Design World’s Motion Control Classroom

Welcome to the Motion Control Classroom or MC² — a new online reference series for design engineers needing information about motion components and systems. Curated by Design World’s editorial team, each installment is a digital content hub with comprehensive background information, current trends, typical and emerging applications, and FAQs on one motion technology.

Design World Motion Control Classroom

Recall that linear-motion supports take the form of guide rails, slides, and ways … and include profile rails, linear bearings, guide wheels, slides, and plain-bearing systems that bear load while employing either sliding or rolling to allow translational motion. At this MC² on linear systems, you’ll find resources on to help you choose from the vast array of these linear systems … and satisfy requirements for loading, stroke, speed, accuracy, and design life.


Couplings connect together two rotating shafts in order to transmit motion, or power. For this MC² on couplings, you’ll find resources on the basics of couplings and how to select the right one for your motion system. From technical overviews to selection tips, information is included on the many different kinds of couplings including bellows couplings, flexible couplings, gear couplings, beam couplings, and servo couplings, among others. 


Encoders use optical or magnetic sensing to track the position of rotary and linear systems in motion control applications. In this installment of MC², you’ll learn the differences between various encoder technologies and how to choose the right design for your application, including examples of how and where each type is applied. You’ll also find resources explaining the difference between resolution and accuracy and how quadrature encoding can boost resolution. 


Welcome to this installment of MC² on dc motors. Recall that industry conventions categorize most of these motors as dc brush motors, dc permanent-magnet (PM) motors, or dc universal motors. As this MC² details, there are numerous caveats and sub-classifications — especially relating to motors that employ permanent magnets.

For motion control applications that require high torque at low speeds, good holding torque, and relatively straightforward operation, stepper motors are often the best choice. And the basic premise of stepper motor construction gives them inherently high resolution and accurate positioning capabilities. In this installment of MC², you’ll learn the differences between various stepper motor designs and find resources describing best practices for selecting and operating a stepper motor and how to choose the best drive scheme for your application.



Gearmotors combine a gear reducer with either an ac or dc electric motor into one physical unit. In this installment of MC² featuring gearmotors, you’ll find resources covering the basics of gearmotors and gearmotor accessories, but also how to select the right gearmotor to meet your particular application’s requirements. You’ll also find information on gears and gearboxes, including gearbox service factor and service class.

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