New designs for rotary and linear air bearing stages are moving these high-performance motion products into the mainstream. Scaled down into stages that look like everyday solutions, air bearings once viewed as a novelty only for the highest-end applications are becoming more cost-effective and easier to integrate into regular motion platforms.
John Lindell, product manager for Aerotech's Semiconductor Automation Group, says the basic technology drivers are the same as suppliers strive to limit axial, radial and tilt error motions while driving large rotational inertias. Utilizing new materials and refining the methods used to control motion are critical.
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New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.