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Wide-base air bearing stage supports precision heavy load positioning

06 January 2011

Aerotech has launched a wide base version of its ABL1500 air-bearing linear translation stage for high precision positioning of heavy and offset loads, or as a base for X-Y systems where maximum support is essential. The ABL1500WB has a nominal width of 400mm and is available in four travel options from 200mm to 500mm.

With a powerful dual linear motor drive and choice of standard precision or high accuracy linear encoders, the stage can support a direct load of 60 kg with submicron resolution and accuracy, and with speed/acceleration up to 2m/sec and 2g.

Aimed at high throughput manufacturing and test applications in semiconductor or nanotechnology production that require no-compromise performance for scanning or step and repeat positioning, the all aluminium stage benefits from Aerotech's unique active air preload system for certified straightness/flatness of under +/- 2.0 microns for the 500mm travel version (+/- 0.5 microns for the 200mm version).

A choice of standard or HALAR calibrated accuracy is available for each travel version and each encoder option. HALAR calibration includes an extensive interferometer based measurement procedure for improved accuracy and repeatability with the variation between the encoder position and the actual stage position placed as a look up table in the Aerotech motion controller. For the 500mm travel version, HALAR calibration yields a straight line accuracy of +/- 0.5 microns with a bi-directional repeatability of +/- 0.2 microns.

Aerotech's highly developed active air bearing design maintains equal pressure on both vertical and horizontal bearing surfaces and distributes the stage load over the maximum area, resulting in extremely high stage stiffness with superior offset load handling characteristics compared to other manufacturers air bearing designs. Furthermore, with brushless linear servo motors, non contacting encoders and air bearings, the stage has negligible friction and is specified for a 30,000 hour MTBF life with minimal maintenance requirements.

The dual BLMC series brushless linear servomotors provide exceptionally smooth backlash-free motion and a choice of Aerotech's PWM or linear technology amplifiers allows the user to select the best performance characteristics for the application. HP series, PWM amplifiers will suit micron level resolution and provide the highest speeds and acceleration performance but for ultimate position and speed control combined with nanometre level in-position stability Aerotech’s HL and ML series linear stage amplifiers are essential.

The ABL1500WB may be supplied individually or with other Aerotech positioning mechanics as a multi-axis engineered system complete with chain type cable management and orthogonality to within 2 arc-sec. Engineered systems enable OEMs and machine builders to realise their total automation needs and can include granite base, cabinet frames, special fixtures and a wide choice of advanced motion and machine controls that combine to improve development timescales,  production throughput and the final quality of the customers product.

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