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Seven Factors to Consider When Selecting Linear Mechanics for a Vacuum Environment - Parker Electromechanical Drives
When people hear the word vacuum, most think about the machines used to clean your home. However, there’s an entirely different meaning in manufacturing that helps enhance how we live our daily lives. It may seem far-fetched, but various medical devices, handheld electronics, and studying the history of how our universe began all have something in common. The answer, you ask, is that all are created in a vacuum environment.
What is a vacuum environment? 
A vacuum environment has had all the air and gases removed. Usually, this is contained in a chamber and accomplished by a pump.   If you went into a chamber when vacuumed, you would have to wear a suit that provides oxygen to breathe, just like an astronaut in space (space is one giant vacuum). The reason certain applications are done in a vacuum is that it’s the cleanest environment possible. When all air, gases, and particles have been pumped out of the vacuum chamber, it becomes contaminant free. This is critical for applications that require absolute cleanliness, such as semiconductor manufacturing.
Staying contaminant free
The elimination of air and gases is a great start to be contaminant free, but a vacuum chamber won’t be empty of components when completing an application. Therefore, you should ensure nothing in the chamber will cause contamination. This begins when building the components for the instrumentation used in the chamber, including linear mechanics. Linear mechanic products can be manufactured to vacuum specifications. Although moving components may eventually particulate over time due to general wear and tear, linear mechanics can still be certified for use in a vacuum if you take into consideration where particulates will form and how much while manufacturing. Also, the likelihood of contamination will decrease if proper preventative maintenance is done as recommended.
Importance of vacuum environments
Seven Factors to Consider When Selecting Linear Mechanics for a Vacuum Environment - Parker 404LXR - Parker Electromechanical and DrivesVacuum applications are of growing importance due to technologies that can only be applied in vacuum environments. Different applications require different levels of vacuum, so it’s important to know the level needed beforehand to provide linear components manufactured correctly. You must make sure the raw materials (metals, lubricants, epoxies, etc.) are all suitable for vacuum environments.  It’s critical that there aren’t any virtual leaks - trapped volume connected to the vacuum side of a chamber.  Also, these applications require precise movements to usually the micron level, but sometimes even down to nanometers. Those mechanics must have the structure, guidance, and drive train that are acceptable to use in a vacuum as well. With all these factors to consider, how can you be sure that you have the proper components for your chamber to execute your application successfully? The answer is to work with Parker for your vacuum application needs.
Consideration factors
Factors for customers to consider for a vacuum application:
  • Pressure level needed
  • Bake out and ambient temperatures for application  
  • Gases being used in the vacuum chamber
  • Acceptable lubricants/grease (if any) needed on mechanics 
  • Anodized aluminum allowed?
  • Composition of components, such as ball bearings and gears 
  • You should always provide full application details to design engineers to obtain the best solution
Parker offers a wide array of precision linear positioners suitable for applications in a vacuum environment. This includes linear motor stages, something not all competitors can do provide. Guidelines are followed for all our linear mechanics to be used in a vacuum to ensure they meet the required customer specifications.   In addition to its standard product offering, Parker will work directly with you to provide custom engineered solutions as needed. We like to form a partnership throughout the process to ensure you receive the best customer service. You provide the vacuum environment and application, and Parker will provide a solution. The following is a list, but not a complete one as Parker is always taking on new challenges, of vacuum applications that Parker can assist with providing precision linear mechanics:
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Electronics manufacturing 
  • Medical device manufacturing 
  • Sealing and coating applications 
  • Optics (lenses) technology
  • Fiber and laser optic technology
  • Solar energy technology 
  • LED manufacturing 
  • Research and Development
  • And more!
To learn more about linear positioners for vacuum environments, visit our website or contact us to discuss your application needs. 
Seven Factors to Consider When Selecting Linear Mechanics for a Vacuum Environment - Electromechanical and Drives - Patrick LehrArticle contributed by Patrick Lehr, product manager for precision mechanics, Electromechanical and Drives Division North America, Parker Hannifin Corporation. 





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A Quick Guide: How Servo Motors Work - Parker Servo Motor - Parker Electromechanical DivisionThe basic theory of operation for brushless servo motors revolves around the principles of magnetism where like poles repel and opposite poles attract. There are two magnetic sources found within a servo motor: Permanent magnets that are typically located on the rotor of the motor, and the stationary electromagnet that surrounds the rotor. The electromagnet is called either the stator or motor winding and is made up of steel plates called laminations, that are bonded together. The steel plates typically have “teeth” that allow copper wire to be wound around them.

Going back to the principles of magnetism, when a conductor like copper wire is formed into a coil, and the conductor is energized so that current flows through it, a magnetic field is created. 

A Quick Guide: How Servo Motors Work - Image of Electrical Current - Figure 1This magnetic field created by current passing through the conductor will have a north pole and a south pole. With magnetic poles located on the stator (when energized) and on the permanent magnets of the rotor, how do you create a state of opposite poles attracting and like poles repelling?

The key is to reverse the current going through the electromagnet. When current flows through a conducting coil in one direction, north and south poles are created.

When the direction of the current is changed. the poles are flipped so what was a north pole is now a south pole and vice versa. Figure 1 provides a basic illustration of how this works. In figure 2, the image on the left shows a condition where the poles of the rotor magnets are being attracted to the opposite poles of the stator. The rotor poles, which are attached to the motor shaft, will rotate until they are aligned with the opposite poles of the stator. If all stayed the same the rotor would then remain stationary.

The image on the right in figure 2 shows how the stator poles have flipped. This would happen every time the rotor pole caught up with the opposite stator pole by reversing the current flow through that particular stator location. The continual flipping of stator poles creates a condition where the permanent magnet poles of the rotor are always “chasing” their stator opposites which results in the continuous rotation of the rotor/motor shaft.

A Quick Guide: How Servo Motors Work - Figure 2 with Rotor and Stator - Parker Electromechanical DivisionThe flipping of the stator poles is known as commutation. The formal definition of commutation is “The action of steering currents to the proper motor phases so as to produce optimum motor torque and motor shaft rotation”. How are the currents steered at the correct time to maintain shaft rotation?

The steering is done by the inverter or drive that is powering the motor. When a drive is being used with a particular motor an offset angle is identified in the drive software along with other things like motor inductance, resistance, and other parameters. The feedback device that is used on the motor (encoder, resolver, etc..) provides the position of the rotor shaft/magnetic pole to the drive.

When the magnetic pole position of the rotor matches the offset angle, the drive will reverse the current going through the stator coil thereby changing the stator pole from north to south and from south to north as shown in Figure 2. From this you can see that letting the poles align will stop the motor shaft rotation, or changing the sequence will get the shaft spinning in one direction vs. the other, and changing them quickly allows for high speed rotation, or just the opposite for slow shaft rotation. Learn more about servo motors here. 


A Quick Guide: How Servo Motors Work - Jeff Nazzaro, Product Manager, Parker Electromechanical Division Article contributed by Jeff Nazzaro, gearhead and motor product manager, Electromechanical & Drives Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation.





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Cleanroom Actuators

A cleanroom is an environment maintained to ensure minimal levels of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors. It is critical for many applications, including life science testing, semiconductor, inspection, and electronics manufacturing, where contamination must be avoided. To ensure this happens, all equipment in the cleanroom must be contaminant free as well. When manufacturing components for use in a cleanroom, including linear mechanics, strict procedures must be followed to achieve cleanroom specifications.

Although these moving components will particulate, linear mechanics can still be manufactured and assembled for cleanroom certification, if you consider the quantity and location of particulate formation. In addition, several other variables in an application must be thought about to properly meet these performance requirements, including: 

  Absence or presence of laminar airflow over the stage 
Maintaining safety and environmental standards in a cleanroom is critical for application success. To achieve this, it is important to have a fume hood present. The laminar airflow is ideal for applications that require precision linear mechanics and a clean working environment, such as parts inspection, or optic assemblies. 
  • Motion profile (acceleration, speed, etc.) 
For any application requiring linear mechanics, it’s necessary to have the correct motion profile for the linear positioner. This is especially the case for cleanroom applications to ensure the clean environment isn’t compromised. If the motion profile is incorrect, the positioner’s motor may overheat, or damage to the internal components can occur. Both issues would affect a cleanroom environment negatively as new particle pollutants would be introduced to the air.
  • Stage orientation 
What direction is your linear stage’s motion (horizontal, vertical, upside down)? In a cleanroom, mounting orientation impacts the release of particles into the atmosphere. The best mounting solution, if it can be achieved, is to keep the moving components below the work area.In addition, a right-side-up mounting orientation does a better job of trapping particles inside the system than a vertical or upside-down orientation.
  • Point of interest relative to the stage 
When designing your cleanroom environment, you must consider the location of the linear positioner and sample attached at its max travel. The entire system should remain under the fume hood to ensure the cleanroom status is maintained. Even if only a small fraction of the positioner is exposed to the outside environment, contamination can still spread to the entire cleanroom. This will surely effect performance of the linear actuator.
Parker MSR Series

As you can see, there isn’t one standard way to set-up a cleanroom environment properly while using linear mechanics. Each variable should be reviewed for every application to ensure the positioner is appropriate for cleanroom use. At Parker, we offer a wide array of precision linear positioners suitable for applications in a cleanroom environment. 

All our linear mechanics to be used in a cleanroom goes through a standard testing procedure to make sure they are within boundary conditions per Federal Standard 209E and ISO Standard 14644. One of these products is the miniature square rail, mSR series. It is ideal for cleanroom use due to the limited number of contact surfaces in its design.

There are various cleanroom applications the mSR can be used for including:

  • Life science applications like microscopy, or digital pathology due to a low profile and high precision
  • Semiconductor metrology applications due to its straightness, flatness, and high precision.
  • Can be used as a positioner for electronics manufacturing due to the combination of small size, yet high acceleration and speed capacity

Learn more

Discover more about Parker’s mSR series and other linear positioners for cleanroom environments, visit our website or contact us to discuss your application needs. 


Patrick Lehr - Parker Hannifin Article contributed by Patrick Lehr, product manager for precision mechanics, Electromechanical and Drives Division North America, Parker Hannifin Corporation. 





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Automated Bottle Sorting Simplifying Returnable Assets-Mixed Bottles-VisionTec-Parker-R Bindner-Electromechanical Division EuropeMost people of a certain age have childhood memories of returning beverage bottles to their neighborhood store and getting back their deposit coins, which were usually just enough to invest in an extra piece of candy from the same retailer.

It’s a simple business model when viewed at the front end; but if you restrict your viewpoint of anything to only what happens in front of you, you’ll miss the sophisticated backend operations, which enable that simplicity.

Appreciating the intricacy of what makes any reverse supply chain work requires a logistics tour.

Bottle return process – a mixed crate

What separates the recirculation of beverage bottles from any other returnable asset is the sheer variety of shapes and sizes to be managed and the ability to do so with minimal loss and damage as the pace of business accelerates.

Let’s go back through the bottle return supply chain at the point we came in—the store.

When that retailer receives the bottles brought in by customers, it usually mixes bottle types in crates. Whatever business receives these crates from the retailer—whether a bottling company or a third party bottle management service provider—the receiver must be able to detect differences and sort accordingly.


Before automation, it would take 40-50 people to sort bottles by hand in some breweries. 

Olaf Zeiss, Linear Actuator Product Manager, Electromechanical Division - Europe


Automated Bottle Sorting Simplifying Returnable Assets-VisionTec Bottle Sorting System-View of facility through observation area Parker-R Bindner-Electromechanical Division EuropeIncreasingly, beverage producers are leaving the task of detecting, sorting and returning those bottles to companies that invest in automated systems and training.


When a subcontractor is sorting bottles, they want to go as fast as possible because they get paid for every bottle.                                                                 Zeiss

    Automated bottle detection and sortation

In Fuldabrück, Germany, Vision-Tec has made a business out of providing the necessary technology to bottling service providers to help them generate a profit from the returns process.

Vision-Tec offers automated modular material handling systems for crate and bottle detection, combining flexible multi-camera capabilities with sortation. This technology uses vertical and oblique image capture as well as ultraviolet light to detect various shapes of bottles and labels. Even a bottle’s luminescence can be detected--and with ultrasound, bottle height can be checked—with or without a cap.

This is sophisticated technology, calling for machine intelligence to remove counterfeit bottles and then refill or complete boxes with like bottles.

Sophisticated products for sophisticated technology

Automated Bottle Sorting Simplifying Returnable Assets-Automated Rails VisionTec-Parker R Bindner-Electromechanical DivisionWe were pleased when Vision-Tec chose to work with Parker Hannifin to supply multiple components for their automated bottle handling and sortation systems.

For instance, our linear actuators provide the higher velocity and acceleration required to meet the performance requirements of beverage producers and bottlers. Further, our actuators withstand the fluctuating temperatures of European summers and winters and the corrosive environments of bottling plants.


In summertime these breweries and bottlers work 24 hours a day. These are wet environments, where the equipment is cleaned regularly and the plant doors are normally open because bottles are always coming in and going out. The actuators must withstand these temperature swings.



That ruggedness extends to the motors and gears used in Parker’s drive combinations, which offer IP65 compliance (resistance to water and dust).

Vision-Tec’s sorting robots must be equally robust—not to mention scalable and expandable. Sort stations are equipped with two grab arms each, taking the wrong bottles out of the crates as they are fed into the line, and then filling in the right ones in continuous motion operation. By setting up intermediate storage/buffers, travel paths for the grab arms can be substantially reduced. Depending on the stage of extension, up to 1,200 boxes per hour can be sorted.

Automated Bottle Sorting Simplifying Returnable Assets-ServoController-VisionTec-Parker R Bindner-Electromechanical DivisionIn addition to their complex optical systems and control technology, Vision-Tec uses Parker Hannifin HPLA linear axes for controlling the mechanical longitudinal movements (in the running direction) of the sorting modules. In conjunction with intelligent Parker compax3 servo controllers, with their EtherCAT communication interface, these features are designed not only to meet the requirements of beverage bottlers, but of textile engineering firms, process engineering companies, logistics service providers, warehouses and machine tool manufacturers, as well.


Parker’s complete drive packages contribute significantly to the high performance and reliability of our systems. Also significant [are] their support for the sizing process and configuration process of the drive systems, and the solution’s rapid availability. 

Knut Oppermann, Technical Manager, Vision-Tec


Vision-Tec is planning five to ten more bottling lines by the end of the year for other beverage companies, and Parker will help it customize system requirements to those different needs.

While bottle return processing will never be as simple as the front end transaction, with these automated systems, it may seem so. Just take a look at the video.


How to over come challenges linked to the new EU Rail Standard EN45545 - Case Study

Read more customer success stories here 










Attending PackExpo 2017?

Meet our engineers at PackExpo in Chicago September 25 - 27 and test out our latest solutions in the IIoT, and packaging and processing manufacturing. Visit us at booth S-7965 to ask questions of the team related to this content or any of our products. Not attending the show? Learn more about our processing and packaging solutions here. 



Rochus Bindner-Marketing Communications Manager-Electromechanical Division EuropeContributed by Rochus Bindner, marketing communications manager, Electromechanical Division Europe.





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VFD Eliminates Bottleneck in Canning Plant - canning plant line with VFDHow do you eliminate a bottleneck in a food and beverage canning plant?  Apply good engineering design and use a variable frequency drive solution. Beverage bottling or canning has always been a complex process, requiring strict control over a number of operating parameters. Accuracy of line speed, liquid flow rate and pressure, temperature, and timing is crucial to maximizing output and reducing or eliminating rejected product.

Jam ups result in lost production

Parker was contracted by a beverage packaging facility with a problem. The plant was losing production due to jam ups and inconsistent temperature control of a can warmer line, resulting in rejected product. Not only was the rejected product wasted, but it then had to be destroyed and disposed of at considerable expense. Factoring in lost production time, a jam could cost up to $6000 per incident.

Faced with a 9 month waiting period for major capital approval to replace the line, the maintenance department was instead tasked with upgrading the existing control system. The existing system was over 20 years old, and used fixed speed "across the line" starters for pump control.

The customer was open to replacing these with variable frequency drives (VFDs) for their better controllability and accompanying energy savings, but physical mounting space would not permit the estimated 80" wide cabinet required for eight conventional drives and the peripheral devices that each separate drive required. Typically each drive requires additional components like line fuses, circuit breaker or disconnect, and an input line reactor. With a limited budget, material and installation cost had to be kept to a minimum.

Engineered benefits of a VFD solution

VFD Eliminates Bottleneck in Canning Plant - AC890 systems VFD - Parker Hannifin Parker SSD Drives proposed a variable speed drive system solution to take control of 8 axes of motion on the canning line. It came with a number of benefits:

  • The compact AC890 series, by virtue of its "bookshelf" design, required much less mounting space than conventional drives.
  • The common bus design eliminated the need for eight individual line reactors and circuit breakers, requiring only one for the common supply that would feed the lineup of DC input drive modules.
  • The common bus architecture delivered energy efficiency. When in operation, if one or more of the eight motors is subject to an overhauling load, the resulting regenerated energy will be shared across the DC bus with other drives in the system.
  • Space savings was realized by the fact that the AC890 has abundant I/O and processor capability on board, eliminating the need for additional PLC equipment. The drive itself would take on the analog and high speed counter functions.

VFD Eliminates Bottleneck at Canning Plant - Variable Frequency Drive Parker AC890 Rack - Parker Hannifin SSD Division To communicate with the outside world, one of a number of available protocols can be selected and installed in the AC890 drive in the form of an option card. In this case, an Ethernet/IP communication card provided compatibility with existing network. The complete system was comfortably fit on a 36" x 60" panel, which was installed in an existing stainless steel enclosure, eliminating the expense of a new one.

Efficient cooling

To efficiently cool the drives, an air-to-liquid heat exchanger was used. Makeup water from the  can warming loop was used to supply the heat exchanger, using far less energy than an air conditioner, and having the side benefit of pre-heating the makeup water. This results in less energy used to heat the cans, by capturing waste heat from drives. In addition, advanced features in the AC890 allows the hot water pumps and conveyors to be coordinated for better can temperature control. Line jam-ups, caused by cans getting excessively hot and deforming, were eliminated once the more efficient and better coordinated control system was installed.

Production problem eliminated

In summary, this system retrofit was successful in eliminating a serious production problem that led to rejected product, and in doing so, also yields significant energy savings. Due to the compact size and common bus architecture of the AC890, an economical installation was achieved, using no additional plant floor space, and easily tying in to the existing communications network. Learn more about the AC890 Modular system AC Drive product at our SSD North America Division website.


VFD Eliminates Bottleneck in Canning Plant - Whitepaper downloadDownload our whitepaper to learn more about how drives work on lines that manufacture the materials used to make packaging. 




  Attending PackExpo 2017?

Meet our engineers at PackExpo in Chicago September 25 - 27 and test out our latest solutions in the IIoT, and packaging and processing manufacturing. Visit us at booth S-7965 to ask questions of the team related to this content or any of our products. Not attending the show? Learn more about our processing and packaging solutions here.


VFD eliminates bottleneck in canning plantLou Lambruschi Marketing Services and E-Business Manager Parker Hannifin Corporation SSDN - Energy Grid Tie DivisionLou Lambruschi - Marketing Services and E-Business Manager,  Parker Hannifin Corporation
SSDN / Energy Grid Tie Division

To learn more about Parker's total food and beverage solutions head to our market page.




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How to Remotely Control Your Plant With a Mobile App - Remote Manager App Screenshot Parker Hannifin Electromechanical North AmericaNow OEMs and users can remotely monitor and control factory automation displays from anywhere in the world with a phone or tablet and an internet connection. Parker has released the Remote Manager mobile app that controls one or more Parker Factory Displays (PFD) or Interact Xpress™ HMI (and as a result of their machines). It’s a powerful “Information Anywhere” capability that allows users to perform a wide variety of tasks remotely and in real time:

  • log in to any network-connected machine using its IP address, username, and password to monitor and control the machine
  • monitor plant metrics
  • configure alarm notifications via text message or email
  • run diagnostics on machines not functioning properly
  • customize functionality with seven different security levels to suit plant and IT environments
  • update machine software

Enabling this functionality is a simple matter of connecting Remote Manager to a PFD, which functions as a data aggregator pulling data from a variety of sources including Parker and third-party controllers and databases. The information is published to databases (e.g. MySQL) and then pushed out to the Remote Manager app through code (e.g. PHP) in a web browser.

“We’ve come to rely on Remote Manager. In our food processing and canning plant, there’s always water everywhere, so electronics are always at risk. The app gives us the ability to run and monitor our entire department wirelessly on iPad and Google Nexus tablets, away from water. And it’s so easy to use! The controls are fantastic and easy to learn. Set-up only required an IP address, and we were up and running. I can’t say enough good things about this app, and we’re hoping to tie in Parker Factory Displays soon to make the system even better.” via  Christian Nondorf, Electrician / PLC Programmer, Del Monte Foods, using Remote Manager

The Remote Manager app is available for:

Factory display visualization systems

The Parker Factory Display (PFD) visualization system. PFD offers unprecedented flexibility and impact for delivering critical messages to associates on the factory floor. Whether presenting Andon display-type information, lean metrics, production status, OEE data, safety policies or employee announcements, PFD is much more than a "scoreboard" that simply displays text -- it provides workers with real-time, situational awareness for faster response to downs and non-conforming conditions.

The PFD comes packed with a new controller-only option, factory display options up to 55" for primary and secondary units and updated PFD software, which is 32/ 64-bit compatible. The new controller also includes two Ethernet ports, which allows the separation of the Office network from the plant network. With the addition of the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) driver to the controller image, you can now connect to virtually any database!

With its high-definition resolution, flat-panel displays and built-in networking, PFD offers unparalleled visual impact for empowering associates. Its intuitive graphics enhance the message, while its distributed architecture easily integrates into existing manufacturing and IS infrastructure. Whether remotely publishing displays from anywhere via the Web or visualizing non-conforming parts on a production line, the Parker Factory Display does so much more than other production board displays and Andon display-type systems and at a lower cost.

Learn more about Parker Factory Display (video):


 Download our whitepaper to learn more how web-enabled devices can push valuable production information anywhere your plant needs it.






Attending PackExpo 2017?

Meet our engineers at PackExpo in Chicago September 25 - 27 and test out our latest solutions in the IIoT, and packaging and processing manufacturing. Visit us at booth S-7965 to ask questions of the team related to this content or any of our products. Not attending the show? Learn more about our processing and packaging solutions here.


How to remotely control your plant with mobile app - Jerry Sorrells Product Mgr II Automation - Electromech NaArticle contributed by Jerry Sorrells, Product Manager - Electromechanical Division, Controls and HMIs, Parker Hannifin, Automation Group






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