Stepper motors are used to convert electrical power to mechanical power, hence they are electromechanical devices. They contain numerous coils ordered in groups known as 'phases. The motor rotates step-by-step by energizing each phase sequentially. One can achieve speed control and precise positioning by computer-controlled stepping. These motors are available in various styles and sizes with varying electrical properties.
Characteristics of a stepper motor-
Speed control- One can acquire excellent control on the rotational speed by precise increments in the movements. This has a lot of scope in robotics and automation processes.
Positioning- These motors are extensively used in applications like CNC, 3D printers, X-Y plotters, Camera platforms, and much more due to their precise repeatable steps. Disk drives also make use of motors to position their read/write heads.
Low-speed torque- the regular DC motors do not possess much torque at low speeds, but a stepper motor has an exceptionally maximum torque even at low speeds. Hence, they are a perfect choice for applications that require low speed along with high precision.
Various operations of a stepper motor:
The general stepper motors have a different operation as compared to DC brush motors which are capable of rotating when a voltage is applied at their terminals. Whereas, these motors effectively contain multiple electromagnets in a tooth-like arrangement around a gear-shaped central piece of iron. These electromagnets are excited by the use of an external control circuit like a microcontroller.