13 August 2009

Aerotech ANT-LXV adds vertical positioning to range of high-speed, direct-drive nanometre resolution translation stages

Aerotech has added a new vertical translation stage to its ANT range of ‘nanotranslation’ linear position stages providing 500 mm/sec speed, 1 g acceleration and a positioning resolution between 2.5 nm and 1.0 µm over a 25 mm or 50 mm travel range. The new ANT-LXV vertical translation stage combines Aerotech’s latest direct-drive linear servo motor, encoder feedback and bearing technology with advanced axis calibration in a design that includes an integral pneumatic counterbalance to ensure totally smooth, stiction-free vertical motion.

The ANT-LXV provides the vertical positioning component to compatible ANT-LX stages, and brings X, Y and Z positioning in an extremely compact form factor for high-throughput production and test applications in fibre-optic and MEMS device alignment, optical delay element actuation and nanometre level scanning. The range utilises ultra-high precision cross roller bearings and 40 MHz linear encoder processing for a significantly improved production throughput performance in comparison to conventional lead screw and piezo driven mechanical systems. The 2.5 nanometre resolution is maintained even at 500 mm/sec speeds.

The compact unit measures just under 93 mm wide and 124 mm deep with overall height for the 25 mm travel version at just under 167 mm and under 230 mm for the 50 mm travel version. The vertical moving carriage and all mounting surfaces include a matrix of fixing holes for customer equipment - directly interfacing with Aerotech’s ANT linear and goniometric stages as well compatible rotary positioning tables. Direct load carrying capacity is 5 kg.

The impressive specification for both 25 mm and 50 mm travel versions includes a calibrated positional accuracy of ±0.3 µm, repeatability within ±0.05 µm and differential straightness and flatness specifications to ± 0.75 µm per 25 mm of travel, with a maximum deviation of ± 3.0 µm.
The ANT-LXV is typically used as a part of a multi-axis positioning system, controlled with Aerotech’s A3200 Automation Platform to realise the highest levels of performance. The A3200 is a PC based, software only controller which is especially suited to extreme levels of axis and machine control synchronisation. The advanced controller uses the IEEE-1394 Firewire® protocol for fully deterministic high-speed networking with Aerotech’s Ndrive™ HL series linear servo amplifiers maintaining the performance required for nanometre level resolution positioning. Up to 32 axes may be controlled using position, velocity and time commands that are processed at 20 kHz update rate by the Ndrives. The A3200 range includes additional ‘soft’ machine control modules for HMI, Vision and PLC which may be integrated into the customers’ application.

Dedicated commands such as Position Synchronised Output (PSO) may be used to time the precise synchronisation of external events such as data capture or laser firing with real-time multi-axis interpolated positions. The A3200 may be programmed in Aerotech’s own AeroBASICTM or in C, C++, and Visual Basic®. Furthermore, 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 ANT-LX and ANT-LXV systems include complete cable management and can be mounted and fully tested on anti-vibration tables or granite machine beds. To help machine builders and integrators reduce system commissioning time and cost, Aerotech typically includes all motor parameter set-up data, performance documents, test certificates, assembly information and full product training.

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