PLM SYSTEMS - Pneumostatic Linear Motion Systems with structure based on new generation materials

Basque Country, Spain Piedmont, Italy

Target of this research activity is the development of a completely new linear movement system based on the pneumostatic technology and a carbon composite axis structure.

The integration of 3 technologies, as pneumostatic, direct drives and composite material represents itself the innovation of this research project and at the moment we have no information about already existing equivalent applications.

The project is still under development and it has been characterized by 2 different research sectors (a) and (b) which are going to be joined together in the final prototype (c):

a) On one side Mager, supported by the Turin Politecnico has developed new air pad, performing a research about new materials (ceramics, carbon fiber), new component (fixing glue, fixing tape) and new processes (micro-drilling. Several air pad have been produced and tested in order to validate the mathematic models performed by Politecnico. Mager manufactures an innovative testing machine for air bearing. With this machine it is possible to evaluate the main air pad characteristics (load, stiffness, consumption) and the pressure distribution under the pad during the load phase.
Mager’s efforts were dedicated also to realize the air pad with micro drilling, producing nozzle with diameter lower than 0,2mm. Together with IDEC have been realized also test dedicated to evaluate the displacement of the carbon arm with different temperature and humidity condition.

b) The company Idec dedicated its effort in the development of sliding surface made in carbon fiber. The shape of the component, the dynamic stress, the studies of bending and torsion deformation were very difficult and absolutely new for this kind of application. Moreover, the geometric tolerance required for the final application were very narrow and not on line with the past production. Big effort has been dedicated to realize a process able to guarantee linearity and planarity of max 0,5mm on beam length. Idec has been supported by the Spanish research center Inasmet about the research of damping effect on carbon fiber depending on stresses, materials, fiber disposition. A long part of the research has been dedicated also in the integration of carbon fiber + different material (Titanium, Turcite, aluminum insert) during the manufacturing process. This manufacturing process is absolutely new and resulted very satisfactory.

c) The activities reported at point (a) and (b) permitted to the partner to realize, at the moment, one prototype of a X/Y system to be dedicated mainly for the manufacturing industry of testing equipment (ATEs Automated Test Equipments) for electronic SMD (Surface Mounted Devices) and PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) and components, and the manufacturing industry for the handling of semi-conductor devices (Pick&place equipments). Future target market has been also identified in guiding systems for laser applications.
The use of new air-bearing permitted the reduction of the sliding gap with benefit on the positioning precision. The carbon arm permitted a weight saving of about 20% compared to an aluminum one.

At the present situation, the first prototype has been assembled in order to verify the mechanical and static assembly.

Carbon arm and air pads are under construction to realize a second revised prototype to be dedicated to the dynamic evaluation.

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January 2017