1 July 2007

New ANT-LX miniature translation stage

Aerotech's new ANT-LX nanotranslation stages provide new levels of sub-micron positioning performance by combining advanced real-time axis calibration with high performance direct-drive linear servo motors, non-contact optical encoders and linear drive amplifiers. This unique technology offers a significant throughput advantage over conventional lead screw and piezo drive based mechanical systems and this second generation design now has twice the resolution and speed capability of its predecessor - the successful ANT-25 and -50 series - thanks to improved crossed-roller bearings and new advanced 40 MHz encoder processing.

Used with a dedicated version of Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform motion control system, the ANT-LX has a maximum resolution of just 2.5 nanometres and a calibrated positional accuracy of ±0.3 µm with a top speed performance of 500 mm/sec and acceleration to 5 g. Repeatability is within ±0.05 µm with differential straightness and flatness specifications to 3.0 µm per 25 mm of travel with a maximum deviation of ±1.0 µm.

The compact unit measures just 90 mm wide and 33 mm high with an overall working length of less than 130 mm for the 25 mm travel version and under 200 mm for the 50 mm travel version. Maximum load is 8 kg and X-Y, X-Y-Z or other mechanical configurations are made easy with matching fixed base and moving carriage hole patterns. The ANT-LX range may also be assembled with other ANT series stages (vertical lift, rotary and goniometer) to create complete multi-axis motion platforms.

To meet and exceed the exceptionally smooth motion characteristics required for micron level incremental moves and velocity-critical scanning applications, the ANT-LX features an Aerotech's cog-free direct-drive brushless linear servo motor driven with a state-of-art linear amplifier. This combination provides the ultimate in low-noise, ultra quiet performance with integral resolution multiplication for the 20 micron pitch, sinusoidal output linear encoders.

Low profile, precision crossed-roller bearing elements provide improved load and increased acceleration capability. The housing is black anodised aluminium with a hardcoat finish for extra durability and includes ample threaded inserts for customer fixture mounting.

The ANT-LX is aimed at high-throughput production and test applications in fibre optics, photonics, MEMS and sensor manufacture and may also be applied to any application where high positional resolution and precision excellence is required at a competitive price. The long life, low maintenance profile of the ANT-LX will be of interest to OEM's and machine builders who require low cost of ownership, future proof, fit and forget motion systems.

Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform is a software only controller that harnesses PC based processing power for tightly synchronised motion and machine control. For ANT-LX dedicated applications, the controller uses the IEEE-1394 Firewire® protocol to provide fully deterministic, high-speed, distributed control in combination with Aerotech's Ndrive HL linear servo amplifiers for the required axis count in combination with all I/O and machine interfacing functions. The 32-axis A3200 is also available with a range of "soft" machine control modules for HMI, Vision and PLC which may be integrated into the customers' application. Motion and machine control commands may be accessed in C, C++, and Visual Basic® or in Aerotech's own AeroBASICTM. Alternatively, the optional Ncontrol® SDK software development kit may be used to program the unit with Windows® based ActiveX components, C++, VB and .NET class libraries to help to reduce programming time and simplify system integration.

Aerotech supply ANT-LX systems complete with interconnecting cables, motor parameter set-up data, performance documents and assembly information to speed commissioning and help integrators with their own system documentation.

Contact: Cliff Jolliffe

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