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I've noticed that the industrial robot arms have very smooth, fast, and strong movement. Does anyone know what type of servos they use. I'm trying to build my own and don't want to have the jerky movement that is seen in a lot of DIY robot arms? Thanks.

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Universal states that they use brush-less DC motors with harmonic drives on their FAQ here http://cross-automation.com/blog/universal-robots-top-10-faqs

Bigger ones like the KUKA KR5 uses AC servo motors. From the conversation here https://support.industry.siemens.com/tf/ww/en/posts/kuka-servo-motor/87265/?page=0&pageSize=10#post344333 it looks it is a custom version of the Siemens IFK7 synchronous motor series. Many of these high end motors can have holding brakes, better quality bearings and drive mechanisms and very good control systems that prevent them from jerking like a DIY arm. In a DIY robot, joints are typically connected straight to the motor with no drive mechanism and the basic control system does not provide a lot of options for smooth motion.

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  • $\begingroup$ You write "Universal states (...)" and then link to a company not affiliated with UR. The link has now been taken down, but using Wayback Machine, it seems that even when you posted your answer it simply said "Brushless Servo Motor", it did not say anything about DC. $\endgroup$ – Mads Skjern Aug 12 at 7:18
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First of all industrial robots drive trains with basically no play/backlash, plus the whole construction is very rigid. AFAIK they all use harmonic drive gearing, which is extremely expensive. Most DIY'ers are not willing to spend that kind of money, and that is one reason why they have jerky movements.

With regards to Universal Robots. They use motors from Kollmorgen, with integrated harmonic drive gearing.

In the Universal Robots FAQ (link) I found the following.

  • Motors: Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Drive motors are used in both CB3 and e-Series robots.
  • Motor drivers: Integrated Motor Drives, Space Vector (Field Oriented) Control @25Khzhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_control_(motor)
  • Servo controller: Integrated Servo Controllers in each joint, based on a dual encoder system
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