Motion Control & Drives


Intelligent modular system for quick solutions

January 2023 Motion Control & Drives

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the pharmaceutical industry has been under pressure to realise the highest possible levels of automation. This requires a number of new analysis and testing devices, production lines as well as filling and packaging systems. Miniaturised linear motor axes and modules for single-axis or multi-axis applications open new possibilities. Designed to be modular, they are suitable for a wide range of tasks in the pharmaceutical industry. They are powered by Faulhaber linear motors.

Engineers from Jung Antriebstechnik Automation (JA2) responded to a need in the pharmaceutical industry for small but functional automation solutions with the development of a new modular mechatronic system called QuickLab. With the small QM02 linear motor modules for up to 160 mm stroke and the QA02 linear motor axes for up to 220 mm stroke , short-stroke applications can be realised with high dynamics and accuracy. Through the mechanical construction and precision guides in combination with two ball carriages, the modules and axes are very rigid and offer high repeatability during positioning of ±50 μm in spite of their lightweight construction and low moving mass. Depending on the load, travel speeds up to 3 m/s and acceleration up to 50 m/s² are possible. The axes and modules can be individually combined with one another. In this way, pick-and-place applications can be realised, as can automatic solutions for separating, grouping, testing or plating samples or other sensitive products.

With a width of 22 mm, QuickLab perfectly covers the need for miniaturised single- and multi-axis handling systems. Accessories such as weight force compensation, magnetic holding brakes, external position sensors and adapter plates are also available.

High dynamics and precision

“The linear motors are the heart of our modular automation system and the requirements placed on them are very high,” explains JA² managing director, Wilhelm Jung. “The motors must operate highly dynamically, be precisely controllable and have suitable dimensions. Faulhaber linear motors are ideal with their innovative functional principle.

The LM2070 DC linear drives are not constructed in the normal way. Instead, the forcer rod is guided within a 3-phase self-supporting coil. “This design produces an exceptionally good relationship between linear force and current and high dynamics. In addition, there are no cogging torques, thereby making the linear motors ideal for use in our modular QuickLab system,” adds Jung.

Maximum performance in the smallest dimensions

The LM2070 linear motors are available with stroke lengths from 40 to 220 mm. Despite the compact stator dimensions of 20 x 20 x 70 mm, the small linear DC servomotor has impressive mechanical performance indicators. The continuous force is 9,2 N and up to 28 N of peak force is available. The robust plain bearing of the forcer rod easily handles the high speeds of up to 3 m/s. At the same time, the miniature powerhouse can be very precisely controlled. The integrated Hall sensors already ensure an absolute positioning accuracy of ±0,1 mm and a repeatability of ±50 μm. With an optional external sensor, these figures can be improved to ±0,01 mm and a repeatability of ±1 μm. On top of this comes practically maintenance-free operation as the motor has no moving wear parts. Moreover, the linear drive operates nearly noise-free.

Trailing-chain cable connection

An important point for handling systems is the connection technology. The linear motors are normally delivered with a maximum 30 cm long cable connection. In automation systems, however, the switch cabinet is usually some distance from the actual drive. “The distance between the motor and the controller in a separate switch cabinet can be more than 20 metres,” says Jung. With the QuickLab modular system, there is therefore a special, multi-shielded cable that transfers the motor power and the position sensor signal between motor and controller interference-free over up to 30 metres. It is fastened with a cover directly to the motor with strain relief, can be plugged in and is also designed for use with cable chains for mobile use.

The mechatronic kit tailor-made for laboratory automation has already proven itself in practical use. “Many manufacturers and suppliers of analysis accessories today rely on our systems. Demand is currently enormous and includes other areas such as optics and testing technology,” confirms Jung.


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