T o create motion within a vacuum chamber, typical rotary feedthrough devices use a ferrofluid or O-ring to seal the shaft, or a magnetic feed-through device. But ferrofluids are expensive and complicated, O-rings wear out, and magnetic couplings don't provide a positive connection, according to Harmonic Drive Technologies Senior Applications Engineer Alan Clements.
In contrast, ChamberLink™combines a rotary feedthrough and precise harmonic drive servo actuator in one stainless steel device that seamlessly integrates the harmonic drive with the chamber wall, keeping the motor and input elements on the chamber's ambient side and the geared output shaft on the vacuum side. Because the device has no chamber-wall penetrating shafts that require seals, vacuum leakage is averted. "It reduces particle count, downtime, and maintenance costs," says Clements, "because there are no seals to wear out and fail.
Moreover, vacuum is not compromised even if the motor is removed." Two new sizes, ChamberLink 14 and ChamberLink 32, recently became available. Size 14 is rated at 40 inch-lbs continuous torque at 70-rpm output speed and can provide accurate positioning for wafers and small cassettes in load lock, transfer, and process chambers. The size 32 unit, rated at 500 inch-lbs continuous torque, is recommended for turning indexing-platens operating in vacuum process chambers.
I don't quite understand. Vacuum feedthroughs to transmit rotary motion can already be easily accomplished by nutation of an angled flexible plate; it creates a positive engagement coupling with no seals, o-rings, magnets or ferrofluids. It's an old idea that's been around for a long time. So what is new about this product?
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.