Motion System Design

Less is more

Pneumatic-powered lift tables working with pick-and-place machines must be sufficiently rigid to produce reliable and repeatable staking operations. This ensures precise assembly and overall successful component manufacturing.

Suppose a pneumatically driven lift table raises and lowers an electromechanical slide that moves back-and-forth in the x-direction. If the table is limited by available space in the z-axis, a natural solution is to reduce its height by minimizing cylinder length. Today's cylinders, however, don't give up length easily. That is why one manufacturer believes it gained a competitive edge by finding a supplier who could modify its already compact cylinders. They trimmed piston length by 15% while incorporating four shafts into the extrusion as outboard guides for greater rigidity.

Not only is the new design more rigid, it handles moments better, allowing offset loads applied away from the actuator's center. It takes an accurate actuator to move the cross-slide (attached to the tooling plate) smoothly in a horizontal direction. An added benefit stems from integration. The redesigned mechanism utilizes the cylinder body and rear mounting plate, bringing lift table dimensions down to a compact 5 × 2 in.2

This month's handy information provided by Bill Kokum of Bimba Manufacturing Co., Monee, Ill. For more information, visit or email the editor at [email protected].

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