Aerotech has completed and fully launched its low-cost PRO series linear stage range and can now offer a total of 68 standard models with travel from 50 mm to 1500 mm in a choice of four stage widths from 115 mm to 280 mm for high throughput, medium precision positioning. The modular range features Aerotech’s well proven hard cover/side-seal system that provides entire stage protection for arduous manufacturing environments such as laser machining. With high-load capacity linear motion guide bearings and servomotor driven precision ballscrews, available in normal or ‘faster’ pitches for speeds over 1.4 m/sec, the range is well suited to demanding multi-axis positioning applications across manufacturing and test.
The PRO series has been designed as an adaptable family of positioning stages that allow OEMs and system integrators to select and mix models to exactly match their machine building requirements. For typical applications the 115 mm and 165 mm narrow width stages may be used for upper axes and the wide-base 225 mm and 280 mm wide stages fulfilling load bearing support in lower axes. In reality, almost any combination for multi-axis positioning is possible with X-Y combinations from just 50 mm x 50 mm, and gantry style multi-axis designs to beyond 1.5 m travel. Longer, custom designed travel options for each width are also possible where flat mounting and adequate stage support can be maintained.
The modular range has a similar accuracy, repeatability and environmental specifications throughout, as well as a consistently neat and stylish visual appearance. A choice of a standard 5 mm pitch and higher speed 20 mm or 25 mm pitch ballscrews also offers the possibility to increase throughput speeds in applications where positional specifications are less demanding.
Across the range, repeatability is within +/- 1 μm for 5 mm pitch ballscrews and +/- 2.5 μm for 25 mm pitch variants. Positioning resolution, with a 2500 line encoder, is 0.5 μm for the 5 mm pitch ballscrew version with custom encoder options available for higher resolution if required.
For applications where the PRO series maximum speeds and/or positional accuracy characteristics are a limiting factor, the range may be mixed with linear motor driven alternatives that utilise the same hard-top/side-sealed sealed design. Aerotech’s ALS series direct-drive technology stages include linear encoder feedback and yield a considerably increased acceleration and top speed performance along with augmented accuracy and precision. Aerotech also plan to introduce form-fit alternatives across the PRO range using its direct-drive linear servo technology.
To manage overall costs and match the customer’s budget requirements, each PRO series stage is offered with a wide number of options including tabletop hole pattern to suit X-Y or rotary stage mounting - or no tabletop fitted. Comprehensive alternatives also extend to NEMA 23 or 34 servomotor selection and orientation options that include space saving fold back motor designs. Multi-axis alignment, test specifications, limit switches and z-axis brackets are also available and priced on a request basis.
The PRO series’ one-piece hard cover and vertical side-seal arrangement completely protects and naturally deflects debris away from the internal stage mechanics, offering a distinct advantage over traditional bellows or sliding top-seal designs. Furthermore, an optional brush cleaning strip may be fitted to the moving carriage to remove the build up of machining waste and prevent debris from accumulating on the hard cover. The much improved level of protection extends working life and helps to reduce downtime and maintenance whilst maximising production throughput and up-time.
The PRO series stages may be supplied stand-alone, with matching Aerotech servo amplifiers or as a part of complete “ready to run” systems with a choice of Aerotech motion controllers.