Machine Design

Versatile drive speeds design


The ELGA-TB-G electric toothed-belt actuator reportedly frees OEMs from the cost and hassle of designing their own linear actuators. And its complementary engineering software ensures units are sized accurately and get up-and-running quickly, according to officials at Festo, Hauppauge, N. Y.

The linear axis uses plain bearings and generates feed forces up to 1,500 N, making it fit for basic handling tasks and applications with external guides. In such cases, it is reportedly more cost effective than electric axes with recirculating ball-bearing guides.

It works with all common stepper and servomotors, and a motor can mount on any of four sides. Motor position can also be changed at any time. Travel speeds range up to 5 m/sec and maximum acceleration is 50 m/sec2. The drives come in three sizes with working strokes to 8,500 mm.

The company’s PositioningDrives software helps engineers select and size actuators for a job. Users supply operating parameters such as start and stop positions, payload, and installation orientation, and the software suggests the best options. It is said to eliminate improper sizing and deliver more energy-efficient designs.

Using a common dimensioning process for the mechanical drive, power-transmission components, and electric motor prevents duplication of safety factors, which often results in overdimensioned drives that waste energy. Experience has shown that with consistent use of PositioningDrives, engineers can reduce energy costs by as much as 70%. A similar Festo software program helps users select and size pneumatic drives.

In addition, the Festo Configuration Tool (FCT) simplifies commissioning. The PC-based, menu-driven software lets users define and verify all motion-control parameters, and then download them to a controller via an RS-232 interface. Because the key characteristics, such as the type of actuator, moving loads, and bearing friction are known, virtually no manual system tuning is required.
FCT software also helps speed commissioning through diagnostic functions and an interactive “teach-in” operating mode that lets engineers control the handling axis and related components from a PC. FCT software can also configure a range of electric servomotors, controllers, linear-positioning axes, and vision systems.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.

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