Setting the small stage

Parker Hannifin EME has launched a series of miniature linear servo motor driven positioning stages that have a height of just 25mm and a width of 80mm.

Known as the MX80L series, these positioners are completely self-contained, incorporating a novel design of linear servo motor and a precision optical encoder.

Their low profile enables linear servo motors to be applied to space-critical applications that were previously outside the domain of this type of technology. Typically, these include ultra-precise, sub-micron motion control in the photonics, biomedical and semiconductor development and manufacturing industries.

The linear servo motor at the heart of the MX80L is a 3-phase brushless unit. Unlike competitive stages based on piezo-electric motor technology, the MX80L series is capable of generating a peak force of up to 24N and operates with industry-standard servo amplifiers and controllers without the need for software ‘patches’ or special control algorithms.

Parker’s latest ViX250 intelligent servo drive provides a compact all-digital control companion for the MX80L, enabling designers to configure multi-axis systems.

MX80L series linear motor stages are available with a choice of 25, 50, 100 and 150mm travel lengths, and have a normal load capacity of 8kg. The built-in optical encoder provides sub-micron resolution, repeatability and accuracy; it offers 6 selectable resolutions, spanning 10 nanometres to 5 microns.

Depending upon the chosen configuration, the stages are capable of positioning velocities as high as 2 metres/second, and acceleration rates of up to 5G. All MX80L series linear motor stages are equipped with precision-ground cross-roller bearings to provide smooth and precise linear translation, and feature a ‘zero cage creep’ design optimised for high acceleration applications.

Parker offers two performance grades of the MX80L. The standard grade version features an aluminium body and carriage, and provides a positioning accuracy of 12 microns, with a repeatability of ±0.8 microns. The precision grade version has a steel body and carriage for even greater flatness and straightness, uses precision ground mounting surfaces and bearing ways, and is factory laser tested and supplied with a linear slope correction value for optimum results. It is capable of providing a positioning accuracy of 3 microns, with a repeatability of ±0.4 microns.

Parker’s MX80L series feature a master reference surface, which enables users to align automation processes by using the travel axis as the actual datum. Precision dowel holes facilitate the mounting of both the payload and the motor stage itself. Built-in optical travel limit and home sensors are provided as standard, and are adjustable over the entire travel range of the stage.

Furthermore, although there are no moving cables within MX80L series tables – each table is equipped with a length of hi-flex cabling, for use in multi-axis applications.

All MX80L series linear motor stages are rated for 100% duty cycle.

Both the standard and precision grade versions of the stages are supplied with a low lustre black surface finish, which minimises light reflection in low light optical applications. A low ESD electroless nickel coating, which provides a low resistance path to ground from all surfaces of the MX80L, is available as an option. Either surface finish may be combined with the option for cleanroom preparation, providing solutions for a wide range of application environments.

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