Friday, August 17, 2012

New heavy duty linear axis gives accurate positioning

Festo has launched a new cost-effective linear drive which has the highest load capacity for its size in the market. The EGC-HD is a reliable heavy duty axis, which is easy to install and enables machine builders and OEMs to make significant cost savings.

Made from aluminium, EGC-HD has high rigidity and strength to support heavy loads of up to 1300kg and up to 1450Nm torque. The EGC-HD is based on the proven technology of Festo’s EGC linear axis to deliver exceptional performance over a long service life and is ideal for use when heavy loads have to be moved accurately, for example on palletising, transfer lines and pick and place applications.

The ECG-HD linear drive features two guide rails and is available with a toothed belt or a ball screw drive in three widths – 125mm, 160mm and 220mm – giving stroke lengths of up to 5000mm for the toothed belt version and 2400mm for the ball screw option.

Previously, users would have to specify two separate axes, which would need to be carefully aligned, and would require a coupling shaft. However, now users need only use one EGC-HD axis, which provides significant cost savings as it is much quicker to install and there is no need for an additional coupling shaft.

The EGC-HD has been designed with high feed forces and speeds in mind. The belt drive version can move at velocities of up to 5m/s and has an accuracy of 100µm, and the ball screw version can move at velocities of up to 1.5m/s with a high accuracy of 20µm. The ball screw version is available in a choice of pitches from 10mm to 25mm and features an innovative ball screw support system, meaning that the drive can operate reliably at full rotational speed, regardless of the stroke length.

The axis has a flexible motor mounting and is easy to install as machine builders don’t need to specify the position of the motor at ordering stage. The motor can be freely mounted on any of the four corners, and can be changed at any time.

The linear axis can be simply mounted from the back or sides with slot nuts and it has the option for over travel inductive sensors which are flush mounted. Users can simply bolt the axis on to the machine and it is ready to run.

“Market demand was for a more cost-effective solution that would handle higher loads,” says Nigel Dawson, handling & positioning product manager at Festo. “The new EGC-HD has been optimised for high force feeds, so it is capable of accurately handling heavy weights. It delivers excellent performance while being incredibly economical and it is easy to install, design-in and order.”

A simple way to size the axis is using Festo’s free Positioning Drives software. Customers simply download the software from the Festo website, enter the load and speed requirements and the software calculates the size of all products including drives, motors and gearbox in seconds. Axes are custom built and delivered in 7-10 working days.

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