, and Faster To Market

See how easy it is to program the data for the reciprocating motion with the MEXE02 software.

Watch more software training videos, such as push motion setting or palletizing operation.

See All Linear Motion Systems


Topics: Torque Limit (Push Motion, Tension Control), Absolute Positioning, Alphastep Hybrid Control, Linear & Rotary Actuators, VIDEOS, Software, Application Examples

Johann Tang

Written by Johann Tang

Johann Tang is a Product Specialist at Oriental Motor USA Corp. with 20+ years of experience in sales, technical application support, and training of various types of fractional horsepower electric motors, gear motors, actuators, drivers, and controllers. Feel free to ask him questions on Linkedin.

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