How easy is it to select a stepper motor online? I decided to find out by visiting the web sites of some stepper motor manufacturers and seeing how easy or difficult it was.
First up was Automation Direct. Offering everything from cables and fuses to terminal blocks and pneumatic components, the home page is quite jam-packed. So how is it at steering me to stepper motors? Not too bad. In the four-columns listing product categories, I found “Stepper Motors/Drives” and clicked. This took me to a page of matching products, with thumbnail photos of motors and drives and a short description of each. If you already have a ballpark idea of what you need, this isn’t a bad way to go. Clicking on an image takes you to a screen where you see an overall score and can read product reviews submitted by others who bought that particular motor. If you want information on selecting a motor, there are a host of resources on the web site to help you in the selection process.
Next up was Micromo. From the home page, you can click on the Products tab and select Stepper Motors. On the Stepper Motors page there is information about the company’s stepper motor lines as well as an interesting animation along with a phase diagram showing the basics of stepper motor operation. Clicking on Data Sheets for the stepper motors takes you to another page where you can select a PDF version of the data sheets or a 3D CAD file. There’s also a fairly extensive FAQ page. And under the Technical Library tab on the home page, there’s a stepper motor tutorials tab from which you can select a stepper motor ordering guide that explains the main factors you need to know when selecting a stepper motor.
At the Applied Motion Products website, from the home page under Products, you can select Stepper Motors which takes you to a stepper motors page. From here, you can browse their offerings or select a specific NEMA frame size, length, or holding torque. There’s also an extended stepper motor tutorial as well as design tips and a glossary.
On Oriental Motor’s website, you can select the Motor Sizing tab on the home page, which takes you to a page showing basic applications such as an indexing table, a belt conveyor, a rotary device, and others. To get full access to the tools, however, you’re asked to register and provide some basic information. If you don’t want to do that, you can also select the Stepper Motors tab from the home page which takes you to a page showing a very detailed tutorial of how stepper motors work and how they fit into particular applications. Then, if you roughly know the design parameters for your application, you can either go with the sizing software or search the catalog for a listing of motor offerings.
Lastly there’s Lin Engineering. From their home page, you have several options to choose from, all of which take you to the same place. I hovered over the “Designer’s Corner” tab and selected “Easy Step Motor Selection.” This takes you to a screen where you are asked to register including selecting a username and password, before being able to access the main motor selection page. If you don’t have the time and just want to do a quick check on available stepper motors, another option is to go to the Products tab on the home page and select Step Motors, which takes you to a page displaying motor options grouped according to NEMA frame size as well as step size in degrees.
This is only a brief survey, it’s true. But tell us, what do you look for when selecting a stepper motor? What’s most important to you? Is it simply price, or the level of customer service or something else? Let us know.
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