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Smart camera guides belt-driven gantry

20 December, 2011

On its stand at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, Festo was demonstrating a two-axis handling system controlled by an on-board “smart” camera which steers the electric axes at high speeds to reach a required position. The cantilever system uses toothed belt axes and avoids the need for relatively slow and expensive precision spindle axes to position a gripper, and for absolute displacement encoders to monitor its position.

Festo argues that the lower-cost belt axes are sufficient because precision is needed only at the gripping point, not along the entire travel path of an axis. A belt drive can operate over travel distances up to 8m at speeds of up to 10m/s, with a repetition accuracy of better than 0.04mm, Festo points out. A system based on spindle axes could not achieve these figures, it adds.

The SBOI-Q camera, with a built-in CoDeSys-programmed PLC with a CANopen master capability, is mounted on the front end of the handling system (as shown above). It takes complete control of the system, analysing the scene and calculating the correct positions for the two axes.

The cantilever handing systems are supplied assembled, tested and ready to install.  

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