Low-cost electric actuators launched

Paul Boughton

Festo is entering the market for low-cost electric actuators with the introduction of a toothed belt drive axis that marries cost-optimised design rules with precision engineering.

Costing 65 per cent less than Festo's popular EGC series high-performance electromechanical axes, the new ELGR toothed belt axis is said to set a new price-performance standard for the motion control industry.

Designed primarily for applications involving relatively short stroke lengths and low moments on the guide, such as pick-and-place tasks and transportation of small masses, the ELGR axis is also useful for positioning, centring and pushing functions on conveyor belts, and for activating safety doors on processing machines.
Unlike conventional toothed belt axes, which feature a full length profile, the ELGR axis is only supported at the ends and relies on the rigidity of the steel bearing guides. Both the support ends and the carriage are constructed from the same extruded aluminium profile - an innovative asymmetric extrusion geometry facilitates the necessary offset - which helps further to minimise costs. Provided that system designers keep applied torsion and bending forces within prescribed limits, Festo ELGR axes are capable of repeatable positioning accuracies of +/-0.1mm and a very high in-service life - in excess of 5000km of travel.
ELGR axes are available with a choice of 35, 45 and 55mm wide profiles, and the moving carriage can be equipped with sliding bushings or with ball bearings for higher speeds and loads. Different models within the range offer stroke lengths from 50mm to 1.5m and speeds up to 3m/s. The largest model can generate a feed force of up to 350N and accommodate payloads as high as 30kg.
The new ELGR axes are said to be particularly easy to install: a hollow drive pinion, combined with a new design of elastomeric motor coupling featuring an expanding shaft, provide a simple, backlash-free connection. The motor can be mounted by the user at either end and on either side of the axis.
A number of configuration options further enhance the design-in flexibility of ELGR axes. They can be supplied with extra moving carriages to the left, right or either side of the standard carriage, and they can also be equipped with an extra long carriage for applications requiring higher load-carrying capacity. ELGR axes can be supplied with two moving carriages that work in opposite directions, making them suitable for opening and closing safety doors on processing machines, or for large-format gripping applications. For special applications, Festo can also supply ELGR axes without the bearing guides, or with extra long strokes.
ELGR toothed belt axes are available as standalone products or as part of complete motion control systems - they are fully compatible with Festo's range of stepper and servo motors, as well as the company's modular multi-axis system. The axes can also be used with third-party motors; Festo can provide flange designs to match these motors and even manufacture them if required.
For more information, visit www.festo.com

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