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Monday - January 10, 2022

Understanding The Versatility of FDB-Based Spindle Motors   

Today, spindle motors equipped with Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) technology are used in a lot of different industries and applications. The advantages are numerous and largely revolve around the high accuracy and precision achieved with this technology. 

One example is the use of laser tracking, LiDAR (light detecting and ranging), and laser scanning in virtual reality applications. Motors with this technology can combine the benefits of brushless direct current (BLDC) motors with the high-tech, state-of-the-art FDB bearing technology. High performance motors like this, and those with advanced, integrated features are developed at the MinebeaMitsumi Technology Center GmbH, Villingen-Schwenningen. 

Why combine these technologies? Motors that use ball bearings have limited precision, repeatability, and louder operating noise. By swapping in FDB bearings, these problems are immediately eliminated. The result is improved reliability and a longer service life. 

How it Works 

When a laser scanner is used to measure something, a beam of light goes through a series of mirrors while they rotate up to hundreds of thousands of times a second. 

A scanner receives the light then calculates a measurement.  

Modern Uses for Laser Scanners 

They can be used to measure buildings, landscapes, any form of installation, or facilities. On the more complicated side, laser scanners can also be used to take 3D measurements of large and complex structures. 3D scanners might be used to: 

  • Measure faces 
  • Map images 
  • Create building documentation 
  • Track users in virtual worlds such as virtual reality gamers 
  • Take measurements without deforming a product (for use in endangered areas) 

From these scanners, the user will get areas, volumes, sections, and 3-dimensional spatial measurements which can be used to generate floorplans. A lot of modern companies use these scanners as a best practice. 

Laser scanners can be used in taking measurements for plant construction or planning the layout of a factory. They are able to take complete measurements at a high efficiency and produce technical plans. Production halls, technical building equipment, production lines, structural pieces, airplanes, ships, and manufacturing equipment can be quickly measured and laid out using this technology. 

It can even help optimize a production facility to maximize their process. 

The more efficient the scanning process is, the better the final resolution will be. This means more accurate virtual models of the physical object that was measured. This is where the FDB motor starts to show its practicality. 

Errors Within Ball Bearing Motors  

Motors that use ball bearings are prone to wobbling and noise within the final virtual model. It could be caused by balls that aren’t perfectly spherical, an axial misalignment, a misshapen ball bearing axle, irregular distribution of lubrication, or any imperfections in the axle journal. These all play into what’s called “wobble error”. One way to minimize this effect is through bracing the bearings with preload. This makes the rotational axis more stable but also increases the power consumption through friction. 

Although ball bearing motors have their faults, they’re still a good choice. FDB-based motors are just the higher-tech alternative. 

Benefits of FDB Spindle Motors 

When these motors are balanced, wobble errors are minimized, even at different operational speeds. The Technology Center has gone through decades of testing and found that FDB motors are a preferred option for applications that use laser scanner technology. 

For precision measurements, the right hard drive is required. Touting high speeds, very low vibrations, low operational noise, low wobble error, long service life, low power consumption, and the allowance of customer-specific adaptation, FDB motors are the best option for many applications. 

Jens Tanneberg
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