Chieftek Precision USA is a leading supplier to the medical industry — providing innovative motion components with German engineering and quality, Taiwanese flexibility, and prompt delivery service with stock in California. Leading technologies from cpc include linear stages, linear encoders, servo drives in flexible formats, linear slides, direct-drive rotary tables, and linear motors. Here are some notes on the latest from cpc.
Pre-integrated linear stages (and predesigned motion systems in general) continue to see rising use. That’s in part medical-device and laboratory-automation OEMs in particular are looking to focus on their primary competencies … and outsource motion engineering to get more complete automation solutions out of the box. To satisfy this demand, Chieftek products include a compact linear motor stage (CLS), compact linear motor stage (CLMS), and moving-magnet linear stage (MMLS).
Unlike linear actuators that generally have lighter frames and employ a variety of motor-driven mechanisms, linear stages include a solid flat base for rigidity … and typically employ either motor-driven ballscrews or linear motors.
Some servo drives include unprecedented connectivity options to fully leverage motor capabilities. Case in point: The Chieftek TC1-D servodrive and stock 8-A and 20-A (1.5 kW and 5 kW) TC-1 Series drives complement linear-motor applications; our TCB-1B Series drive supports all standard encoder formats with connectivity and functionality for sin/cos, resolver, Tamagawa Seiki, Nikon, Mitutoyo, EnDat, and bi-directional synchronous serial interface (BiSS) feedback. The inclusion of both sin/cos and resolver support is unique.
The compact single-axis TC1-D dc drive runs on 48 V with a continuous output of 30 A; target applications include electric vehicles, robot arms, and direct integration onto linear stages for embedded control. The servo drive has all the same encoder features of our TC1-B drive … far more than typical offerings on the market today (with limited digital-feedback options). The drive relies on a single microcontroller with a compact 2 x 2 in. board. Ultimately the goal is to offer the drive as naked core modules to integrate into users’ motherboards; as units for use with a breakout board using JST connectors (to integrate onto robot arms); and a more traditional version with a “bookshelf” format to go into control cabinets.
Direct measurement of linear-motion output with linear encoders has become indispensable for medical and laboratory applications. Here, Chieftek offers linear encoders based on magnetic operation to (among other things) maintain design ruggedness and precision.
Customizable linear-slide technologies are core to next-generation medical machines and electronics-manufacturing facilities. In fact, Chieftek’s roots are this area, as our first products were miniature linear guides. Today, these precision offerings continue to lead in the medical industry. Besides the miniature slides, other Chieftek offerings include standard and wide four-row ball-bearing linear guides; four-row roller-type linear guides; and ST miniature stroke slides with two rows of balls and a gothic ball track with for a 45° contact angle to deliver load capacity comparable to that of a mono block.
Direct-drive rotary tables and torque motors are helping to improve inspection and general positioning tasks. Our DD Motor is a newer offering in this area.
Linear motors are also proliferating where other linear-actuation technologies once dominated. Here, Chieftek offerings include iron-core as well as ironless linear motors with specialized Y-beam forcer coils to shed heat and boost overall performance.
Migration towards ever-better precision is spurring use of these linear motors in medical automation. The direct-drive nature of these motors makes for quick and precise moves as well as slow and steady strokes where needed.
More specifically, linear motors have longer life than mechanical linear actuators in short-stroke applications, because they minimize wear, shock, and fatigue issues. In contrast, we’ve seen ballscrews and leadscrews on short-stroke axes that only last a year before failure.
On the opposite end of the spectrum (on long-stroke designs) linear motors also excel; in fact, precision linear motors for industrial applications have essentially unlimited stroke lengths. That’s in contrast with most mechanical devices such as leadscrews, which have speed limits due to their tendency to whip or thrash beyond a given value. No wonder linear motors are increasingly applied on long-stoke axes where such screws or rack-and-pinion sets might get used despite limitations — on robotic seventh-axis RTUs, for example. Here, linear-motor designs can be built and installed in 1-m sections — a level of modularity impossible with leadscrews.
Direct-drive positioning with linear motors also allows testing and other processes to occur directly on moving lines. That means overall throughput can increase. Such operations leverage the sub-micron positioning accuracy of linear-motor-based designs.
For more information, visit chieftek.com.
Sponsored content by Chieftek Precision USA