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Home >New standard in precision positioning

New standard in precision positioning

29 August 2014

Modern production techniques demand faster, more precise and flexible systems, yet these parameters are often mutually exclusive. Festo has used its experience in mechanical structures, combined with expertise in motion control to look at handling in a different way.

In a typical system, mass and dynamics are usually inversely proportional so by reducing mass we gain an increase in dynamics and therefore a higher productivity in our customers’ machines.

This is the guiding principle behind the compact gantry EXCM from Festo which offers maximum coverage of its working space and is ideal for applications where mounting space is tight. It combines high functionality with a compact design and an attractive price/performance ratio. The EXCM Mini H Handler, offers the industry a new high standard in precise, fast positioning. It is the world’s first production, off-the-shelf handling gantry to feature kinematic technology; this significantly reduces its lifetime costs.

The EXCM Mini H Handler’s parallel kinematic system is extremely energy efficient compared to traditional Cartesian positioning systems in which one motor must transport the weight of the other. Instead, two motors act directly on the load via a common recirculating tooth belt.  By sharing the load in this way, the robotics can achieve higher dynamics, and the EXCM realises positioning speeds of up to 0.5m/s with less cost, energy usage and vibration. The Mini H Handler’s closed-loop servo controller can drive the end effector rapidly and accurately to any X-Y co-ordinate position.

The Handlers start from just A4 size with a good ratio of working area to total footprint. Installation height is also minimised, as both motors lie in the same plane. With these compact dimensions, the EXCM Mini H Handlers are perfect for desktop applications, such as those found in electronics, light assembly, and laboratory situations. Their robustness and reliability increases uptime; as neither motor moves, no energy chain is required, which eliminates drag and cable failure - traditionally the greatest causes of downtime.

The Mini H Handler range currently comprises two products; the EXCM-10 and the EXCM-30. The EXCM-30 supports a payload of up to 3kg, and high precision, with a maximum acceleration of 10m/s2, maximum speed of 0.5m/s and repetition accuracy of ±0.05 mm with ball bearing guidance. The gantries are available with six X-axis fixed stroke lengths up to 700mm and a Y-axis stroke up to 360mm.

The EXCM is extremely easy to install and control. The controller can be driven from any PLC or PC device using digital I/O, Ethernet TCP/IP or CAN bus network. With network-connected devices, users can directly program the Mini H Handler with familiar parameters – X and Y Cartesian co-ordinates, vector speed, acceleration and deceleration. Additionally, all devices can run Festo’s free downloadable Festo Configuration Tool (FCT). This allows a sequence of up to 32 positioning steps to be set up and downloaded to a lookup table stored within the controller.

"The EXCM mini handlers are incredibly easy to integrate,” says Nigel Dawson, product manager at Festo GB. "We supply the systems fully assembled and tested, leaving users free to focus on their core profit-generating activities rather than automation design details. With a single part number, users can benefit from our simple procurement process and reduce their process costs.”