Feedback device

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Feedback Devices

In today’s age of data and automation, a feedback device offers exceptional support for machine control.

| Power & Motion Technology | Safety and Training | By Duff-Norton | Jan 01, 0001

In today’s age of data and automation, a feedback device offers exceptional support for machine control. When using any electronic control system, the goal is always the same: to measure, monitor and control a movement as accurately as possible. To do this, feedback devices are used as part of a closed-loop system. A control system monitors an output, and then sends this output information back to the system as a feedback signal, which it uses to compare the actual output with the forecasted one.

You can control and adjust the measured output signal, allowing for greater control and more precisionthroughout a movement. 

In this blog post, we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of feedback devices, and why you should consider using them.

Advantage: Automatically reduce errors

Closed-loop systems are continuously feeding back the actual output and analyzing against the desired output. As a result, your machinery can react automatically to whatever the data is telling it. All of this is done within the device itself and requires no manual action.

Advantage: Improve stability

A feedback device means you have total access to key data and information in real time, meaning you can remain in control and improve the stability of your movement. Insight into performance can provide significant support in ensuring stability, control and consistent precision of the movement.

Advantage: Increase robustness against external disturbances

Often, control systems are used in hazardous and difficult environments. But no matter where you’re operating your machinery, a feedback device will enable you to gain control of your equipment’s output. It also means that your machinery can auto-adjust depending on the external situation it is in. 

Advantage: Reliable and repeatable

Having access to information from a feedback device means you can ensure your machinery is reliable, letting you continue to deliver consistent, accurate movements, time after time.

A feedback device sounds like a good idea right now, doesn’t it? Well, like everything, there are a few disadvantages to consider: 

Disadvantage: Changes

Using a feedback device means that there will be a lot of commands and signals passing to and from the controllers, at all times. If a system is too sensitive to changes in the commands or signal, it can produce unreliable movements. This is because the controller will try to over-correct itself. To combat this, you must enter some pre-defined limits and tell the system exactly how you want it to behave. It will adjust accordingly from there. 

Disadvantage: Complexity 

To provide a high level of information, control and consistent feedback to a machine, a closed-loop system must have one or more feedback paths. This can be complex, impacting cost, space and installation.

Types of feedback devices

Duff-Norton engineers a wide range of controls, for actuator systems with fractional horsepower sizes up to 200 HP. Our various controls include:

  • Custom controls: A solution that is completely tailored to your application.
  • Synchronization Controls: We offer a variety of solutions from two to six axes of motion that provide smooth and reliable synchronization.
  • Variable speed controls: Our controllers allow the speed to be adjusted between 0 and 100 percent even while the application is in motion.
  • Positioning control: We offer an adaptable range of options to precisely position single or multiple axes of motion.
  • Pendant control: An option of 3, 5, 7 and 9 button pendants that all offer ease of movement around applications.
  • Digital display controls: These provide easy-to-read, live positioning feedback and can be used with encoder, linear transducer or potentiometer feedback.
  • Three phase jog control: These come standard with a power on indicator, auxiliary brake relay (if fast stopping is required), and labelled terminal strips.
  • Single phase jog control: These meet a wide variety of single phase voltages and come standard with short circuit protection devices.

Our control solutions can meet the most advanced industrial lifting, positioning, and transfer demands needed to help you gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.


As a leading engineering manufacturer of reliable industrial lifting and positioning products, Duff-Norton is comprised of individuals with in-depth industry experience. Articles authored by Duff-Norton belong to a collection of blogs written by product and application experts throughout the organization.

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