DC Motors And Robotics

Selecting and choosing a drive motor for your robotic device will require research, detailed power requirements analysis, and creating a corresponding robot profile.

Most robotic applications require the robotic device to be mobile, along with its operational ability; therefore, they will need to be powered by a battery source, hence needing a DC motor solution. And when we talk about a DC motor, we are referring to a DC permanent brush type motor.

Adjustable voltage and current levels will provide the necessary control via an amplifier, and you have a DC solution system that will provide the motor power for your robotic device.

In simplistic terms, a DC motor will convert electrical energy as provided by the direct current into mechanical energy. Robotic applications expect a high starting torque power capability. The DC motor has a high torque to speed ratio, enabling it to provide sufficient high torque speeds with ease and minimal effort - it is this fundamental reason why DC motors are preferable to AC motors for the robotic power source.

As the name implies, AC motors apply alternating current to the electric motor, which is insufficient for the basic mobility and sudden torque actions required by robotic devices. AC motors are used in robotics - there are AC synchronous brushless motors (servo) that enable precise movement control for robotic movements.

Two Key Features Of DC Motors - Torque And Speed Variation

Two crucial elements make a DC motor ideal for robotic applications - torque and speed variation.


The high torque action that a DC motor can provide robotic applications is the single most important advantage they hold. When needed, both the initial starting torque to shift heavy loads and acceleration power make the DC motor an essential component for successful robotics applications.

Speed Variation

The speed variation, or the DC Motor's ability to drive a wide range above and below the rated speeds required, ensure this is a desirable feature for robotics. DC motors are similarly helpful when rapid reversing and stopping actions are wanted.

Servo And Stepper Motors

While both the servo and stepper motors are widely used in industry, they are both effective robotic power solutions that are highly reliable and robust in design. The key characteristics where they differ are in speed, acceleration, and overall purchase price.

Stepper Motor

A Stepper motor is an instance of a DC motor that moves solely in increments or via discrete 'steps.' They are manufactured with multiple internal coils that are arranged in groupings called 'phases,' and when these phases are energized in a set sequence, the DC/ Stepper motor will rotate - one step at a time.

Stepper motors are primarily used for extremely precise robotic motion control, as their precision in achieving a measured and controlled energetic step is ideal for such applications.

Numerous styles and sizes of stepper motors are available on the robotic market, and their controlled movement is excellent for process automation robotics such as detailed 3D printing machines and X-Y plotting devices where precision output map/ chart detail is a necessity.

The rate of robotic surgeries increases annually by 25 percent, and robotic surgery is medically proven to reduce the risk associated with open surgical procedures and extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to more patients.

Stepper, brush, and brushless DC motors and mechanical actuators are all key components found in robotic surgical automated equipment.

Servo Motor

A Servo motor is also an instance of a DC motor, but with notable differences. They operate at a meaningful higher speed than stepper motors, reaching speeds of several thousand RPMs.

What this provides is a powerful DC motor that can be used to control gearboxes to deliver high torque at average speeds. Another key feature is that a servo motor will only operate at a speed that is required in order to fulfill its obligation - rotating from its present position to the desired position only as quickly as it is required to get there. Energy is conserved, and operational wear and tear are minimized with a servo motor.

Due to the speed factor, servo motors are more sophisticated than stepper motors and are found in numerous profitable robotic applications that need a powerful and accurate repeatable activity or motion. Robotic welding or assemblage lines is where servo motors are used - within every robotic joint is a servo motor that delivers actuating movement and synchronized dexterity for precise operational with regular motion.

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