Generally speaking the top speed of a stepper motor is approximately 1000rpm. The exact speeds that are possible depend on the specific motor being used and the controller being used with it. For example it is possible to overdrive a smaller stepper motor with a higher powered controller but this will result in reduced life span and any of the benefits of doing so will largely be minimal in comparison to using a brushless DC motor at the rated speed. It is important to remember that the torque generated by a stepper motor is significantly reduced as the speed increases.
If you would like more information on torque speed curves and how they can help you choose the best motor for your project then please see What is a torque/speed curve and how does it affect what I need?
A point which is often overlooked is the fact that the available torque from a stepper motor decreases significantly as the speed increases. This often means that in applications where the motor is under a certain load (which it obviously has to be as it is driving something) the max speed will be inherently reduced by the amount of load on the motor.
This is why it is so important to understand the load that you need to place on the motor when choosing a motor.
If you need a lower speed and higher torque to make your motor control project work do not forget that you can always use geared stepper motors. Gearbox ratios typically range from 2:1 up to about 50:1 and this can dramatically increase the torque available from the stepper motor (albeit at the cost of significantly reducing the maximum speed available from the stepper motor). For example, a typical NEMA 17 stepper motor with a ZDSP Stepper motor driver will be able to achieve 0.65Nm of torque. However, by adding a gearbox to this motor – such as in the case of the ZDSPN17G27-3 geared stepper motor and driver package this can be increased up to 3Nm.
The maximum speed of a stepper motor is dictated by a combination of stepper motor size, the type of stepper motor controller that it is being used with and also the specific application that it is going into. All of these factors need to be considered when assessing how much speed you can realistically achieve for a set application or package.
If you have any questions at all about this please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss your requirements with one of our engineers.