Wednesday, January 31, 2018
The great thing about technology is that one element can benefit various industries. For example, GPS is a valuable tool not just for the transportation section, but also for urban development, agriculture, military applications, mining, and even sports. Another such technology is precision motion control. With components like specialized linear stages, rotary stages, and gantry systems, several industries have improved their processes and in turn the quality of their output. Here are a few examples.
From start to finish, semiconductor manufacturers use various types of equipment outfitted with precision motor stages to deliver high quality products. For example, pick and place machines or simply P&Ps are used to place each component accurately on the die. Additionally, because of the die’s delicate nature (especially on its active side), using P&Ps is critical since it allows only the absolute minimum contact and relative force needed to remove the die from the foil ring frame. This greatly reduces the possibility of mechanical damage. P&Ps also help speed up the assembly process to increase yields, and guarantees 100% die orientation.
Inspecting the wafers, on the other hand, require various metrology instruments which are also equipped with precision motor stages. For processes that require contact measurements, the stages are driven by piezomotors to reduce or completely eliminate vibrations. For wafer mapping and similar non-contact processes, linear stages driven by servo motors ensure the speed and precision of positioning.
Medical Equipment and Instruments
A lot of medical devices and instruments require accurate and repeatable motion and positioning. CAT scanners, blood testing equipment, surgical tables, milling machines for lenses, bone drills, and even radiation therapy machines have motion control systems that move in two or more axes. These motion control solutions include gantry arms and X-Y stages to help equipment manufacturers produce high-precision equipment, and medical professionals to effectively operate these machines to treat their patients.
Precision motion control solutions are also used in medical research and testing. In a laboratory scenario, for example, a lot of processes are prone to human errors (such as handling samples and mixing ingredients), which can lead to contamination and injuries, among others. With the help of automation, medical research and testing become safer and more accurate.
Food Manufacturing and Packaging
There are several uses of precision motion control in food and beverage manufacturing and packaging. For example, drink bottles move along a conveyor belt which stops at the right spot for a bottle or carton to be filled with the correct amount of the product . These bottles and cartons will then be capped or sealed, before being boxed and readied for shipping.
Forming and wrapping, such as in products like butter, seem simple in concept and could possibly be done by hand. However, doing it in bulk slows down the process considerably and also sacrifices the quality of the product, both in quantity and its appearance. Using motion solutions will ensure that you get the correct form, enough amount of product, and a seamless package quickly and accurately.
Another aspect of food manufacturing that is improved by motion solutions is slicing. For food products like bread, cheese, and ham, automated slicing not only means better-looking products but also an smoother transition into arranging and packaging.
These are just some of the various industries that benefit from precision motion control, and there are certainly a lot more. Automotive manufacturing has long benefitted from this technology, for example, as well as aerospace and defense engineering and even the textile industry. Put it this way: as long as there are processes that require the precise movement of a component, you’ll most likely find motion control solutions at play.