Spectra Inc., a leading manufacturer of large ink-jet print heads for billboards and other commercial applications, called on Axis New England, a value- added reseller of motion control products and systems for high-tech applications, to design a special test stand. Spectra wanted to look at how lateral acceleration of the print head at high speeds affected ink flow and ink output from the print head. In addition, the test system would help verify the quality of scan printing at high speed and would support print design verification testing and design manufacturing testing in a scan-printing environment.
Axis New England (Woburn, MA) provided Spectra with a two-axis, gantry-style motion system consisting of components from four vendors. The solution includes a high-speed, 1,400-mm, travel X-axis for shuttling the print head, and a 300-mm, travel Y-axis for incrementing the print media. The system had to induce acceleration on a 4 kg print head up to 2g, reaching a velocity 2 m/sec in 200 mm. In addition, to meet the positional demands of ink jet printing, it needed a repeatability of 1 micron, an absolute accuracy of 10 micron, and absolutely no backlash.
To answer these stringent requirements, Axis specified Bayside Motion Group's Luge LM series linear motor on both the X and Y axes, with Renishaw 0.5-micron linear encoders for position feedback. The designers also specified a Newport RS series optical-grade, isolation-damping table.
And, for the central controller, Axis engineers specified a Delta Tau PMAC2A/PC104. It incorporates an 80 MHz 56300 series Motorola DSP to provide up to eight axes of motion.