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Turboplane

Finally!
What you have been waiting for all those years is now here.

TurboPlanere Laser robots of the future

  • The fast reactions of linear motors are undisputed.
  • However, speed is not everything.
  • Cost-effectiveness is what really matters.
  • TurboPlane's planar motor is about as cost-effective as you can get.

Non contacting laser materials processing is a prime example of what TurboPlane can do, since beam-guidance systems equipped with our TurboPlane two-dimensional drives require virtually no maintenance and are easy to use, compactly designed, and rugged, consist of few parts, and are easily assembled.

Major Features:

  • Large travels combined with low moving masses.
  • Virtually nonwearing, require virtually no maintenance, simple to use, and highly reliable.
  • Versatile, adaptable to suit virtually any application.
  • Multifunctional, e.g., marking lasers and/or finished-parts handling mechanisms may be readily added.
  • Reasonably high translation rates and accelerations, without the accompanying disadvantages or sacrificing utility.
  • Extremely accurate positioning, thanks to their position-monitoring systems.
  • Workspaces may be readily changed without readjusting motor drive powers.
  • Throughput may be doubled by adding a second, independent, set of focusing optics.
  • Readily adapted to processing tubing or three-dimensional workpieces.
  • Allow using any and all types of workpiece transport and clamping mechanisms.
  • Provides constant beam-path lengths when used with CO2?lasers.
  • May be used for beam guidance with high-power CO2?lasers and Nd:YAG?lasers.
  • Includes a general-purpose CNC?controller equipped with a servomotor controller.
  • Unbeatably low capital costs and operating costs compared to other systems with comparable performance.

The major prerequisites for rapid acceptance by the laser materials-processing and industrial-automation industries for use on handling mechanisms, automated assembly equipment, and metrological and test equipment are thus met. All you need to do is take the plunge and secure a position for yourself as a leading-edge supplier to the market for cost-effective laser materials-processing systems.

We will be pleased to tell you more about how you can use TurboPlane to build more cost-effective laser systems. Just give us a call, drop us a FAX, or send us an e-mail.

TurboPlane-Robots

Industrial Robots Equipped with
Extended-travel direct drives form the basis
for flexible, multipurpose, robot cells

  • Rapid-response, precision, drives - simple, rugged, and inexpensive.
  • Determine their positions using internal sensors.
  • Large 2m x 4m stator that may be combined to yield total travels of 4m x 10m.
  • Each stator plate has several active areas.
  • Robotic cells may incorporate several stator plates arranged in arbitrary orientations with respect to one another.
  • Several independently controlled armatures may be installed on each stator plate.
  • Several tools, manipulators, or sensors may be installed on each armature.
  • Provides high degrees of flexibility, due to its facilities for adding or deleting armatures without totally dismantling and reassembling the system. Armatures may be driven in from, or driven back to, their neutral positions.
  • Stators may be joined, which will allow covering large areas incorporating changing directions of travel.
  • Handles noncontacting or low-applied-force machining operations, such as laser, plasma-torch, or water-jet cutting.
  • Handles dimensional checks and quality-control testing and inspections.
  • Handles both intracell and intercell workpiece transfers.
  • Handles handling and manipulation tasks, such as two-handed processing or working from below.

TurboPlane

The advanced drive concept for laser
materials-processing systems

Have traditional gantry-type laser systems reached the limits of their capabilities? Have Stiefelmayr, Finnpower, Trumpf, Salvagnini, and others launched a new era by introducing linear-motor drives or sealed their fate by boosting their speeds and accelerations to the limits of the technically feasible and economically sensible? Who needs cutting rates as high as 20 m/min if all you can cut at such rates are 1?mm-gauge and thinner sheet stock and you need 3,000 Watts of laser output power and a high-pressure nitrogen jet to reach them? What costing benefits does a system with a slewing rate of 300 m/min. provide if its costs several hundred-thousand DM more, is less reliable, and wears out faster? How long do you have to run without interruption in order to recover your losses from just one single day of downtime due to trying to save time by exploiting the faster positioning provided by such systems, not to mention the repair costs involved? What sort of sophisticated hardware and control systems do you need to have before you can reach such speeds? Are any major improvements in the current state of the art to be expected? These questions lead us to ask the fundamental question:
Is there thus any sense in continuing to build faster, more complex, and more expensive systems equipped with flying optics in order to improve the cost-effectiveness of laser materials processing? Our answer is a definitive

"NO"!

A measure of restraint on the part of many users of synchronous linear-motor drives is already evident. They have literally paid dearly for the undisputedly rapid motions of their drives. The large attractive forces, high magnetic-field strengths, contamination by metal particles, cooling problems, elaborate control systems, and enormous inertial forces involved all have to be mastered. Since travels of 3 m present many more problems than travels of 2.5 m, what problems are to be expected on systems with axis lengths of 4 m or 6 m?
We introduced our multifunctional TurboPlane cell based on planar drives five years ago at the "EuroBlech '96." The design that we had back then had several features that were not all that convincing. The translation rates, accelerations, positioning accuracies, beam-guidance accuracies in the case of CO2?lasers, and the maximum travels that could be attained were unsatisfactory, which relegated its obvious advantages to a back seat.

  • We have been intensively working on solutions to those problems for the past five years and now have a design that differs from traditional gantry-type systems in that: In spite of the fact the fact that it is simple, rugged, nonwearing, and requires no maintenance, it remains an inexpensive planar drive system with a low parts count.
  • It enlarges workspaces, without need for changing drives and without sacrificing any of its speed, since only its motor area needs to be enlarged.
  • Its low moving mass reduces the drive powers and mechanical forces required by 90 %, thereby reducing the demands imposed on supporting structures.
  • It is capable of reaching accelerations of 1 g and translation rates of 0.8 m/s (50 m/min.), which is by no means the last word. Adding a second motor, which may be readily retrofitted, doubles its performance. Employment of low-loss lamina will allow making further major improvements in its performance.
  • It features positioning repeatability of ± 0.01 mm, full-travel positioning accuracy of ± 0.1 mm, and may be equipped with absolute/incremental encoders or our "smart" i?LBA beam-guidance arm, for which a patent application has been filed.
  • It also features maximum tracking errors, a specification that most manufacturers avoid mentioning, of ± 0.1 mm, even at top speed, thanks to its optimized servomotor regulator and CNC?controller.
  • All drive components are mounted above the workpiece level, which allows employing materials-flow mechanisms that require access from three, or even four, sides.
  • A shipping container or inhabitable container may employed as an inexpensive, compact, mobile, housing for laser cutting systems, particularly those that are to be used outdoors in order to conserve plant floor space.
  • It enlarges workspaces along all axes by allowing mounting beam-focusing optics on a rotary mechanism, such as a Scara robot.
  • Its lightweight construction, for which a patent application has been filed, reduces stator weight, which is proportional to its total area of travel, to one-tenth that of our old design.
  • A new manufacturing method, for which a patent application is currently being prepared, cuts manufacturing costs and allows fabricating stators that are virtually arbitrarily long, which allows configuring virtually arbitrarily large workspaces.
  • It features a beam-guidance system for CO2-lasers that provides constant-length beam paths over the full extents of its virtually unlimited workspaces.
  • It is ideal for use with fiberoptic lightguides, which allow reaching accelerations well in excess of 1 g.
  • It allows employing a second, independent, cutting head that may be activated or deactivated at any time, without restricting usable workspace areas.
  • It is multifunctional, since it allows simultaneous employment of additional, parallel, operations, such as marking, performing dimensional checks, assembly operations, and workpiece manipulations, and sorting and stacking finished parts, that may be independently activated or deactivated at any time.
  • It allows readily incorporating tube-cutting axes and large z?axis travels.
  • It significantly shortens part-fabrication and assembly cycles, since it requires no guides mounted on machined surfaces on supporting structures.
  • Its low parts count reduces the total number of replacement parts that need to be kept in stock to a minimum.
  • Cutting heads may be aligned at up to right angles to the vertical, which allows beveling edges prior to welding, cutting tubing without employing a rotary axis, and cutting vertical surfaces.
  • Its construction allows its expansion into a full 3D-processing system at any time, in the simplest case, by adding a small, comoving, multi-axis robot that keeps the laser beam focused on workpieces.
  • Its simple construction and the relatively low cost of the necessary guidance hardware allow configuring dual systems in which a single laser alternately services a pair of cutting beds. If no time is lost in switching from one cutting bed to the other, the laser will remain in continuous-duty operation at all times, and it will still readily be possible to finish (mark, manipulate, sort, and manually or automatically offload) cut panels.
  • Its stator, i.e., its running surface, may be tilted at arbitrary angles to the horizontal, even oriented vertically, which will allow arraying several systems around workpieces and operating them simultaneously.

Taken together, these features translate into extremely flexible, modular, systems with high uptimes and low operating costs that have drives and other mechanical components with minimal maintenance requirements, without sacrificing throughput, all at low capital costs, which, as is well-known, constitute two-thirds of the hourly rates for operating items of machinery. This is our pathway to greater productivity!
Even the most recent advances, which were on display at the "EuroBlech 2000" in Hanover, have proved that TurboPlane is still ahead of its time. Many manufacturers are devoting considerable thought to the matter of how the efficiencies of laser cutting systems may be improved and have come up with more or less expensive solutions that may be more simply, and less expensively, implemented using TurboPlane. Like some examples of what we mean?

MAZAK had brought out its Space Gear 48, a 2D/3D CO2?laser cutting system, a hybrid flat-bed system that is equipped with a tall bridge in order to allow accommodating a 3D?cutting head and tube-cutting axis. This approach would seem to be the obvious choice, since the bridge is stationary. However, if flying optics are employed, the sacrifice in speed involved would be excessive.

Such a hybrid system equipped with a moving bed would never be as fast as a system equipped with a stationary bed and flying optics. A system equipped with TurboPlane would be both faster and readily retrofitted with both a 3D?cutting head and a tube-cutting axis, and without changing any aspects of its design. All that would be needed would be lowering the stationary workpiece holder involved.
In the case of cutting tubing, tube-cutting systems equipped with TurboPlane need no programmable-track tubing-advance mechanisms as a third axis, just the mandatory additional rotary axis, which makes a TurboPlane Tube, which may also be employed as a 2D/3D?laser cutting system at any time, much simpler, and much less expensive, than either a Trumpf Tubematic or an Adige Lasertube.
AMADA has brought out its FO-315 system equipped with flying optics, which has a patented, built-in, single-part-offloading system mounted on a second bridge that is capable of offloading finished parts anywhere within the cutting area, sorting them, and stacking them, which could have been much more simply accomplished using TurboPlane and was patented by us five years ago.

Rofin-Sinar has demonstrated its Remote Welding Station, a reflective beam deflector tiltable on two axes preceded by a long-focal-length lens that moves relative to the beam deflector. Its optical unit may be translated along another axis in order to extend the available workspace. Employing TurboPlane would allow translating its optical unit, complete with its lens, along two axes, where comovement of the laser beam would be handled by a built-in TurboPlane drive, which would allow both extending the available workspace and varying the orientation of the laser beam over much larger ranges at any given processing location. The latter could also be provided by employing a Scanlab Power Scan beam-deflector unit, which provides the same features as Rofin-Sinar's Remote Welding Station. The efficiency of a welding cell of that type may be doubled by employing a second synchronously driven, or independently controlled, optical unit. A welding cell equipped with several TurboPlane units oriented at various angles to workpieces, e.g., arrayed around an automobile body, could also be employed, depending upon the type of workpiece involved. Combinations of several cells, which might be employed for laser cladding or laser heat treating, are also readily configured.
A few weeks ago, several trade publications reported that NVL. Balliu had recently employed a laser marking system equipped with a galvanometer-scanner beam-deflector unit that was connected to its laser via a fiberoptic lightguide as a second tool on a dual-head laser system. TurboPlane has been able to handle that same operation for several years, and without restricting access to all locations.

This tremendous flexibility and adaptability to the tasks at hand, without need for any major modifications, are the criteria that make TurboPlane your best choice, but are not the only ones. Its simple, rugged, construction, nonwearing, maintenance-free, operation, along with the lower capital costs involved, represent the other major criteria that you should not fail to consider when specifying drives for your laser materials processing systems. If you would like additional information on TurboPlane and/or its capabilities, just give us a call or drop us a line.

i-LBA 42

The "Smart" Laser-Beam-Guidance System

Our i-LBA 42 laser-beam-guidance system, which is based on our position-control system for planar motors, combines the function of a beam-guidance arm for high-power lasers with that of a three-axis position-control system for the tool centerpoint (TCP) of a beam-focusing unit. The high-strength aluminum alloy employed in its construction provides high rigidity and positioning accuracy. The design of its mirror mounts allows replacing mirrors without need for realignment. Although our i-LBA 42 laser-beam-guidance system has been developed primarily for use on laser processing systems equipped with our TurboPlane robot, increasing the total number of positioning data points acquired allows its use on systems having more than three degrees of freedom, such as systems equipped with articulated-arm robots or three-axis or five-axis gantry systems.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Beam-Guidance Arm:

  • Equipped with seven gold-coated, 60?mm dia., water cooled, copper mirrors.
  • Standard arm length 850 mm (1,500 mm max.)
  • Min. clear aperture 42 mm, reaching a max. of 54 mm in its tubular beam enclosures
  • Max. laser-power-handling capacity 10 kW

Control System:

  • Uses a pair of PC-ISA plug-in boards
  • Positioning accuracy ± 0.2 mm (varies with arm length)
  • Repeatability ± 0.1 mm
  • Positioning output signals available
    a) 1-Vp-p analog
    b) TTL-compatible serial (RS-422)
    c) 32-bit parallel (IEEE 488)
  • Outputs numerical values of position, velocity, and acceleration on all three axes for display on a PC?monitor.
  • May be calibrated for any set of reference points.
  • Equipped with four inputs for rotary or linear encoders supplying TTL?compatible BCD or analog output signals.
  • The fourth encoder may be used to generate a moving reference point in order to allow extending the length of travel on one axis.

Special versions with full freedom of movement on all axes are available on request.

EASY RIDER

Compact, multi-purpose, laser materials-processing system

EASY RIDER is a compact, multi-purpose, laser system designed for cutting and engraving nonmetals equipped with a 100-Watt CO2-laser and driven by a nonwearing TurboPlane air-bearing planar motor with a virtually infinite service life. EASY RIDER is available in two versions having workspaces of 700 mm x 850 mm and 850 mm x 1350 mm, respectively. Beam guidance is via a permanently aligned, hermetically sealed, and thus dust-proof and maintenance-free, articulated mirror-arm fabricated from a CFC-material that provides a constant beam pathlength for uniform processing results. Among its major features are its ability to handle workpieces of unlimited length, width, and height, which allows, e.g., cutting and engraving complete, large, housings. Equipped with an optional rotation axis, EASY RIDER may also be used for cutting and engraving rotary workpieces, foils and web materials. A height-controlled worktable will allow performing 2-1/2-D processing of 3D-workpieces. EASY RIDER is compact enough that it may be positioned above bulky and/or heavy objects, such as stone slabs or lithographic plates, to be engraved. EASY RIDER is controlled by a PC, which allows preparing graphics or contours to be cut using Corel Draw. The drivers supplied allow performing laser processing at resolutions of 1200 DPI, varying laser power and advance rates during processing, making tooling corrections, reflecting and inverting texts and graphics, generating positive or negative embossing dies having varying flank inclinations, and simple cutting of complex contours.

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