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Aerotech’s Enhanced Throughput Module improves dynamic performance and throughput

09 March 2010

Sensor based measurement and GUI tracks unwanted machine frame movement and adjusts motion profile for improved dynamic performance.

Aerotech’s new ETM (Enhanced Throughput Module) combines sensor measured micro-displacement and a user friendly GUI that identifies and helps to reduce unwanted machine base and frame motion in high precision, high performance positioning systems. By optimising point to point move settling times and minimising dynamic position errors for high speed contouring, the ETM allows high and ultra-high resolution positioning systems to realise improved throughput and enhanced parts quality.

The ETM includes a very high resolution sensor that is simply mounted to the positioning system base or frame, in line with the axis of motion being corrected. When used with Aerotech’s Soloist™, Ensemble™ or A3200 controllers, the ETM software option works with the optional Dynamic Controls Toolbox to provide setup and monitoring screens that analyse unwanted frame motion during critical moves and plots position error vs. time to a GUI. The Dynamic Controls Toolbox includes a range of tools to improve move & settle times and contouring performance, greatly reducing the effects of machine frame motion. Measured improvement in settling times by as much as 20% has been recorded.

During moves in any positioning system, the machine frame responds with oscillations that can extend over hundreds of milliseconds. Fine positioning or high-dynamic motion requires that the oscillation subsides below the system resolution before completing the move and beginning the next motion. A consequence of this factor is that some systems never achieve desired accuracy if called to complete moves too quickly, or that throughput may be slowed considerably if the machine frame oscillations are excessive. Whilst the most appropriate solution to these problems may be an optimised frame and machine-base (typically an Aerotech designed granite structure), in many cases this is either not practical or is prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, for ultimate precision and improved throughput, even these structures can be improved with the ETM.

The ETM is available in two versions - a standard solution for high performance motion systems and an ultra high resolution version for the most demanding applications. The convenient low profile package size of the ETM, with a footprint of just 85 mm x 70 mm is easily built into new applications, and existing Aerotech motion systems across all current Aerotech controller platforms can also benefit from retrofitting to get faster production throughput or improve parts quality.

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