Festo SupraMotion: handling with spatial separation

Handling with spatial separation

Contactless working through walls

Thanks to the specific levitating distance, superconductive systems are not just able to work in all spatial planes, but also without contact through walls. This opens up completely new perspectives for handling systems in protected spaces or through panelling.

SupraTransport: motion with a large levitating distance

By combining superconductor technology and a permanent magnetic rail, SupraTransport achieves a particularly large and stable levitating distance. An L-shaped workpiece carrier levitates above a magnetic rail with a large gap thanks to a permanent magnet attached on its underside. Another permanent magnet is attached to it at a 90° angle and is securely coupled to a superconductor. It thus fixes the position of the workpiece carrier above the magnetic rail.

Festo SupraTransport: motion with a large levitating distance

Covers are attached between the carrier and the superconductor as well as the rail to cleanly separate the working space from the surroundings. Both the cryostat with the superconductor as well as the levitating carrier coupled to it can be moved along the magnetic rail by using electric axes. The particularly large levitating gap makes it much easier to clean the application. In addition, the carrier can easily levitate across small obstacles.

Festo SupraTransport: motion with a large levitating distance

Integrated products from Festo

SupraGripper: mechanical gripping with spatial separation

With the SupraGripper, two grippers with three fingers each levitate freely above two crescent-shaped plates. This technology could be used, for example, to grip and transport objects through a partition or in enclosed spaces; this is ideal for cleanrooms, for instance, or for applications with gases, vacuum or liquids.

SupraGripper: mechanical gripping with spatial separation

The levitating effect is achieved by a total of three cryostats that are fitted underneath the plates and can be moved up and down. This means the grippers either levitate above the plates or are placed on them. In addition, the two plates can be rotated and accurately positioned with the help of two rotary drives, so that the two grippers can be transported from one cryostat to the next.

Controlled transfer between conventional and levitating grippers

To start with, two parallel grippers transfer one object each to the two levitating grippers. In order to grip an object, electric coils attached to the cryostats emit an electrical pulse; this either severs the saved connection to the magnetic gripper elements or restores it. The pulse causes the individual fingers to turn up or down, which in turn causes the grippers to open or close.

Festo SupraGripper: controlled transfer between conventional and levitating grippers

Integrated products from Festo

SupraTube: rotation in a sealed pipe

A round cryostat with superconductors is attached at each end of a sealed glass tube that is filled with liquid. Inside the vertically positioned tube is a magnetic puck that is kept at a levitating distance of around five millimetres from both cryostats and is initially suspended beneath the upper cryostat.

Festo SupraTube: rotation in an enclosed tube

A ring magnet around the cryostats is made to rotate by a stepper motor and then transmits this movement to the levitating magnets. This is repelled from the cryostat using an electrical pulse and floats down in a spiral motion. It is caught again at the other end of the tube by the superconductor on the other cryostat, and centred.

Contactless cleaning in an environment containing liquids

The exhibit shows how motion in a tube can be controlled from the outside without any contact. With a slightly modified design, it would be possible to install drives alongside the longitudinal axis of the tube with a superconductor magnet and pull a cleaning device through without any contact. Alternatively, the contents of a closed container – for instance hazardous liquids or explosive gases – could be safely made to rotate.

Festo SupraTube: contactless cleaning in an environment containing liquids

Integrated products from Festo

SupraShuttle: contactless handling in a vacuum and cleanroom

The SupraShuttle shows how levitating objects can be moved into hermetically sealed rooms and moved around these spaces. To achieve this, a dome made of acrylic glass is placed over the magnetic support and forms an enclosed space around it, without requiring lock gates, rails or guide systems.

Festo also uses the SupraShuttle to show the movement of a levitating object in all spatial directions for the very first time. A superconductor module is attached underneath the table. A magnet levitates above the superconductor module and thus also above the table. The carrier with the vials is mounted on this magnet.

Festo SupraShuttle: contactless handling in a vacuum and a cleanroom

Stable levitation in all directions

The magnet follows the module with every movement at the stored levitation distance. If the module is moved to the back wall by the rotary drive, the magnet also glides seamlessly from a horizontal to a vertical position, without touching the floor or being mechanically gripped.

Festo SupraShuttle: stable levitation in all directions

Integrated products from Festo

SupraPicker: movement in all directions and in enclosed spaces

This exhibit features a hermetically sealed space made of acrylic glass in which a handling process takes place. The SupraPicker is not restricted to a horizontal mode of operation, but can operate at any angle.

Festo SupraPicker: handling in closed spaces

The superconductive gripper arm picks up six small vials outside of the space via a magnetic puck. Because of the air gap between the puck and the superconductor, the gripper arm and gripper can be separated. The puck together with the gripped object is transported through a lock into the enclosed space, while the superconductor moves parallel to it outside of the space. Handling in enclosed spaces can therefore be achieved without touching the walls.

Festo SupraPicker: motion in all directions and in enclosed spaces

Integrated products from Festo