Actuators for High-Speed Automation and Testing - Controlling Force and Position Simultaneously with Extreme Precision

Modern electronic interfaces found in equipment as diverse as medical apparatus and automobiles provide users with an abundance of buttons and touch surfaces. While end users demand continuous improvements in terms of feel and feedback, manufacturers have to find faster ways to assemble these devices and test their performance, under different conditions, over many cycles. A wide range of applications can benefit from a new generation of fast actuation systems integrated with precise metrology for accurate control of both position and force. These include:

  • Fast production testing of haptic and touch- and force-sensitive components
  • Delicate yet high-speed automated assembly procedures where position versus force is essential
  • Highly accurate pick-and-place applications of sensitive componentry at high speeds
  • Testing of physical characteristics such as damping, compliance, or other material parameters

V-273 PIMag® Voice Coil Linear Actuator: Cost-Effective With High Dynamics (Image: PI)

V-273 PIMag® Voice Coil Linear Actuator: Cost-Effective With High Dynamics (Image: PI)

System integrators and OEMs have been searching for an adaptable, easy to control, and integrated solution. Key issues to be addressed are the demand for uptime and high throughput, millisecond responsiveness together with sensitivities to the milli-Newton and sub-micron level along with a controller that quickly detects slight force and position changes and responds in real time, before a component is damaged. Switching between position and force mode should be smooth and transparent, without loss of position information.

Voice Coil Linear Motor Operating Principle Explained

PI’s innovative new compact C-413 PIMag™ Controller and V-273 PIMag™ Voice Coil Linear Actuator not only provide ultra precision position control with up to 250 mm/sec speeds, but also offer a revolutionary combination of capabilities for high-throughput generation of precision positioning and forces.

High-speed TCP/IP Ethernet and USB 2 interfaces and high-speed interfaces including real-time DIO are available. While a 100 nm position encoder is incorporated into the mechanism a force sensor with 5 mN (Milli-Newton, equivalent to 0.5 g force) resolution is optional. Combined force-and-position control is offered by the C-413 controller as it enables quick force or position control. In addition, an integrated data recorder offers sub-sub-millisecond acquisition for retrieval at a later time, or the standard DIO interface can be programmed and offers triggering of motions or external equipment based on increment or position.

Watch “Automation Actuator, Force & Position Control, Voice Coil with Real Time DIO Interface” video

PI’s extensive software including PI MikroMove (a comprehensive Windows GUI) and comprehensive dynamic libraries for OS X, Linux, and Windows supports the C-413 motion controller. On the other hand, as this unit utilizes the same General Command Set similar to all PI controllers, users can communicate with it through simple ASCII strings– suitable for legacy automation controllers that are usually found on factory floors. Broad and deep support for LabVIEW is offered as well as support for National Instruments’ CompactRIO Programmable Automation Controllers. The system is readily controlled either through its standard TTL DIO interface or the available 24V EMI-resistant DIO interface, appropriate for the noisiest factory floors. An integrated ground path to the tip can be configured, if required.

At the 2015 Photonics West / BIOS conference in San Francisco, the new automation system was demonstrated where it ran all week producing almost a quarter million milli-Newton-precision force/position transitions with speeds to 250 mm/seconds, with informative graphical application showing real time data related to force/position.

Fast Automation Actuators for Test & Assembly video>

Shown above is a short close-up video of the force-actuator tip; it features a 120 fps segment that clearly shows the smooth, fast, force-controlled motions of this extraordinary new actuator as it gently affects a glass substrate, with each step ending with the precisely calibrated force set-point.

V-273 is a part of a rapidly-growing range of catalog and custom linear motor solutions providing different travels and force capabilities. It is available in a number of variations (force, stroke). Customers can contact one of PI’s global offices for expert consultation, responsive support, and cost-effective recommendations for their applications.

Voice Coils and Air Bearings

Voice coil drives can be used with flexures guides, air bearings, and mechanical bearings.

Air bearing scanning stage performing an 8mm pp scan at 5 Hz while keeping the tracking error was under +/-1µm (Image: PI)

Air bearing scanning stage performing an 8mm pp scan at 5 Hz while keeping the tracking error was under +/-1µm (Image: PI)

Application example of V-273 automation actuators in a delta robot for fast pick and place processes. (Image: PI)

Application example of V-273 automation actuators in a delta robot for fast pick and place processes. (Image: PI)

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co KG - Worldwide.

For more information on this source, please visit Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co KG - Worldwide.

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