25 Jul 2024


Mini-gantry brings precision positioning to desktops

Festo has launched a compact H-shaped gantry, which it describes as “the world’s first production, off-the-shelf handling gantry to feature kinematic technology”. The EXCM Mini H Handler uses two static motors that act directly on the load via a single recirculating tooth belt, thus making it much more efficient than traditional Cartesian positioning systems in which one motor must transport the weight of another.

The smallest versions of the gantries occupy the same area as an A4 sheet and, because both motors lie in the same plane, installation heights are also low. The gantries can therefore be used for desktop applications, such as those found in electronic and light assembly operations. Because neither motor moves, no energy chains are needed, eliminating drag and cable failure – usually the biggest causes of downtime.

Festo says that the new gantries are “attractively priced”, while fast throughputs, high energy efficiency and low downtime combine to cut running and lifetime costs.

By sharing the load between two motors, the gantries can achieve positioning speeds of up to 0.5m/s with low vibration levels. A closed-loop servo controller can drive an end-effector rapidly and accurately to any X-Y position.

There are two versions of the gantries: the basic EXCM-10 model; and the EXCM-30, which supports payloads of up to 3kg, and offers a maximum acceleration of 10m/s2, and a repetition accuracy of ±0.05mm with ball-bearing guidance. The gantries are available with six X-axis stroke lengths up to 700mm, and Y-axis strokes of up to 360mm.

The EXCM’s controller can be driven from any PLC or PC using digital I/O, Ethernet TCP/IP or CANbus. Users can program the X and Y co-ordinates, vector speed, acceleration and deceleration. A free configuration tool allows sequences of up to 32 positioning steps to be set up and downloaded to a lookup table stored in the controller.

“The EXCM Mini Handlers are incredibly easy to integrate,” says Nigel Dawson, product manager with Festo in the UK. “We supply the systems fully assembled and tested, leaving users free to focus on their core profit-generating activities rather than automation design details. With a single part number, users can benefit from our simple procurement process and reduce their process costs.”