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Festo Corporation: Gantry package-handling systems

Festo’s new high-speed T-gantry and H-gantry packaging handling systems provide packing cycle times of 670 milliseconds and are said to be 30% faster than conventional handling systems.

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The system combines a linear motor handling system with a toothed belt handling solution to provide alternatives to expensive and complex robot systems such as robots with delta kinematics and SCARAs. Festo delivers the systems directly to the machine, ready to install and adapted to all required machine interfaces.

The high-speed T-gantry can easily achieve cycle times of 670 milliseconds. It is a high-speed pick and place unit with a higher dynamic response than a conventional linear gantry and can be scaled to any stroke. The gantry has a speed of 4 m/s and achieves acceleration rates of 50 m/s² over the entire working area by connecting both toothed belt axes to the cross member with a single rotating toothed belt around the drive shaft. The belt is driven by two servo motors EMMS. The motors do not need to be moved within the X/Y.  Reduced mass and two servo drives, which are mounted parallel to each other, facilitate fast, dynamic motion and result in less wear.

The 3D/planar surface H-gantry distributes packaged foodstuffs such as small chocolate bars to boxes. It covers a rectangular working area that is significantly larger than that of robot systems with delta kinematics, which work in round or kidney-shaped areas. The high-speed H-gantry can be scaled to any stroke, has a very low profile, a low centre of gravity, and a simple frame.  Its optimized acceleration and braking characteristics enable strokes of two meters and one meter along the X- and Y-axes, with an accuracy of 0.2 mm. The rotary/lifting module consists of a hollow shaft with integrated energy through-feed for the front-end module and forms the Z-axis to which the gripper unit is attached. The rotary/lifting module accelerates to a speed of 1.5 m/s at a rate of 20 m/s². Vacuum and mechanical grippers with work piece loads ranging from zero to two kilograms can thus be operated.

The handling system is based on the robotic controller CMXR, combining mechanical systems as well as electric drive and control technology. The robotic controller CMXR interpolates and positions all the axes that can trace contours on a center line. Contour switching points can be set and used for accurate activation of process equipment. The CMXR also acts as an interface to master controllers on the one hand and to the motor controllers of the servo axes and the valve terminals on the other. The controller also supports the integration of vision systems such as the intelligent Compact Vision System SBO..-Q from Festo. Applications involving moving objects can also be realized with the help of the vision system and the available conveyor systems.

The company delivers the ready-to-install system solution directly to the machine, fully assembled and tested. All pertinent engineering data and circuit diagrams are also supplied, together with a comprehensive operating and fixed-price guarantee. Customers in the packaging technology sector receive not only hardware in the form of a ready-to-install subsystem, but also a complete value creation package. Complete solutions reduce the workload for technical staff, keep engineering expenses to a minimum, simplify the procurement process, and reduce process costs.

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