The Pandemic Continues To Shape Trends In Motion Control
In the first months of the new year, our motion control team takes stock of the current climate in the industry and looks ahead to what’s in store for the coming year. To that end, we ask leading suppliers of motion control components to give our readers insights into what they see as some of the top trends impacting their and their customers’ businesses.
While some familiar technological trends continue to shape product offerings, it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest factors impacting businesses of all kinds has been and continues to be the coronavirus pandemic. As consumers have seen throughout the pandemic, supply chain issues caused by labor and transportation disruptions has meant barren store shelves and heightened uncertainty over how to procure needed supplies; whether that be staple food items or toilet paper or disinfecting wipes.
These shortages had their origin in manufacturing issues including labor and transportation snags which led to low supplies of raw materials combined with surges in demand that overwhelmed production facilities. However, the pandemic accelerated certain technological shifts already under way. Perhaps chief among these is the boom in robotics and automation; two sweet spots for motion control technology that now look poised to grow even more this year and into the future.
Across the board, most if not all motion control suppliers report increased demand in automation and robotic-centric applications such as in medical laboratories with the automation of sample handling and testing. Such uses call for faster throughput rates for processing test samples, which in turn call for improvements in automation technology. Likewise for packaging applications where there is increased demand for robots to help automate tasks and boost production.
As automation increases, so too does the need to extend uptime and prevent costly down time. Hence, the continued growth in predictive maintenance. Monitoring critical equipment and components gives insights into overall operation and performance, leading to fewer component failures and less downtime.
Data is central to predictive maintenance. Collecting and analyzing data is important across the entire range of industrial uses; from the factory floor to field operations to remote wind farms. Making it all possible are smart components of various kinds (sensors and encoders, for instance) that gather critical data and can either analyze it on the spot or transmit it further down the line for further analysis.
All this and more is trending in motion control and what you’ll read about here in our special issue on Motion Control Trends. Also, remember that you can always find all of the latest news and information about the motion control industry at our motion-specific sites motioncontroltips.com and linearmotiontips.com, as well as bearingtips.com and couplingtips.com, and of course our flagship Design World web site designworldonline.com.
Filed Under: DIGITAL ISSUES