Stages are designed for production environments

Paul Boughton
Aerotech is launching a new range of industrial-grade positioning stages that feature direct-drive linear servo motors and ultra-smooth crossed-roller bearings in a hard-top/side-sealed design that offers outstanding levels of positional and geometric precision for harsh production environments. The new ALS2200 range is aimed at high-precision/high-throughput manufacturing applications such as multi-axis laser micromachining, which typically demands very tight velocity and in-position control, combined with exceptionally smooth motion and micron-level straightness and flatness. Free from recirculating bearing elements, and with a high-power, cog-free linear servo motor, the stages benefits from excellent velocity stability thanks to almost imperceptible levels of drive-induced stage vibration.
With a nominal stage width of less than 204mm, the range covers a choice of 100mm or 150mm travel with direct load up to 30kg, Halar-calibrated accuracy to +/-0.75microns, a bi-directional repeatability of +/-0.2microns, and speeds to 500mm/s. Positioning resolution is up to 3 nanometres with zero backlash.
The small-footprint ALS2200 contains the linear servo motor, anti-creep precision bearings and encoder feedback within the stage's side-sealed protection system. The full-length metal way cover and tensioned side strap design has been successfully applied over many generations of Aerotech stages and is much preferred to bellows-type protection that can be troublesome to maintain and can increase the overall stage profile. The vertical side straps prevent debris from accumulating and are under constant tension to maintain a tight seal. End-mounted motor and feedback connectors facilitate easy installation and dual X-Y stages can include track-type cable trays on the upper axis for neat cable management. The durable aluminium construction includes a scratch-resistant, Teflon-impregnated, hard-coat finish with the tabletop mounting holes finished with steel inserts to ensure long thread life.
Aerotech's direct-drive linear servo motors and non contacting linear encoders are wear-free, providing high reliability; the MTBF is specified at more than 20,000 hours.
Aerotech can provide a choice of PWM digital amplifiers for best acceleration and speed performance, or low-noise linear stage amplifiers where customers require no-compromise smoothness and in-position stability. Both amplifier types combine with a choice of Aerotech motion controls to suit standalone or multi-axis applications with advanced controls such as a Position Synchronised Output (PSO) command that synchronises real-time multi-axis positioning with laser firing, camera capture, data acquisition or NDT test triggering to produce high-quality parts or high-accuracy test procedures.
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