Our motion systems are often scaled up for large-format manufacturing applications, but we’ve recently taken our technology in the opposite direction to address miniature manufacturing. Case in point: We’re putting the finishing touches on a new 3-axis motion stage for a vision-guided CNC micromachining system.

With a work envelope measuring 690 x 450 x 150 mm, this micromachining stage has a large addressable area that might not seem “micro” at all. Yet with a positioning resolution of just 0.5 µm, the stage enables the machining of sub-micron features on larger workpieces.

The system is built around around a trio of our zero-backlash Servonut LowBoy linear axes, which incorporate Bosch-Rexroth precision-rolled ball screws and bearings. Renishaw linear encoders, Teknic Eclipse 545 amps and Emoteq motors round out the controls.

Together, these components add up to a CNC system that makes quick, accurate bidirectional moves without sacrificing the high-axial stiffness required for a steady machining spindle. In testing, our new micromachining stage has been making accurate 0.5 µm step moves with ease.

This particular stage represents just one of our on-going projects in miniature manufacturing. Sign up for our electronic newsletter to be the first to learn about another unique CNC micro machine that we have in the works.

Published in Bell-Everman News
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 02:04

A Smaller ServoBelt For Biomedical Machines

ServoBelt is shrinking. And for the makers of biomedical machines and lab automation equipment, smaller really is better.

While our full-sized ServoBelt linear axis has been put to work in larger biomedical machines, a customer who makes diagnostic equipment recently asked us to create a compact ServoBelt sized for “benchtop” machines. The result is a new ServoBelt built around 30-mm Bosch Rexroth aluminum t-slot framing and 15-mm profiled bearings–down from the 45-mm framing and 20-mm bearings used on our larger ServoBelts. The new “ServoBelt 30″ is sized for NEMA 23 and smaller motors, versus NEMA 23 and 34 motors for our larger ServoBelts. Working payload for the scaled-down ServoBelt will vary with length and motor size, but expect it to handle payloads up to 20 kg in benchtop machine applications.

Other than the differences in size and payload, the ServoBelt 30 performs just like our larger models (view all the specs here). For example, expect a repeatability of +/- 10 µm and accelerations up to 4 g in typical benchtop applications.

Though small, the new ServoBelt promises to have a big impact on biomedical machines. ServoBelt 30’s rigid profiled bearings and low moving mass allow the axis to be driven with a single small motor. That’s one less motor per axis than you’ll see on many biomedical machines, which tend to have round-rail bearings and a motor at either end of each linear axis. Compared to drives built around round rails and dual motors, ServoBelt 30 not only saves the cost of those extra motors and controls but also ups ante on speed, accuracy and resistance to moment loads.

Other than biomedical machines and lab automation applications, the ServoBelt 30 also fits nicely into a wide variety of small-scale fluid handling, testing, inspection, and prototyping machines.

Check out the images.

Published in Bell-Everman News
Thursday, 18 February 2010 00:02

ServoBelt Action On Mike Everman’s Blog

ServoBelt continues to get bigger and better. To see its latest capabilities in action, check out these new videos and photos on Mike Everman’s Technical Interest blog.

Published in Bell-Everman News
Monday, 08 February 2010 00:00

Affordable Precision Motion At ATX West

This week at the ATX West Show in Anaheim, we’re showing a line-up of our latest automation systems, including innovative linear and rotary stages for precision motion applications that would otherwise require expensive linear or direct-drive motors. Here’s a look at some of the systems on display:

  • ServoBelt Rotary. ATX marks the first showing of our newest stage, which puts ServoBelt’s proven belt technology to work in rotary applications. With its large through-hole and geometric accuracy of  2.5μm TIR or better  at any point on the stage, the ServoBelt Rotary can take the place of  pricey direct-drive motors. Resolution for this new stage is 16 arc-sec with a repeatability of ±40 arc-sec. A ring encoder is optional. Full specs are available here.
  • ServoBelt Linear. We’re running our  ServoBelt linear axis technology in configurations that show the versatility of this cost-effective alternative to linear motors. Among the displays are a 3-meter dual-carriage version and a Cartesian pick-and-place robot built around a pair of ServoBelts. Read more about the ServoBelt Linear here or download the technical specs.
  • Direct Drive Rotary Stages. Intended for easy integration into metrology and light mechanical applications, our DDT rotary stages will be shown in several sizes that highlight this stage’s low-profile, large through-hole and accuracy. The DDT100S, for example, measures just 50 mm high and 100 mm across.  It offers a geometric accuracy of 1.5mm TIR or better anywhere on stage.  Download the specs here.
  • KAOS OEM. With the lowest profile and lowest moving mass in its speed and accuracy class, this two-axis cartesian servo stage offers fast accelerations–up to 2g continuous and over 5g peak–with a minimum investment in linear motor force. Its low profile makes this servo stage is easier to package in your system, and your payload is more closely coupled to the linear bearings for excellent stiffness and shorter settling times. Read more about the award-winning KAOS here or download the technical specs.
  • LowBoy ServoNut. This affordable low-profile ball-screw drive targets metrology and light- to medium-heavy mechanical processes and offers geometric accuracy of 10μm TIR or better at any point on the stage. Axial repeatability is 2μm with 1μm encoder. The LowBoy ServoNut is highly configurable with a range of chassis and stage mounting options. Download LowBoy ServoNut technical specs here.

All these systems and more are up and running under full power, so you can see them in action if you stop by our booth (#4550). Or check back this week for more updates from the show.

Published in Bell-Everman News
Thursday, 18 September 2008 16:04

ServoBelt Linear Drive

Bell-Everman is announcing the availability of the innovative ServoBelt linear drive, which provides belt-drive economy with screw-drive servo responsiveness, accuracy and repeatability, and linear motor-drive speed.

At the heart of the technology is a static bonded lower belt that meshes with the upper dynamic belt so that the active belting under tension is only a few inches long. Servo tuning can have much higher gains than conventional belts, because stiffness is high and does not change throughout the travel.

Featuring anodized aluminum construction with stainless steel hardware along with high performance polyurethane/steel reinforced belt, ServoBelt reaches accelerations in excess of 4g at speeds to 5 meters/second. Out of the box accuracy is ±60µm with unidirectional repeatability to ±10µm, and bi-directional repeatability is an amazing ±40µm. Single motor supplies peak forces up to 880N and continuous forces to 300N.  All bearings are lubed-for-life, no maintenance required, and  16,000 and 20,000 CPR rotary encoders are standard.

Stiffness, accuracy, and repeatability are greatly enhanced by the patented ServoBelt design versus a standard belt-drive. A wide variety of chassis can be configured to virtually any length to suit your needs. Other benefits include:

  • Actuators and stages are configurable as multi-axis Cartesian and gantry robots.
  • Modules may be purchased as single axis elements for your OEM equipment or as a completely integrated multi-axis robot with amplifiers, cables and optional linear encoders.
  • Multiple carriages can be supplied for independent motions on the same axis, and dual motor carriages are available to double our standard linear forces.
  • Five motor choices in both NEMA 23 and NEMA 34 frame sizes for easy configuration, or units are available for mounting of third party motors.
  • All chassis are based on Bosch T-slot extrusions for ease of integration and a wide array of mounting hardware.
  • Unlimited length for large format applications

For a full product description, download the Tech Specs datasheet here.

Published in Bell-Everman News