15 June 2006

Aerotech launches the LaserTurn™ direct-drive linear and rotary motion platform

Aerotech’s LaserTurn™ combines high performance, direct-drive brushless linear and rotary positioning stages with automated workpiece handling and provision for customised tooling - for a completely integrated motion solution for high-throughput cylindrical laser machining applications. The new LaserTurn series is the result of Aerotech’s dedicated research and extensive experience to provide improved productivity, industry-specific motion sub-systems, for high-throughput manufacture and test applications.

The LaserTurn series features direct-drive brushless linear and rotary stages with non contact encoders for high speed, zero backlash performance with micron level precision and repeatability. The integrated linear and rotary design allows a low machine centre of gravity that reduces the potential for dynamic pitch error under rapid acceleration and reversal conditions - offering a vast performance improvement over separate linear and rotary stages. Other benefits include superior productivity, higher rigidity, smoother motion with faster settling times, and consistently improved high quality of the laser machined part.

Available in two sizes for workpiece diameters up to 30 mm with a choice of 200 mm or 300 mm linear travel, the smaller LaserTurn 2 has an ER16 collet supporting tube and bars from 0.5mm to 10 mm diameter. The LaserTurn 5 has a larger width footprint and is available with options of an ER25 or ER40 collet for 0.5 to 16 mm and 16 mm to 30 mm workpiece diameters respectively. In addition the larger model may be fitted with a 3-jaw gripper. All workpiece handling may be pneumatically automated and includes a clear aperture for product feed through.

The linear stage includes a hard top design with side seals for full protection and the complete assembly is fully protected against laser machining debris. As well as motor power and encoder wiring, pneumatics and customer specific cabling is routed through an e-chain cable management system with interfacing connectors provided. This greatly simplifies machine design and commissioning time and ensures high reliability and a long maintenance-free life.

For custom fixtures such as workpiece alignment supports and automated material advance, the LaserTurn’s front facing end-plate provides a tooling platform with a matrix of M6 holes on a 25 mm square pattern. As this tooling interface is an integral part of the linear stage, a common reference is guaranteed for maximum system stiffness. An optional rear tooling platform may also be specified and customised mounting patterns or additional fixtures may be provided upon request.

With a choice of linear encoders, overall accuracy of +/- 5 µm is achievable, alternatively a "HALAR" calibrated option provides for +/- 1 µm accuracy over the full travel range. Positional repeatability is within +/- 0.5 µm and straightness and flatness is within a total deviation of +/- 1 µm. Maximum linear speeds are up to 2 m/sec.

For both models, rotary stage accuracy is +/- 15 arc-sec with repeatability at +/- 3 arc-sec for the smaller LaserTurn 2 and +/- 6 arc-sec for the LaserTurn 5. Axial and radial runout and wobble specifications correspond with the overall high precision of these assemblies and rated speeds for the smaller and larger models are 2000 rpm and 600 rpm respectively.

Complementing the performance capability of LaserTurn laser machining systems, Aerotech’s A3200 Digital Automation Platform is a powerful PC based, software-only, machine control system combining a high-performance, 1 to 32 axis motion engine with decentralised digital servo drives interfaced via a high-speed Firewire® network. The A3200 has integrated machine control function modules such as HMI, Vision, soft PLC and a 10/100 Base-T Ethernet interface for third party I/O and PLC’s. It includes a wide range of advanced motion and machine control commands aimed at increasing and improving the finished quality and throughput performance for demanding applications. An example is the acclaimed Position Synchronised Output or PSO command that maintains precise, on-the-fly" synchronisation of the laser’s pulse, power level and firing pattern with the exact position of the multi-axis positioning system typically moving the work piece undergoing laser feature generation.

Aerotech are able to meet and often exceed a customers’ performance requirements by providing engineered systems with fully tested and calibrated mechanical stages and associated control and drive equipment. This reduces the overall cost of ownership when compared to individual design, purchase and assembly of motion control components. Typical systems include all motor power and encoder cables plus performance and calibration related documents to help integrators with their own system documentation. All motor parameter set-up data for system configuration is included, making commissioning straightforward. These features are standard for every Aerotech product and with full product training and comprehensive on-line technical support, the true cost of ownership is extremely competitive.

Contact: Cliff Jolliffe

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