Macron Dynamics Inc., a manufacturer of linear actuators and multi-axis automation systems, has introduced a patent-pending arresting system designed to promote safer use of belt driven actuators in vertical automation applications.
Macron’s cam lock arresting wedge system™, or CLAWS™, is a U.S. patent-pending arresting system that prevents cart freefall in the event of belt breakage. The system is now an available option on all vertical applications using Macron belt driven actuators and can be retrofitted to most existing vertically-oriented actuators. The system is not designed for use in horizontal applications.
“There is a perception that belt drives cannot be used in vertical motion applications,” said Chris Robinson, director of engineering at Macron. “We’re finding this misconception is even being taught to engineering students at the university level. This notion is false.”
Macron has been using belt driven actuators in vertical applications for more than 20 years. During that time, in the rare instance of belt breakage, the cause almost always is directly related to misuse of the system, overloading of the cart, or improper maintenance of the system or belt.
“One of the reasons CLAWS™ was developed, was to alleviate any safety concerns regarding the use of belt driven actuators in vertical automation applications,” said Tony Cirone, president at Macron. “With that concern addressed, we believe belt drives offer many advantages over alternative technologies such as screw, chain, hydraulic, and pneumatic motion products and should be considered more widely for vertical applications.”
According to Macron, the primary advantages of belt driven linear actuators are speed and long travel lengths (or height). Both of these attributes introduce added levels of performance, and options for design and system configurations in vertical applications that were limited before Macron’s arresting system.
The patent-pending Macron’s CLAWS™ system uses a tough carbon fiber impregnated Poly Chain® toothed belt. The belt is housed in the actuator’s aluminum beam t-slot, and coupled with a wedge device which integrates with the tension mechanism under the cart. In the event of a belt failure, the wedge device immediately engages the Poly Chain®, preventing the cart and load from falling. Belt failure simulations have been successfully tested with loads of 200 lbs. on a Macron MSA-14S platform.
Macron Dynamics is now offering demonstrations of CLAWS™ upon request.