Accuracy and precision are two scientific concepts that people often get mixed up. Both can be thought of as “ways that men and women of science think about error.” Indeed, as summarized by this short guide by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, accuracy refers to how close a measurement is to its true or accepted value—just like how close a dart is to the bulls-eye, while precision refers to the consistency or reliability of that measure—just like how often a skilled dart-thrower will meet the bulls-eye mark.
The same two concepts also mean different things when considered in relation to the world of motion solutions engineering—particularly in its application in miniature motor construction. When thought of in terms of motion application, accuracy is the ability of the motor to achieve an exact rotational position, while precision is the motor’s ability to consistently repeat that desired motion. The achievement of both accuracy and precision are essential to the construction of miniature motors, which now see wide usage in medicine, manufacturing, the life sciences, the earth sciences, and other key disciplines.
Machines into which mini motors and integrated are geared to be compact, portable, energy-efficient, and capable of high-speed and high-torque applications, all at the same time. The aforementioned qualities are made possible because of their internal construction and the addition of external components like encoders (for optimum control of the motor’s position) and gearboxes (for even finer mechanical accuracy). In other words, devices with miniature motor technology strives to deliver “power in a small package.”
Some Key Applications of Miniature Motors
Indeed, miniature motor solutions are behind some of the biggest advancements in the fields of factory automation, clinical diagnostics, land surveying, and refrigeration, to name a few. These are just some of the machine types in which highly precise, highly accurate, and highly powerful miniature motors can be found.
Miniature motors can be deemed a “life-giving” mechanism for medical infusion pumps, such as the portable kind that can convey insulin. This kind of pump relies on its long battery cycles and high-count encoder apparatus to accurately deliver micro-units of insulin, with decreased margins for human error.
Mini motor technology has also advanced the process of clinical diagnostics, and mini motors are now found as critical components of devices like diagnostic and medical analyzers. A vital automation solution, mini motors help increase the analyzer system’s throughput, or the number of diagnostic assays it can handle at any given time.
Automated pipetting systems
Laboratories that handle large-scale work, like those of pharmaceutical companies, now also favor automation for vital processes like pipetting. The miniature motors in an automated pipetting system allow for speedy and accurate dispensation of fluids from one container to another. The automated pipetting system allows for increased throughput that’s ideal for mass-manufacturing, which is very helpful especially when manufacturing in-demand life-saving drugs.
In order to accurately measure long distances, land surveyors use an instrument called a total station theodolite, or ‘total station’ for short. The total station employs an electro-optical distance metering method of discharging a laser beam to a target point. Mini motors act as a precision control mechanism for the beam strength of this light. This technology has contributed greatly to the work that land surveyors do, be it for transportation, construction, or cadaster recording.
Valve actuators for refrigeration systems
Mini motor technologies have also worked in the service of supermarkets, restaurants, and big retailers of highly perishable goods. Demonstrating this value are mini motor in electric refrigeration valves, which allow for the precise flow of the refrigeration system’s refrigerants. The technology keeps food and drinks fresh for longer, allowing for their better distribution to consumers around the world.
In sum, these highly precise and accurate mini motors are found in many systems that are used in a variety of applications today. What others can you include in our list?