Beckhoff Introduces Contact-Free, Flying Motion Technology with XPlanar

Beckhoff announced XPlanar, an innovative system for flying motion control. Planar movers float freely above planar tiles arranged in customizable layouts and enable extremely flexible, precise and highly dynamic positioning.

The XPlanar system combines the individual arrangement of planar tiles with multi-dimensional positioning capability of the planar movers floating above them. The movers reportedly enable jerk-free and contact-free motion in two dimensions, completing movements without any noise or abrasion.

The planar motor system is highly scalable to suit individual machine and plant requirements. Due to the maximum flexibility in mover positioning and very high motion dynamics, it is possible to divide product flow individually so that robots or inflexible mechanical devices can be replaced. The contact-free mover travel could also eliminate wear, emissions and carryover contamination from products being transported.

The basis of the XPlanar system is the planar tiles, which can be arranged in any desired geometries that are precisely adapted to the application at hand. The tiles contain all power electronics and support Gigabit communication via EtherCAT G. A freely selectable number of planar movers float above them, made possible by integrated permanent magnets. The movers can be used horizontally, vertically, and upside down.

There is a choice of four different planar mover types:

  • The 95 x 95 millimeter small mover for payloads up to 0.4 kilograms;
  • The 155 x 155 millimeter standard mover for payloads up to 1.5 kilograms;
  • The 155 x 275 millimeter long mover for payloads up to 3 kilograms; and
  • The 275 x 275 millimeter large mover for payloads up to 6 kilograms.

The two-dimensional X/Y positioning of the movers is supplemented by additional motion functions:

  • Lifting and lowering by up to 5 millimeters, including optional weighing functionality;
  • Lilting by up to 5 degrees for transporting and handling liquids without spillage; and
  • Rotation by up to 15 degrees or up to 360 degrees above special planar tiles.

The collision-free and synchronized movement of several movers with automatic path optimization are further features provided by TwinCAT 3 automation software from Beckhoff.

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