11 March 2008

Aerotech's ABL3600 open frame air bearing stage provides the definitive specification for through-aperture step and scan positioning

Aerotech ABL3600 positioning stageWith its open frame design, Aerotech's ABL3600 air bearing, linear motor driven X-Y positioning stage is aimed at semiconductor fabrication and test, scanning microscopy and other demanding scan and position applications requiring a large working aperture and perfect precision. Specifications for the 250 mm x 250 mm travel stage include a calibrated positional accuracy of +/- 1 micron, a resolution range between 1 and 200 nanometres, and scanning speeds to 200 mm/sec. Delivered as a completely tested and customer ready motion sub system with an integral granite base and full cable management, the ABL3600 can be customised with wafer chucks or other customer-specific fixtures.

The preloaded high-stiffness air bearing design used on the ABL3600, developed and improved over many product generations, has been skilfully combined with the latest technology dual brushless and slotless linear motors to guarantee exceptionally smooth scanning performance and outstanding in-position stability. The combination of direct-drive servo motors, preloaded air bearings and high resolution non-contact linear encoders provides friction free mechanics with zero-backlash and no wind-up - for a major performance improvement over traditional bearing and mechanical transmission design technologies. Further benefits of the non-contact design include virtually zero maintenance and an incredibly long working life - contributing to a very low total cost of ownership for such equipment.

Other impressive specifications include a maximum horizontal load capability of 30 kg and for each axis, a maximum deviation straightness and flatness of +/- 0.5 micron and +/- 1.0 micron respectively measured 50 mm above the tabletop. Pitch and roll is within 3 arc-sec and yaw is 0.5 arc-sec. 
Aerotech provide a choice of PWM or linear drive stage servo amplifiers to match application requirements. PWM provides high performance acceleration and optimal maximum speed but for applications with the most rigorous in-position stability, sub-micron axis interpolation or for the lowest possible electrical noise emissions, linear drive stage amplifiers are the superlative choice.

Motion controllers to match such demanding applications include Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform - a PC based software only multi-axis motion and machine controller with FirewireR interfaced, DSP based servo drives and optionally integrated HMI, soft PLC and vision control modules. The fully deterministic controller can be programmed using Aerotech's own AEROBasicT, RS274 G-code and LabviewTM. Alternatively programmers can call upon the powerful MicrosoftR .NET development environment to help reduce project development timescales with C, C++, VisualBasicR or Delphi based programming.

For a stand-alone alternative, Aerotech's new multi-tasking EnsembleT CP/MP/CL intelligent panel mount drives include a single axis motion controller with integrated PWM or linear servo amplifier capable of distributed high-speed serial networking for up to ten tightly synchronised axes.  Aerotech's mechanical systems and motion controls often include custom engineering to adapt standard designs to specific applications. Modifications include tailored travel ranges, provision for customer supplied cabling and hose, supplying customised machine base, specialised fixtures, control consoles and cabinets. Custom engineering may also be applied to software commands or program interfacing.

All Aerotech's products are supplied fully tested with certified documentation and with all application specific parameters such as servo amplifier gains and safety settings pre-configured. Comprehensive pre and post sale technical support includes specialist product training at the customer's site or using internet based tuition.

Back to top