What is a permanent magnet stepper? Its types, working, construction, advantages, disadvantages & Applications

A permanent magnet stepper motor is a type of stepper motor that uses permanent magnets to create a magnetic field, which interacts with electromagnetic coils to produce rotational motion. It is a type of brushless DC motor and is widely used in various applications that require precise and controlled motion, such as in robotics, automation, and positioning systems.

Types of Permanent Magnet Stepper Motors:

  1. Variable Reluctance (VR) Stepper Motor: This type of motor has a rotor with teeth that are attracted to the stator’s electromagnets when they are energized. The rotor aligns with the electromagnets to minimize the reluctance or resistance to the magnetic flux, producing rotational motion.
  2. Permanent Magnet (PM) Stepper Motor: This type of motor has a rotor with permanent magnets that align with the stator’s electromagnets when they are energized. The permanent magnets provide a constant magnetic field, and the rotor moves to minimize the air gap between the magnets and the electromagnets, producing rotational motion.

Working of Permanent Magnet Stepper Motor:

A permanent magnet stepper works by energizing the coils in a specific sequence to create a magnetic field that interacts with the permanent magnets on the rotor. The stator consists of multiple electromagnets arranged in a circular pattern, and the rotor has permanent magnets attached to it.

When the electromagnets are energized in a sequence, they attract the permanent magnets on the rotor, causing the rotor to align with the magnetic field. As the sequence of energizing the coils changes, the rotor rotates step by step to align with the changing magnetic field, producing rotational motion. The number of steps per revolution depends on the number of electromagnets and the design of the motor.

Construction of Permanent Magnet Stepper Motor:

  1. Rotor: The rotor is the moving part of the motor and is usually made of a permanent magnet or a magnetically permeable material with attached permanent magnets.
  2. Stator: The stator is the stationary part of the motor and contains electromagnets that generate the magnetic field.
  3. Coils: The coils are wound around the stator poles and are connected to a power supply to energize them in a specific sequence to create the magnetic field.
  4. Driver: The driver is an electronic circuit that controls the sequence and timing of energizing the coils to control the motion of the motor.

Advantages of Permanent Magnet Stepper Motor:

  1. High precision: Permanent magnet stepper motors provide precise motion control with high angular resolution, allowing for accurate positioning and control in various applications.
  2. Simple control: Permanent magnet stepper motors have a relatively simple control system compared to other types of motors, as they do not require complex feedback sensors for position control.
  3. High torque at low speeds: Permanent magnet stepper motors can provide high torque even at low speeds, making them suitable for applications that require high torque at low speeds, such as in robotics and automation.
  4. Reliability: Permanent magnet stepper motors are known for their reliability due to their simple construction and lack of brushes, which reduces wear and tear.


  1. Limited speed range: Permanent magnet stepper motors have a limited speed range compared to other types of motors, and their performance may degrade at high speeds due to back EMF and other factors.
  2. Resonance and vibration: Permanent magnet stepper motors can experience resonance and vibration issues, which may affect their performance and require additional damping measures.
  3. Complex control at high speeds: Achieving precise control at high speeds can be challenging in permanent magnet stepper motors, as the motor may require more complex control algorithms to compensate for factors such as back EMF and inductance.
  4. Power consumption: Permanent magnet stepper


  1. Robotics: Permanent magnet stepper is commonly used in robotic systems for precise control of movement in various joints, arms, and grippers. They provide accurate positioning and can be used in applications such as pick-and-place robots, robotic arms in manufacturing and assembly, and autonomous vehicles.
  2. CNC Machines: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, such as CNC mills, lathes, and routers, often use permanent magnet stepper motors for precise control of the tool positioning. They allow for high precision and repeatability in machining processes, enabling complex shapes and contours to be created with high accuracy.
  3. 3D Printers: Permanent magnet stepper motors are widely used in 3D printers for controlling the movement of the print head, build plate, and other components. They provide the necessary accuracy and resolution for precise layer-by-layer printing, resulting in high-quality 3D printed objects.
  4. Medical Equipment: Permanent magnet motors are used in various medical devices, such as infusion pumps, ventilators, and surgical instruments, where precise control of motion and positioning are critical. They are also used in dental equipment, such as dental drills and imaging devices, for precise movement and positioning during dental procedures.

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