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T- and H-gantry for packing applications

The high-speed T-gantries and H-gantries from Festo are 30% faster than conventional handling systems. They combine the dynamic response of a linear motor handling system with the costs of a toothed belt handling solution. These two handling systems represent real alternatives to expensive and complex systems such as robots with delta kinematics and SCARAs.

The T-gantry achieves cycle-times of 670 ms. It is a pick-and-place unit, which can be used to distribute heat-sealed packages to boxes. The gantry has a speed of 4 m/s and achieves acceleration rates of 50 m/s² over the entire working area due to a design that connects 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. An added benefit is the fact that the motors do not need to be moved within the X/Y area with its two degrees of freedom. Reduced mass and two servo drives, which are mounted parallel to each other, facilitate fast, dynamic motion and result in less wear.

A 3D/planar surface 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 can only work in round or kidney-shaped areas. Other disadvantages of many delta robots are the high costs, the installation weight of about 150 kg and the large installation footprint. The H-gantry, on the other hand, can be scaled to any stroke, has a lower profile, a lower center of gravity and a simpler frame than high-speed delta robots. Its optimized acceleration and braking characteristics enable strokes of 2 m and 1 m along the X- and Y-axes, with an accuracy of 0,2 mm. The rotary/lifting module of the H-gantry 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 2 kg can thus be operated.

Both gantry technologies are controlled by a CANopen-connectable CMXR robotic controller. It combines mechanical systems as well as electric drive and control technology to form a complete kinematic system solution and coordinates the three-dimensional motion. The controller 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. The provider delivers the ready-to-install system solution directly to the machine, fully assembled and tested