Something for everyone in IKO’s positioning table range

3 mins read

IKO’s precision position tables offer a wide range of solutions for machine builders, regardless of the axis of motion.

Utilising its knowledge of linear guide assemblies and rotary bearing technologies, IKO has built on its world-leading products to provide stages moving in X, Y, Z and Theta directions. They offer various combinations of smooth, high-speed travel with low frictional resistance, super-accurate resolution and high levels of rigidity where required.

Throughout industry, ball screw actuators are probably the most common type of actuator used. When compared to other alternatives, ballscrews have lower friction and only require limited lubrication to continue running in many applications, leading to increased life expectancy over other linear systems. IKO produces several different tables that utilise ball screws. These are used in a variety of different applications, providing linear, rotary and vertical elevation.

Ballscrew-based tables are used for the automation of motion in a wide variety of applications including laser etching, 3D printers, packaging, medical, general assembly machinery. They are excellent at handling thrust force, and offer good performance in speed, positioning accuracy and stroke length. IKO’s tables can be specified in various sizes with options to select an appropriate rolled or ground ball screw, in different pitches and lengths, providing optimal selection in speed and accuracy. Capable of ±2µm repeatability, 20µm accuracy and 3µm backlash, these tables are highly versatile and precise.

The TE/TC and TU ranges are versatile tables that provide high levels of accuracy and repeatability while also minimising the potential for backlash. While the TE tables come with a ground ballscrew, the TU can be selected with either a rolled or ground ballscrew, depending on the application requirements.

Both the TE and TU types can be fitted with cover, bellows and surface treatment for added protection. Furthermore, IKO’s TE range features its proprietary C-lube bearing lubrication system, which offers maintenance-free operation over more than 20,000km. These popular general-purpose automation tables utilise a U-shaped body, either in aluminium (TE/TC), or steel (TU) construction, with fully recirculating ball-type carriages travelling along hardened tracks located within the walls of the unit’s body, which provide the load-bearing capacity.

For applications that require higher levels of cleanliness, IKO’s TC range can operate in Class 3 (Federal Standard 209D Class 1) environments. This range is based around the lightweight low-profile TE products but incorporates low dust generation grease (CGL) and stainless steel sealed side and cover plates. The main components are made from high-strength aluminium alloy, coated with alumite treatment, and sealed stainless steel sheet, which also offers excellent corrosion resistance.

Design is kept highly flexible so that the units can be combined with an appropriate stepper or servo motor depending on the application. IKO can then offer a dedicated mounting plate (such as NEMA or metric types) for either in-line or parallel/fold-back motors. Customers are free to use their own preferences or existing supplier relationships to source an appropriate motor, allowing design engineers to utilise existing systems knowledge. Where designers are looking for a full solution, IKO works with several third-party full systems integrators to deliver the complete package.

When applications require higher levels of accuracy, IKO’s state-of-the-art Nano linear motor table, the NT type, offers even more performance. These compact moving-magnet type linear motor tables have an extremely low profile and provide excellent performance. For the guided portion of the table, a C-Lube linear way assembly is used. An optical encoder is also utilised to further enhance the performance of the linear motor (connected to the movable steel table). The stator coil and head is connected to the steel bed. This combination of products results in high positional performance. IKO’s standard NT…V table is capable of 0.1µm resolution and positional repeatability of ± 0.5µm, while the high accuracy NT…H version can produce results of 0.01µm resolution, and positional repeatability of ± 0.1µm.

Incorporating high-performance neodymium magnets, the Nano linear motor table can generate a maximum thrust of 36N. It is also capable of high-speed, high-response positioning. Furthermore, since the mechanical contact portion uses IKO’s C-Lube linear ways, high levels of cleanliness can be realised. With cableless moving parts, system setup is not only easier, but cleaner and more efficient too.

The Nano Linear NT is most suitable as a compact positioning mechanism for many applications, especially within the optical, pick-and-place and life sciences sectors, for example, along with manufacturing equipment, inspection instruments, and other assembly equipment which require precise, accurate, high-speed movements.

With automated processes continuing to change, and demand ever-increasing, systems designers are constantly requiring new and inspiring ways to fulfil their clients’ needs. In addition to the popular ball screw-type stages, IKO produces a range of linear and rotary actuators to meet industry demand. So if your machine requirement is simple single-axis movement or a complicated multi-axis horizontal, vertical or rotary system, IKO has the products to help.