Modular single-axis air bearing stages offer high rigidity

Paul Boughton
Newport Corporation is launching the new Singulys family of single-axis air bearing stages. The new stage and bridge configurations combine high performance with modularity, which makes them suitable for single-axis, split X-Y, and gantry applications.
The Singulys S-370 stage is manufactured from silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic components, similar to Newport's popular DynamYX and HybrYX stage product families. The body's rigid and compact footprint with three-point mounting allows the stage to be used in tight spaces typically reserved for mechanical bearing designs without the need for large, lapped mounting surfaces to maintain precise trajectory. The lightweight carriage features integrated pressure-vacuum air bearings that are guided by a precisely-lapped SiC body. Newport's new high-precision stage is designed for tasks with very high duty-cycles that require low angular deviation, tight velocity regulation, and high cleanliness standards.
Singulys B-1200 air bearing bridges feature a proprietary ceramic beam that is claimed to be three times lighter than steel and offers triple the stiffness of granite. When used to replace a steel- or granite-based design in an existing or next-generation tool, the properties of the B-1200 can improve acceleration and decrease settling times, which increases throughput and accuracy with minimal system redesign. The lightweight and rigid pressure-vacuum air bearing carriage accommodates high (10kg) cantilevered payloads with 2.5 'g' acceleration and, unlike stages using mechanical bearings, minimises contamination to the substrate below. Applications for Newport's B-1200 include Gen 8-11 flat panel display inspection, thin film photovoltaic scribing, and wafer processing.
Specially designed for frictionless operation, both the S and B Singulys series of air bearing products are sturdy, highly reliable, and require no maintenance and/or lubrication.
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