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Six-axis micro-positioning without the programming headaches

01 April 2010

Newport Spectra Physics has developed a high-performance Hexapod 6-axis micro-positioning system and will demonstrate the new rig at this year’s Machine Building & Automation exhibition, part of the Advanced Manufacturing event (NEC, April 27 and 28).

Driven by six industry-proven, high performance dc servo motor driven LTA actuators that have been enhanced to specifically match requirements, the Hexapod features an innovative design of anti-friction coated spherical joints to provide more than five-times higher rigidity and twice the load capacity of other hexapods of a similar size.

The Hexapod’s electronic controller is a special version of the Newport XPS advanced multi-axis controller, which accurately masters the synchronised transformations from cartesian input co-ordinates to the motion of the Hexapod legs. In addition, the XPS also provides advanced features including instrument grade I/Os, hardware-based input triggers, event triggers, high-speed on-the-fly data acquisition, fast TCP/IP communication, and integrated TCL programming language for on-board processes. All these features improve accuracy and throughput, and make the programmer’s life a lot easier!

The powerful controller also provides a freely definable ‘virtual pivot point’ as a standard feature and offers much more in relocating not only the pivot point, but the entire co-ordinate system. In addition, two user-definable co-ordinate systems are provided, called tool (moves with the Hexapod) and work (stationary co-ordinate systems).

Incremental displacements are possible in either one of these systems in user-friendly cartesian co-ordinates, and positions can be easily calculated from one system to the other by a function call. Such functionality provides a new way of mastering Hexapod motions without the need for complex external co-ordinate transformations.

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