The ABL 1500 series linear air-bearing stage from Aerotech is designed for high performance scanning and inspection for the semiconductor and data storage industries and other that demand positioning tolerances beyond the capability of conventional ball screw and mechanical bearing positioning systems.
According to the company's press release, the ALB 1500 offers a fully active preload, high stiffness and improved geometric characteristics.
An active preload is incorporated on vertical and horizontal surfaces and the opposing thin-film pressure maintains the bearing nominal gap tolerance. This design, in addition to the large air bearing surface the distributes the load over a large surface area results in a stage with stiffness that is suitable for heavy or offset loading. Proprietary manufacturing techniques result in improved unsurpassed geometrical characteristics.
The air bearing has an inherent averaging effect that maximizes performance. A thin film will fill surface voids and allow for irregularities.
The stage contains Aerotech's BLMC series brushless linear servomotor, which uses an ironless forcer for zero cogging and no attractive forces, resulting in smoother motion.
The company promises maintenance-free operation since there is no mechanical contact between moving elements . Additionally, there is no lubrication so air bearings are suitable for cleanroom and medical applications.
Lastly, in the event of failure, the stage's modular design simplifies cable replacement.