Stepper motors are typically digitally controlled in an open-loop motion-control positioning system
A stepper motor is a type of brushless synchronous DC motor that, unlike many other standard types of electric motors, doesn’t just rotate continuously for an arbitrary number of spins until the DC voltage passing to it is shut off.
Instead, stepper motors are a type of digital input-output device for precision starting and stopping. They’re constructed so that the current passing through it hits a series of coils arranged in phases, which can be powered on and off in quick sequence. This allows the motor to turn through a fraction of a rotation at a time - and these individual predetermined phases as what we refer to as ‘steps’.
A stepper motor is designed to break up a single full rotation into a number of much smaller (and essentially equal) part-rotations. For practical purposes, these can be used to instruct the stepper motor to move through set degrees or angles of rotation. The end result is that a stepper motor can be used to transfer minutely accurate movements to mechanical parts that require a high degree of precision.
Stepper motors are typically digitally controlled, and function as key components in an open-loop motion-control positioning system. They’re most commonly used in holding or positioning applications where their ability to assert much more clearly defined rotational positions, speeds and torques make them ideally suited to tasks demanding extremely rigorous movement control.
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