Tuesday 25 May 2010

nano Motion Technology (nMT) range expands

Following closely behind the recent launch of single-axis and dual X-Y axis ANT series linear nanopositioning stages as a part of Aerotech's nano Motion Technology (nMT) range, two new rotary and two new vertical translation variants have now been introduced. With their direct-drive ANT series now covering 95 mm and 130 mm wide linear and vertical-linear translation stages in addition to rotary and goniometric angular positioners, users can now specify long travel range, multi-axis nanometre resolution mechanics for high throughput production and demanding test and research applications. The new stages perfectly complement the outstanding precision, nanometre level precision and high dynamic performance offered by the landmark nMT range.

The new ANT95-R and ANT130-R rotary stages comprise 95 mm and 130 mm diameter models with a positioning resolution of 0.1 arc sec and with a calibrated repeatability of just 2 arc sec. They both utilise Aerotech's specialised direct-drive motor technology for extremely smooth motion with in-position stability to within a staggering 0.5 arc sec. Both sizes are available in angular travel ranges of 20°, 180° or continuous 360° rotation and maximum speed and acceleration for the latter is up to 200 rpm/400 rad/sec2. Direct axial load capacity is 2 kg for the smaller diameter stage and 3kg for the larger stage. The error motion performance across both sizes of rotary stage (tilt, axial and radial) is in line with the outstanding overall specifications and suited to demanding high throughput manufacturing applications such as disk-drive fabrication, fibre optic device alignment, and MEMS sensor manufacture and test.

The nMT range has been further enhanced with the ANT95-L-Z and ANT130-L-Z series vertical stages which have nominal widths of 95 mm and 135 mm respectively and a calibrated positioning resolution of just 2 nanometres. Supplied complete with vertical mounting angle brackets and integral pneumatic counterbalance mechanisms, the ANT95-L-Z is available in vertical travel ranges of 25 mm and 50 mm whilst the wider ANT-130-L-Z offers 35 mm and 60 mm travel. Within each travel range a high performance –PLUS option is available which increases the repeatability by a factor of around 30%; for the ANT95-L-Z-PLUS this yields a bidirectional repeatability of +/- 75 nanometres.

The design of these new vertical translation stages is derived from the single axis and X-Y linear ANT stages with anti-creep cross roller bearings and a centre driven brushless/non-cogging linear servomotor for ultra smooth performance characteristics and in-position stability of just a few nanometres when driven by Aerotech's ultra low-noise linear stage amplifiers. Aerotech's specially developed 40 MHz linear encoder processing ensures such high resolution and together all of these features ensure a dynamic performance and precision which is much improved over traditional leadscrew driven stages or ceramic motor types. The overall speed and acceleration performance of the new vertical stages is up to 200 mm/sec and 1 g - which though not as high performing as their horizontal plane linear positioning counterparts at 500 mm/sec and 5 g - are still eminently suited to high throughput production and test applications.

All ANT series stages are protected with a durable black hardcoat finish, and exceptionally long working life and low maintenance is guaranteed by the non contacting direct-drive linear and rotary motor technology and non contacting optical encoders used in the design.

The exceptionally high performance specifications for the ANT range are in part attributed to the advanced motion control and drive technologies available as a part of complete motion system solutions from Aerotech. With all cabling included and with fully assembled stages that are thoroughly tested and calibrated in Aerotech's state of the art clean room facilities, complete systems can encompass custom designed machine frames with highly stable granite base and gantries to support customer supplied equipment such as lasers or metrology apparatus.

Aerotech's advanced motion controls include algorithms, data acquisition and analysis tools that counteract the minute disturbances that influence positioning stability and dynamic performance at sub micron levels and optimise overall performance.

Motion control options include the software only A3200 Automation Platform with DSP based Npaq drives or the Ensemble™ series rack or desktop system for multi-axis positioning systems, whilst the Soloist™ series is especially suited to demanding single axis applications. Servo drive technologies include PWM amplifier stages for highest dynamic performance in addition to wide bandwidth and ultra low noise linear servo amplifiers for best in-position stability/lowest jitter performance.

These motion controllers also feature advanced software commands that are designed to simplify interfacing with customers own systems such as the PSO command that synchronises laser firing with real time position. Comprehensive analogue and digital I/O and GUIs are also available along with a broad choice of diagnostic, set-up and programming tools are available for fast and trouble-free system commissioning. Supported programming languages include AeroBASICTM, Visual Basic® C, and C++ with optional advanced application support covering Windows® based ActiveX components and .NET class libraries.

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