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9 April, 2021

Electric belt-drive actuators `cost 65% less`

28 October, 2009

Festo has entered the low-cost electric actuator market with a toothed belt drive axis that costs 65% less than its EGC high-performance electromechanical axes. The new ELGR axis is aimed mainly at applications involving relatively short stroke lengths and low moments on the guide – such as pick-and-place tasks and transporting small masses. It can also be used for positioning, centring and pushing functions on conveyor belts, and for activating safety doors on machines.

Unlike conventional belt axes with full-length profiles, the new axes (above) are supported at either end, and rely on the rigidity of the steel bearing guides to ensure that the carriage moves in a straight line. The support ends and the carriage are made from the same asymmetric extruded aluminium profile, helping to reduce costs. As long as system designers keep applied torsion and bending forces within prescribed limits, the axes are capable of repeatable positioning accuracies of ±0.1mm and a service life of more than 5,000km of travel.

The axes are available with 35, 45 or 55mm wide profiles. The carriages can be equipped with sliding bushings or with ball bearings for higher speeds and loads. Various models offer stroke lengths from 50mm–1.5m and speeds up to 3m/s. The largest version can generate a feed force of up to 350N and accommodate payloads up to 30kg.

The ELGR axes are compatible with Festo`s SIES-M8 inductive sensors, which fit flush into slots in the support ends of the axis and provide end-position sensing by detecting the presence of a flag plate on the carriage. Each sensor has an LED status indicator, and because both sensor and target are external and visible at all times, adjustments are easy.

The axes are said to be simple to install, with a hollow drive pinion, combined with a elastomer motor coupling with an expanding shaft, providing a backlash-free connection. The motor (which can be from a third party) can be mounted at either end and on either side of the axis – users do not have to specify motor placement at the time of ordering, but can leave this decision until installation.

Options include: extra moving carriages to the left, right or either side of the standard carriage; extra-long carriages for applications with high load-bearing demands; and two carriages that work in opposite directions and can be used to open and close safety doors, or for large-format gripping applications.

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