Integrated granite motion system on live display

18th April 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Integrated granite motion system on live display

It has been announced that Aerotech will be demonstrating its extensive know-how as a system supplier for measurement and testing technology in Stuttgart at Control 2019, the international trade fair for Quality Assurance (QA). The manufacturer will focus on automation solutions and components for measuring and testing equipment in addition to its position controls.

On a live display at booth 218 in hall 5 will be an Integrated Granite Motion (IGM) system with the A3200 automation controller and HyperWire drive bus, the SMP multi-axis motion platform for surface measurement applications, the ABL 1500 air-bearing linear stage, as well as the new series of ATX cross-roller guided linear positioning stages.

“As a supplier of QA solutions, we respond to the trend towards more in-process quality testing,” explained Norbert Ludwig, Aerotech GmbH’s Managing Director. “This applies in particular to additive manufacturing processes which are increasingly influencing medical technology, for example. For suppliers of measurement and testing technology we offer highly innovative solutions for their agile process control – including non-destructive quality assurance.”

The Integrated Granite Motion (IGM) system will be showcased as an alternative to traditional granite-subbase positioning stages incorporating Aerotech’s latest components: a high-performance XR3 controller, a GL4 galvo controller, and the A3200 automation platform with HyperWire drive bus.

This allows the IGM linear stages, which are tailor-made in terms of stiffness, to be configured to meet the requirements of various applications with greater flexibility. Depending on the intended use, travel distance, payload and dynamic performance can be adapted to the specific application.

“Compared with conventional positioning stages with a granite base, our IGM systems offer significantly more flexibility, higher rigidity and reduced overall height,” added Norbert Ludwig. The higher stiffness is due to the fact that fewer construction elements have to be integrated. This increases the positioning accuracy as well as the dynamic performance.

To demonstrate how high-precision laser technology can also be incorporated into the positioning system, the new AGV-SPO galvo scanner is integrated into the linear axes. The so-called IFOV (Infinite Field of View) function ensures that linear or rotary servo axes are synchronised with a laser scanner. IFOV significantly improves throughput and eliminates stitching errors that otherwise frequently cause part quality issues due to superimposed and incorrectly aligned laser processing.

The manufacturing of optical components in varied sectors like laser material processing, biotechnology, medical technology and semiconductor technology, requires high-precision surface measurements including non-destructive quality assurance. According to Aerotech, the SMP is the perfect multi-axis motion system for such applications.

“Optical components are used everywhere, for example in medical technology for prevention, diagnostics and therapy or for laser processing of materials in additive manufacturing,” explained Norbert Ludwig. “High-precision optics require high-precision measurements of spherical, aspherical and cylindrical shapes in the nanometre range. This requires flexible 2D and 3D contouring.”

The measuring device benefits from the performance of Aerotech’s controllers with their advanced motion control and Position Synchronised Output (PSO), enabling very smooth movements even at low speeds.

A generic high-speed electrical interface between motion and sensor control enables axis repeatability in the lower nanometre range by synchronising measurement and position data in real time. This minimises incremental movement at the nanometre level, supporting the generation of accurate scan or point-to-point motion profiles.

Field tests and practical applications have shown that the excellent positioning properties reduce the processing time for surface measurements by up to 40%. A further advantage is space saving: an SMP requires up to 60% less floor space than Cartesian measuring systems.

At the fair Aerotech will also feature the ABL1500 direct-drive air-bearing linear stage and the mechanically-mounted, spindle-driven ATX115SL/SLE linear stage.

With its low positioning tolerances, the ABL1500 is especially suitable for high-performance scanning and inspection. The integrated linear encoder feedback reports resolutions in the sub-nanometre range with a travel distance of 500mm. Its high rigidity and excellent guiding and positioning accuracy make the ABL1500 particularly interesting for semiconductor manufacturing.

Another feature is its construction with air-to-air pre-load for the vertical and horizontal planes.

Since the load is distributed over a large area due to the large air bearing surface, the linear stage is extremely rigid and therefore particularly suitable for heavy or staggered loads.

The table is powered by Aerotech’s brushless BLMC linear servo motor. A special feature is the non-ferrous linear motor for cog-free operation without attracting forces and very smooth movements. The linear positioning system is practically maintenance-free, because everything is contactless. There is no need for lubrication.

“As there is no mechanical contact between the driven elements due to the air bearing using dry air, abrasion and the associated power reduction are virtually eliminated and the operating life is unlimited,” added Norbert Ludwig on the system design. And where there is no lubrication, everything stays clean, which qualifies the ABL1500 for clean room applications and medical technology.

The new ATX series of linear stages will be demonstrated at the fair. ATX stages combine the performance of a high-precision cross roller bearing with the precision of a ball screw drive. Outstanding guiding and positioning accuracies are achieved with this bearing/spindle combination: a cross roller bearing with creep protection (prevents cage migration) and a precision-ground recirculating ball screw is used.

According to Aerotech, the ATX series is suitable for a variety of high-precision tasks, including the vertical positioning of sensors and cameras, optical focusing as well as beam tracking and manipulation.

The ATX stage already offers a variety of standard features and options, allowing easy integration into a larger subsystem or machine, but can also be used as a standalone system. Other positioning stages or devices can be mounted on a versatile mechanical interface on the movable slide.

Brushless, non-ferrous servo motors with or without position lock as well as stepper motors are available as drives. If you want to reduce the overall length of your table in vertical axis applications where space is often limited, you can optionally install a motor deflection kit.

All ATX stages are available with Aerotech’s ThermoComp feature. This integrated temperature compensation solution counteracts thermal fluctuations. Whether variable temperature fluctuations or friction-induced self-heating, ThermoComp compensates for them and ensures high process stability even in extreme industrial environments.

The ATX series can also be optionally operated via linear encoders for position feedback. It is mounted in the middle of the moving carriage of the table and provides direct position measurement.

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