Miniaturization is a global trend aiming at maximizing user gains, while minimizing space, resource, and energy takeup. Companies strive for more power at lower cost and in a compact size. Small servo motors seem like an an answer to the manufacturers’ prayer. Though unimpressive in terms of dimensions, the devices deliver consistently high torque and boast stable performance over a wide range of velocities.
Whether of reduced or conventional size, servomechanisms are similar in the exterior looks, constituent elements, as well as the functioning principle.
Just as bigger modifications, small servos have:
Major sub-modules include:
Individual manufacturers come up with the pico variety featuring the tiniest dimensions and about 4 g of weight. In some catalogs, it is also possible to come across ultra-nano or giant designs.
Optimize and minimize—a slogan as catching as a virus around the today’s world. Therefore, small servos are in great demand in applications where miniature size, accuracy, and powerful performance are critical. In particular, the devices are widely adopted in robotics, physical computing, as well as animatronics and model building.
Physical computing refers to combining hardware and software to build interactive systems with an ability to sense and react to the physical world. Examples include augmented reality, smart traffic management, process automation solutions.
Animatronics implies using mechanical or motor-driven arrangements to emulate behavior of a human or an animal. Miniature servomechanisms move the limbs of a dummy monster in a movie or enliven fancy characters in an amusement park.
Robotics is an engineering branch specializing in designing, building, and operating robots and associated control devices. Compact in size, servo motors fit perfectly into robot joints, while producing enough torque to lift and move them repeatedly to a precise angle at a specified moment of time. The robotic actuators are quiet, efficient and support communication with external systems via embedded protocols (EtherCAT, CANOpen, etc.).
Model building, pursued as a hobby, involves constructing models of aircraft, boats, cars, etc, from special kits or individual components. The most common choice is a radio-controlled (RC) servomechanism that a modeller is able to purchase for just a few dollars. RC devices are simple to control, but limited in their motion range to 180 degrees and have certain precision issues.
Apart from the above applications, small servo motors are employed in cameras for autofocusing, as well as in automatic door openers. Advancements in mechatronics stimulate development of the medicine-oriented servo technology, including to be used inside a human body.
Rather than calling RDrive actuators miniature servos, one should designate the mechanisms as compact industry-grade solutions with a bunch of benefits:
Though it is unlikely that an RDrive servo can fit into a camera, the drives are an asset to heavy-duty applications demanding exceptional positioning accuracy. In particular, robots and industrial automation solutions. Animatronics specialists and modellers can also leverage the technology to be in full control of how a vehicle or a mockup moves, while adding maneuverability.
Notwithstanding the reduced size, the servos in the series have not lost an inch of precision, capable of unfailingly repeating the same moves over and over again.
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