Stepper motors and drives can be combined into one unit. Manufacturers offer a variety of combinations of integrated stepper motors and drive combinations. There are advantages and disadvantages to these integrated stepper motor-drive units. The advantages of integrated motor and driver units include ease-of-implementation, lower wiring complexity, quicker setup and construction of systems, and motor-drive compatibility. Also, there are integrated units that integrate systems on a chips (SoC).
There are disadvantages, such as fewer configuration options, a lack of customization and vendor lock-in. These issues can also be troubleshooting and modifications to maintenance procedures.
The best thing about integrated drive-motor units is their ease of implementation. These units do not require wiring between the motor and drive. They can be simply "dropped" in place and connected to a control unit. This allows for faster setup, allowing a system go from blueprints into production in a shorter time.
Engineers don't have to worry about wiring inputs and outputs correctly connecting drive and motor.
There are no concerns about bipolar or unipolar wiring. Long wiring runs don't cause signal degradation.
Integrated drives are also guaranteed to work together with the motor and drive. They are guaranteed to work together because they are provided by the manufacturer. Because the curves already take into account the drive's torque-speed curves, this means less work. This means that you don't have to worry about whether or not the drive uses the correct voltages. An integrated unit with an SoC can be even simpler. The SoC can handle most control operations. The combined unit can also connect to other units, which is particularly useful for the Internet of Things.
This setup has one major drawback: it is not flexible enough to be customized and implemented in a way that suits your needs. The drive-motor combination is one unit so it works only for certain applications. If the driver needs to be changed, but the motor works fine or vice versa, it is impossible to replace the entire unit.
Because manufacturers don't have the same level of optimization or specialization for individual components that are available in integrated units, customization is limited. Any unique or unusual requirements cannot be met by a system.
Additionally, if more than one drive is required, but not all motors, integrated drives add unnecessary redundancy to the system. Other drawbacks include vendor lock in and changes to maintenance procedures. It may be difficult to determine if a fault is caused by the motor or drive.