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Hepcomotion’s sealed belt driven (SBD) linear actuator is being used to guide the extraction head of a swarf evacuation system on Cranfield University’s Ultra-Precision Structured Surfaces (UPS2) Department’s diamond lathe.

The lathe is used to cut highly accurate patterns into high-value copper drums or discs, which become the master patterns for the manufacture of optical films for advanced display screens and other optical films.

Swarf from the process had been compromising the quality of the turned surfaces so the introduction of an extraction system had become imperative.

Working with the UPS2 department, Glyndwr Innovations proposed a standalone system featuring the SBD linear actuator — a standard modular product from Hepcomotion designed for applications characterised by high loads and demanding duty cycles.

Key benefits of product application

  • The SBD was specified for its accuracy, rigidity and suitability for use in hostile environments.
  • Its sealing method provided an additional safeguard against micron-level swarf entering the moving parts.
  • The rigidity of the SBD allowed the team to achieve two-axis motion without the need for an additional structural member.
  • The stiffness of the SBD also contributes to the performance of the UPS2 diamond lathe, which is highly sensitive to vibration.
  • The SBD’s weight and size allowed the design team to overcome space limitations.

Designing a unique engineering principle and making it a commercial success is quite an accomplishment.  Developing that concept and embracing complementary technologies to the point where the business becomes a world leader in its field takes that achievement into a different league.  HepcoMotion has achieved both and in 2009 celebrates 40th year of trading.   

Today HepcoMotion is one of the world’s foremost innovators and manufacturers of linear motion technology.  And this can be attributed to the important tenet – continued investment in its people processes and products.  This has allowed the company to grow even at times of economical difficulty.  

Although its range of individual, linear motion products remains an important part of its business the growth area for HepcoMotion in recent years is in specials and assemblies.  Almost one fifth of its shop floor space is devoted to assembly and the company has invested heavily in flexible manufacturing to ensure that even last minute changes can be accommodated to customer specification.  

Constantly re-assessing its strengths against changing market demands continues to provide HepcoMotion with the momentum for business growth.  The culture of ongoing investment has certainly worked well throughout its first 40 years and will continue to underpin its business in the decades to come.

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