Understanding Direct-Drive Technology in Machine Tools

Direct-drive systems have been applied to machine tools for decades, yet many builders and buyers of machine tools may not fully appreciate the advantages of these systems.


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This succinct article discusses how an electric motor in a direct-drive system transmits force without a gearbox, toothed belt or other means to adjust speed mechanically. Having no intermediate drive train enables the motor to be an efficient, powerful, compact and precisely controllable means to run a spindle or axis drive.

The basics of electric-motor operation explain why a direct-drive system can outperform other means of driving and controlling power-transmission applications in machine tool design. However, it is necessary to work within the limitations of electric-motor technology and have a precise, reliable feedback device for control.