Micro stepper motors: features and advantages

gear motors

Micro stepper motors are highly recommended for positioning precision: let’s find out all the details of the motors in this in-depth guide.

The automation industry is experiencing a rapid growth, and the micro stepper motor is being used more and more frequently in a wide variety of industries. This type of motor rotates in a controlled manner by moving in “steps,” without the need of a feedback system.

Micro stepper motor: a comprehensive definition

A micro stepper motor is a two-phase brushless synchronous motor that differs from conventional DC motors in that its rotation is not constant and continuous but divided into a predetermined number of steps and, thanks to input and output control systems, it is able to start and stop in a precise position.

It is composed essentially of two components, the rotor, installed on a shaft, and the stator, the fixed part.

The stator consists of a series of electromagnetic coils arranged in phases through which direct current flows, thus creating a magnetic field  with positive and negative poles that attract or repel the rotor to make it move. Movement (“the step”) occurs when the power in a coil is reversed and leads to a motion of the motor shaft.

According to this mechanism, a complete rotation is divided into a predetermined number of equal partial rotations which depend on the motor structure.

Stepper motors require control electronics (driver) to operate. This allows the power to be switched on and off through the coils so that they can transmit incredibly precise motion, achieve the desired movement of mechanical parts, and monitor speed and position easily and efficiently.

Thanks to their configuration therefore, stepper motors are widely used in applications where strict positioning control and high accuracy in the movement is required, such as 3D printers, robotics, labeling and packaging machines, biomedical equipment, CNC machines, and many others.

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The main features of a stepper gear motor

Micro Motors offers stepper gearmotor consisting of a stepper motor and a spur gearbox. The motor gives position accuracy, while the addition of the gearbox increases torque and reduces speed. The gearbox consists of gears made of different materials, mainly sintered steel and brass.


Micro stepper gear motor vs. DC brush gear motor

The difference between these two types of gearmotors resides in the structure of the motor to which they are coupled.

A conventional brushed DC motor converts electric current into mechanical energy. This function is based on the principle of induction, that is, an electromagnetic force produced by the input current in turn generates rotary motion.

The DC motor consists of four main components: stator, rotor, commutator and brushes. The stator, i.e., the magnet, remains stationary, while the rotor composed of windings is connected to a commutator equipped with brushes and rotates inside. The energy fed into the terminals through the brushes and commutator transforms the winding into an electromagnet that turns the motor unidirectionally according to the principle of magnetic attraction and repulsion.

This system allows the motor to generate continuous rotary motion as long as it is powered, but without any control. Thus, it is difficult to determine the precise position at which the motor stops making it unsuitable for those applications that require minute control of positioning.


stepper motor

By contrast, the stepper motor is designed to overcome these limitations. First, its structure is completely different from conventional DC motors in that on the inside it contains a segmented magnetized rotor and a stator (fixed) consisting of sets of electromagnetic coils rotating in the center. The coils are energized by electric current and create positive and negative poles that push or attract the rotor to spin; the number of steps into which the rotation is divided is determined by the motor configuration. The stepper motor uses a digital control system to precisely turn the coils on and off in sequence, resulting in highly precise and controlled motion.

In addition, the stepper motor structure has no brushes, which results in a longer mechanical service life.

In conclusion, what most differentiates stepper motors from conventional DC brush motors is their ability to position themselves precisely and maintain that position as long as necessary, performing their task exactly and consistently; this makes them an optimal choice in many industrial applications.


The advantages

The combination of stepper motor and gearbox developed by Micro Motors offers a variety of advantages, particularly in industrial applications. These include:

  • Compact size
  • Low noise level
  • Accurate positioning in small steps
  • Various speed ranges
  • Different reductions
  • High holding torque
  • Possibility of rapid change of rotation direction
  • No brushes (increased durability and reliability)

They are extremely reliable and versatile and with the control of a suitable driver they ensure maximum efficiency and performance.


Micro Motors micro stepper gear motors

Given the wide range of micro stepper motor brands, sizes, torque values and solutions available on the market, it is essential to have a clear understanding of which configuration is best suited for a particular application before making a purchase. This requires careful consideration of factors such as the needed precision and accuracy, the load capacity of the motor, the speed and torque requirements, and the environmental conditions in which the motor will be operating.

Micro motors’ sales and engineering support team is ready to assist you in the choice of the most suitable stepper gear motor for your application choosing from the series available in its production range. In addition, it has also developed a dedicated driver to ensure an optimal use of its products in a simple and versatile way.

Are you in need of a stepper gear motor? 

Contact us!


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