Nanotranslation linear position stages gain vertical axis

Paul Boughton
Aerotech is adding a new vertical translation stage to its ANT range of nanotranslation linear position stages providing 500mm/s speed, 1 'g' acceleration and a positioning resolution between 2.5 nm and 1.0 um over a 25mm or 50mm travel range. The new ANT-LXV vertical translation stage combines Aerotech's latest direct-drive linear servo motor, encoder feedback and bearing technologies with advanced axis calibration in a design that includes an integral pneumatic counterbalance to ensure 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 significantly improved production throughput in comparison to conventional lead screw and piezo-driven mechanical systems. The 2.5 nanometre resolution is maintained even at 500mm/s speeds.

The compact unit measures just under 93mm wide and 124mm deep with overall height for the 25mm travel version at just under 167mm and under 230mm for the 50mm 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 5kg.

An impressive specification for both 25mm and 50mm travel versions includes a calibrated positional accuracy of +/-0.3 um, repeatability within +/-0.05 um and differential straightness and flatness specifications to +/- 0.75 um per 25mm of travel, with a maximum deviation of +/- 3.0 um.

The ANT-LXV will typically be used as a part of a multi-axis positioning system, controlled with Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform to realise high levels of performance. The A3200 is a PC-based, software-only controller that 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 control, which may be integrated into the customers' application.

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