Electromechanical axes based on a new profile said to provide unprecedented rigidity, and "exceptional" feed force, speed, acceleration and torque resistance have been launched by Festo. It is predicted that the EGC axes - which include models with feed forces up to 3kN, speeds up to 5m/s, and stroke lengths up to 8.5 m - will open up new applications for high-performance single- and multi-axis motion control.
The axes (above) are said to deliver a performance gain of 100-200% over Festo´s previous generation, but to cost 10% less. In many cases, it will be possible to use a smaller axis and motor than was needed before.
The low-mass axis bodies are made from extruded aluminium with a computer-optimised cross-section (below), said to provide unprecedented rigidity and load bearing. The stainless-steel guide rails are mounted externally, allowing the carriage to accept large cantilever and offset loads that apply high moments of torque. The family includes both toothed belt and ballscrew versions that can accommodate carriage twisting moments of up to 185 Nm.
The toothed belt versions are available with profile widths from 50-185mm, and stroke lengths of up to 8.5m. They can generate feed forces up to 2.5kN and can handle speeds up to 5m/s and acceleration rates up to 50m/s2. The external guide arrangement allows small belt pulleys to be used, often avoiding the need for a gearbox. The belts can be replaced without dismantling the axis, and the motor can be mounted at either end and on either side of the axis, so users do not have to specify the motor position when ordering an axis.
The ballscrew versions are especially suitable for short cycle time applications needing high feed forces and accurate and repeatable positioning. They are available with 70-185mm wide profiles and stroke lengths up to 3m. They can generate feed forces up to 3kN, and can provide positioning accuracies of ±20 microns.
Festo has also launched a series of flush-fitting inductive position sensors for use with the EGC axes. Rather than looking "into" the actuator to detect embedded magnets, they sense the presence of a flag plate on the moving carriage. This makes them easy to install.
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