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Festo has launched an electric bi-parting drive for applications including centring items on a conveyor system and opening and closing safety doors on processing machines.

The new ELGG bi-parting drive, also suitable for use in large-format gripping equipment, provides an adaptable means of securing the simultaneous movement of two carriages – in opposite directions – on the same linear axis.

The bi-parting drive has a pair of bearing guides supporting two identical carriages, driven by a toothed belt attached to the top of one carriage and the bottom of the other.

This arrangement causes the carriages to move simultaneously – either away from or towards the centre line of the axis.

The ELGG follows the design concept of another low-cost Festo electric actuator, by dispensing with the type of full-length profile used by conventional toothed belt axes.

Instead, it relies on the rigidity of steel bearing guides to ensure the straight line movement of the carriages.

The bearing guides are supported at either end and the ELGG also offers the option of a centre support, resulting in a rigid and robust structure, according to the company.

The supports and the carriages are all constructed from the same extruded aluminium profile to help minimise cost and employ an asymmetric extrusion geometry to provide the necessary offset.

ELGG drives offer a choice of 35mm-, 45mm- and 55mm-wide profiles, with maximum standard stroke lengths – per carriage – of 400mm, 500mm and 750mm respectively.

Longer stroke lengths are available to special order.

The moving carriages can be equipped with sliding bushings or with re-circulating ball bearing guides for higher speeds and loads.

Depending on the configuration, all models are capable of speeds as high as 3m/sec and can provide repeatable positioning accuracies to within +/-100 microns.

They also have a very long in-service life – in excess of 5,000km of travel.

The feed force available from bi-parting drives is averaged between the two carriages.

This means that if one carriage is subject to zero load, for example when centring an item on a conveyor system, the other carriage can provide the full feed force, making this a cost-effective form of actuator for this type of application.

The maximum (total) feed force available from the 35mm, 45mm and 55mm models is 50N, 100N and 350N respectively.

Festo’s ELGG bi-parting drives provide a variety of configuration options and accessories to maximise application flexibility and to help speed design-in.

Both sides of the axis can be equipped with a second standard-length or extended-length carriage to accommodate loads with relatively high twisting or turning moments.

Festo also offers a passive guiding axis variant, known as the ELFR, which comprises an ELGG drive but without a belt or pinions; this can be used alongside an ELGG drive to further increase system rigidity and resistance to torsional loads.

End-position sensing on ELGG drives is accomplished using Festo’s latest SIES-8M inductive sensors.

The sensors fit flush within slots in the centre and end supports of the axis and detect the presence of flag plates on the moving carriages.

Each sensor incorporates a built-in LED status indicator; and because the sensors and targets are external to the drive and clearly visible, they are simple to adjust for commissioning purposes.

ELGG bi-parting drives are fully compatible with the company’s range of stepper and servo motors and controllers and can also be used with third-party motors.

The motor can be mounted at either end and on either side of the axis.

Installation is further simplified by a hollow drive pinion and an elastomer motor coupling with an expanding shaft, which provides a backlash-free connection.

Festo also produces a range of flanges and adaptor plates for the ELGG, and the drive is mechanically compatible with the company’s modular multi-axis system.

About Festo

Festo manufactures pneumatic and electrical components and systems to support customers with factory and process automation. The company has an annual turnover in excess of 1.7 billion Euro, employs 12,800 people around the world and has facilities in 176 countries around the world. Festo operates an aggressive R&D programme investing 7.5% of sales annually, holds over 2,800 worldwide patents, introduces about 100 innovative new products to the market every year and has a product range of over 30,000. For more information about the company’s products and services, please visit our website.  

About Festo Didactic

Festo Didactic, the training and consultancy division of Festo, supports organisations seeking to develop competencies in sales & service, leadership, employee engagement, change management, team-working, coaching, business planning, production processes and automation technology. The division has particular expertise in working with manufacturing and engineering businesses. It has a full time workforce of over 200 and operates in 70 countries worldwide. Each year, it manages more than 230 consultancy projects and runs more than 2,900 open courses in 26 languages, involving some 42,000 participants. For more information about Festo Didactic, please visit the Festo website and follow the link.

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