Automate 2023

Linear Transport Systems Evolve

Linear Transport Systems Evolve

Jeff Johnson - Mechatronics Product Manager, Beckhoff Automation

When people think of industrial robots a few archetypal technologies come to mind - a five- or six-axis articulated robot arm or perhaps a 3D delta kinematic robot or even a mobile robot such as an AGV or AMR. With recent technological breakthroughs in linear transport technology, however, robot-style functions can now come in a dramatically different format that can truly be embedded into machines rather bolting on as a separate module. Modern linear transport systems move parts and products dynamically using wireless movers that are intelligently controlled around a track consisting of linear motor modules. This presentation will provide a variety of use cases where the use of a mechatronic linear transport system can offer key advantages over traditional robot formats. New breakthroughs allow engineers to design solutions for dynamic product handling, machining and measuring in parallel with product transport. Its strengths also assist with adapting production machines for rapidly changing production lots: 

  • Various motion sequences can be implemented on the mover itself, for example, to align a product.
  • The mover becomes a mobile handling system with electromotive grippers, lifting magnets, or vacuum suction cups that can pick up, transfer, and deposit products.
  • Heating or cooling of products during transport is just as possible as performing inline measurement.
  • The integrated data communication enables, for example, unique mover, toolbox and product identification as well as state and process monitoring on individual movers.
     

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