The Precision XY Linear Motion Table
Many high-tech industries are dependent on high-tech industry solutions. These solutions enable them to optimize the workflow and make it more efficient. More importantly, the solutions aimed to help the high-tech industry are able to drive the progress in research and allow engineers to deliver high-quality products. The XY linear motion table is one of those solutions that we are going to talk about today.
Many industries can benefit from the automation or semi-automation of repetitive tasks that require precision. Due to their repetitive nature, the human workforce tends to make errors and become less productive over time. This is where the XY linear motion table comes to the rescue.
What is an XY Linear Motion Table?
There are many linear motion tables that support the motion in the X, Y, and/or Z directions. These are also known as Cartesian coordinates. This is why some XY tables are also called Cartesian systems. In a moment, we are going to come back to this and explain to you the difference between an XY table and a classic Cartesian system.
XY tables are designed to enable horizontal motion for different types of automated machinery. For instance, assembly robots can be mounted on these tables to ensure an efficient manufacturing process. Why? Because robotic devices have a stationary basis, which significantly limits their field of operation. But when you mount it on the XY table, it can move horizontally along the X and Y axis.
XY tables are also known as XY stages. They are typical liner slides, only now they are motorized. Linear motion is based in bearings and powered by a linear motor. Since they provide positioning along the X and Y axis, they can be configured to provide any positioning according to the industry needs.
More importantly, this positioning is a high-performance one, meaning that devices mounted on XY tables can change positions an unlimited number of times and in very short time frames.
The Uses of XY Tables
As automation becomes the best practice in most industries, XY tables find their use across many verticals. One might even say that XY tables became a synonym for the precision-controlled automated movement. These tables can be found in pharmaceutical, manufacturing, semiconductor, and general machinery industries.
They are commonly used for mechanical processes and applications. With robots and other devices mounted to them, XY tables are used for automated measurement, machinery, device and car building, material handling. They are a vital part of the industrial automation equipment. This is why it is safe to assume that XY tables are not going anywhere anytime soon.
XY Tables Vs Other Systems
The common misconception regarding the XY tables is how they differ from Gantry and Cartesian systems. To help you understand the key differences, let us briefly describe both of the above-mentioned systems.
Gantry systems. Gantry systems were designed as an answer to the problem related with the outer axes, causing a moment load on the inner axes. This is why Gantry systems have two same axes. They can come with two X, two Y, or two Z axes. Generally speaking, a Gantry system almost always has all three axes. Gantry systems carry the load only inside the footprint.
Cartesian systems. Cartesian systems can have two or three axes. They can be a mix of anything – XY, XZ, or XYZ. They also provide a linear option in two axes but they have an end effector. This effector usually incorporates a rotational component which is used for orienting a load the system carries.
XY tables. These systems can move the load across two axes – X and Y. The axes are mounted on top of each other, where the load space is usually mounted on the Y-axis. These systems usually have strokes up to one meter.
Unlike Cartesian systems where the load is cantilevered, an XY table carries the load centered on the Y-axis. This is why there is no moment on the Y-axis when the load is being moved. And the load can never extend beyond the Y-axis.
The ability to move the load seamlessly across both X and Y axes, and do so without creating any momentum on the Y-axis makes the XY linear motion table a got to solution for many industries. They are particularly useful for positioning parts for inspection, for a machine operation to take place, insertion processes, and others.
Hopefully, this has cleared up a few things about XY linear motion tables. As you can see, although they are similar to Gantry and Cartesian systems, XY tables are unique designs with unique benefits.