Flexible and cost-effective automation in small parts assembly

Bringing together all the factors important for success in one automation solution is no easy task. The aim of handling a large range of batch sizes is in direct conflict with the requirement for a lean budget. However, these conflicting demands can be reconciled, as the mini H-gantry EXCM from Festo shows.

Product lifecycles are becoming ever shorter, nowhere more so than in the electronics industry. One way in which companies can respond is with flexible automation solutions, which allow easy retooling for different product variants. The result is cost-efficient production of small and large batch sizes. At the same time, this increases the standard of quality expected of both the production process and the end products. A high level of automation helps to avoid errors and boosts precision. However, the space available on the production floor is also becoming an issue. What customers want is compact machine designs. Bringing together all these factors in one automation solutions is a challenge. There are several requirements to be met, for example flexible adaptation and scaling of the systems, ease of configuration and setup, and quick commissioning. And not forgetting a high degree of reliability and precision as well as a favourable purchase price and low maintenance costs. With the mini H-gantry EXCM, Festo has succeeded in combining all these factors.

Always the same basis

The mini H-gantry EXCM is a flexible and economical automation solution for a very wide range of handling tasks. The parallel kinematic belt drive concept means that the positions of the drive motors are fixed. This means that the drive motor for the Y-axis does not have to be carried on this axis. The low moving mass results in a compact and powerful system. The H-gantry thus offers an efficient state-of-the-art automation platform for machine and equipment manufacturers. The basis for material handling and process control always remains the same, only the front-end device needs to be changed.

Quick and precise testing

A good example of a successful application of the mini H-gantry EXCM is Visatronic GmbH’s Flying Probe test system. Small batch sizes and prototypes make the cost-effective testing of printed circuit boards a real challenge. It was this that motivated Visatronic to expand its existing Visatest test system. The new test machine positions a test probe on the electronic modules. This verifies that the module has been produced correctly and tests its functionality. The test system is the perfect application for the mini H-gantry. The drive is permanently mounted on the Y-axis and does not have to be carried on the moving axis. The compact design and low moving mass mean that the required travel time of 2 seconds for a complete diagonal and the necessary positioning accuracy of 0.1 mm are no problem. The mini H-gantry can achieve speeds of up to 500 mm/s and repetition accuracies in the range of ±0.05 mm in the X/Y system.

The Finnish company PKC also uses the mini H-gantry EXCM in a tester for mobile devices with touchscreen and buttons. The EXCM carries out the movement to the different test positions as well as movement within the test sequences. The main selling points of the ready-to-install handling solution were its compactness, attractive price, high flexibility and scalable mechanical system. Find out more here. Compact precision

A more economical system

Further arguments in favour of the mini H-gantry EXCM are its attractive purchase price and the option of operation and flexible control via Ethernet. All setpoints such as target positions and travel speed can be input directly in the slim, cost-efficient system. The system takes over control of the two servo motors, which means that the motion sequences of the mini H-gantry are easy to program in terms of target position, path speed and direction.

The mini H-gantry EXCM is an ideal system component for laboratory automation, electronics production and the production, assembly and handling of small parts.

At a glance: mini H-gantry EXCM

High dynamic response: the mechanical design of the stationary motors reduces the moving mass and superimposes the drive performance of the two motors. This enables a high dynamic response of 10 m/s².

High system accuracy: the kinematic design enables a system repetition accuracy of ±0.05 mm (along X/Y-axis).

Shorter design time: complete system with specific interfaces and dimensions.

Easy to order using just one order number. The simple configuration offers a fully harmonised handling system including motors, controllers and cables.

Easy commissioning: the EXCM is easily configured using a PC or Notebook with the Festo Configuration Tool (FCT) via Ethernet LAN.