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Festo SupraMotion: handling in physical isolation

Handling with spatial separation

Contactless working through walls

Thanks to the defined levitating gap, not only can superconducting systems work in all spatial planes, but rather without contact through walls as well. This opens up entirely new prospects for handling systems in protected spaces and through coverings.

SupraTransport: large levitation gap

By combining superconductor technology and a permanent magnetic rail, SupraTransport is capable of generating an especially large and stable levitation gap. An L-shaped workpiece carrier is levitated at a large distance above a magnetic rail thanks to a permanent magnet located on its underside. Another permanent magnet is attached to this at a 90° angle which is securely coupled to a superconductor. It fixes the position of the workpiece carrier above the magnetic rail.

Festo SupraTransport: motion with a large levitation gap

Covers are attached between the carrier and the superconductor as well as the rail, so that the workspace is cleanly separated from the environment. Together with the superconductor and the levitating carrier coupled to it, the cryostat is moved along the magnetic rail by means of electric axes. The particularly large levitation gap makes cleaning the application considerably easier. The carrier can also be easily levitated over small obstacles.

Festo SupraTransport: motion with a large levitation gap

Integrated products from Festo

SupraGripper: mechanical gripping

In the case of the SupraGripper, two grippers – each with three gripper fingers – levitate freely above two semicircular plates. This technology could, for example, be used to grip and transport objects which are behind a partition or located in enclosed spaces. They would thus be suitable for cleanrooms or applications with gases, vacuum or liquids.

SupraGripper: mechanical gripping

The levitation effect is achieved by a total of three cryostats which are mounted underneath the plates and can be moved up and down. The grippers thus levitate above the plates or are placed on them. Furthermore, the two plates can be rotated and precisely positioned by two rotary actuators, 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 conventional grippers transfer one object each to the two levitating grippers. In order to grip an object, electrical coils attached to the cryostats emit a pulse which either severs the stored connection to the magnetic gripper elements or restores it as required. This pulse causes the individual finger elements to fold up or down, making the grippers open or close.

Festo SupraGripper: controlled transfer between conventional and levitating grippers

Integrated products from Festo

SupraTube: rotation in an enclosed tube

A round cryostat with superconductors is attached to each end of a sealed glass tube filled with liquid. There’s a magnetic puck inside the vertical tube which is tethered to the two cryostats with a levitation gap of roughly five millimeters and is initially suspended beneath the upper cryostat.

Festo SupraTube: rotation in an enclosed tube

A magnetic ring around the cryostats is caused to rotate by a stepper motor and transmits this rotary motion to the levitating magnet. The magnet is repelled from the cryostat by an electrical pulse and drifts downward spirally. It’s caught at the other end of the tube by the superconductor on the other cryostat, and centered.

Contact-free cleaning in a fluid environment

This exhibit shows how motion in a tube can be initiated from outside without physical contact. With a slightly modified configuration it would thus be possible to install actuators with a superconductor magnetic coupling along the longitudinal axis of the tube, which could pull a cleaning device through without making any contact at all. Alternatively, it would be possible to set the contents of an enclosed container – for example a hazardous material or explosive gases – into rotary motion.

Festo SupraTube: contact-free cleaning in a fluid environment

Integrated products from Festo

SupraShuttle: handling in a cleanroom

The SupraShuttle demonstrates how levitating objects can be moved into hermetically sealed spaces, and moved around within these spaces. A dome made of acrylic glass is placed over the magnetic support to this end, which forms an enclosed space around it without requiring lock gates, rails or guide systems.

Festo also uses the SupraShuttle to demonstrate motion of a levitating object in all spatial directions for the first time ever. A superconductor module is attached underneath the base plate to this end. A magnet is levitated above the superconductor module and thus above the base plate as well. The carrier with the vials is mounted to this magnet.

Festo SupraShuttle: handling in vacuum and in a cleanroom

Stable levitation in all directions

The magnet follows the module’s every movement at the stored levitation gap. If the module is advanced to the back wall via the rotary actuator, the magnet also glides seamlessly from the horizontal to the vertical plane – without touching the floor or being mechanically gripped.

Festo SupraShuttle: stable levitation in all directions

Integrated products from Festo

SupraPicker: motion in closed spaces

The exhibit features a hermetically sealed space made of acrylic class, in which a handling process takes place. The SupraPicker is thus not restricted to the horizontal mode of operation. It can approach any solid angle.

Festo SupraPicker: handling in closed spaces

The superconductive gripper arm picks up six small vials outside of the space using a magnetic puck. The gripper arm and gripper can be separated by the air gap between the puck and superconductor. The puck is transported along with the gripped object through a lock into a closed space, and the superconductor moves parallel to it outside of the space. Handling within this closed space can therefore be accomplished without touching the walls.

Festo SupraPicker: motion in all directions and in closed spaces

Integrated products from Festo