Q-Sys | News

(0125) granite column with air bearing slide 2000mm travel

Long travel vertical air bearing axis

The air bearing axis is basically designed for vertical applications and offers travels of up to 2000mm. Actuation takes place by means of a ballscrew, whereby the position feedback is done with the aid of a high-precision optical linear encoder. These components are located in a slot in the granite column, which is then covered by a fabric belt. This prevents, on the one hand, contamination of for example, the encoder and, on the other hand, the possibility of touching the rotating spindle during movement or getting trapped. The roll and pitch errors of the slide during motion are smaller than 3arcs.

(0119) rotary stage combinerd with veritcal movement

High-precision air-bearing movement for measuring optical components

The integrated rotation and vertical movement form only two axes in a four-axis platform. An air bearing vertical axis makes it possible to adjust the height of a direct-driven rotary table. This is necessary to bring an object to be measured in the correct position in relation to the measuring instrument. The rotary table is also equipped with an air bearing and is driven by a torque motor. The motor has no cogging and a torque ripple of less than 0.04%. This motor, combined with the air bearing and a non-contact optical position feedback, ensures an extremely small velocity ripple. The eccentricity of the rotation is < 0.1µm and the wobble < 1µrad. The center line of rotation is within 2µrad parallel to the vertical movement. The vertical axis is also equipped with air bearings and is driven by an epoxy core linear motor. As a result of the chosen motor concept, forces are only applied in the drive direction and this results in a pitch of < 8µrad and a yaw of < 3µrad. The total mass is balanced so that the motor generates a minimum of heat.

(0133) linear positioning stage with 2000mm travel

Linear positioning stage with up to 2000mm travel

Our QL-R range of stages has been extended—literally. This versatile stage is now available with travels up to 2000mm. Linear motor driven, the stages offer various combinations of motor size and encoder resolution to suit a wide range of applications. Internal cable management makes this a neat and compact stage, suitable for use in single or multi-axis systems. For more information about the stage please see the download section of our website.

(0322) B and C axes Lightmotif

High Accuracy Rotary-Tilt Axes for Laser Machining

The two axes use air bearings to provide highest possible accuracies. The precision-aligned axes can, for example, be combined with linear axes and in that configuration give customers high accuracy machining capabilities for complex 3D part geometries. The rotary features a direct drive and a high resolution encoder. This combination makes a wide range of speeds possible without sacrificing accuracy. The tilt axis allows ±100° of travel. The combination of high precision encoders and air bearings provide excellent accuracy and repeatability performance. The encoders are absolute thus preventing loss of position in case of an eventual power failure.

(0313) inkjet print head testing Xaarjet

High Speed Test Platform

This three axis test rig delivers speeds up to 5m/sec over the central travel area with straightness and flatness within 5µm, making it ideal for print head testing. The reverse side of the granite bridge can also accommodate a full width axis to enable immediate optical inspection of the print output. Using a solid granite assembly, the stage is exceptionally stable and is fitted with linear motor drive for the horizontal axes.

(0076) Oerlikon system for FPD

Large scale motion platform for FPD laser processing

The platform was developed in close collaboration with the customer. It is built on a so-called polymer composite base. In addition to the three motion axes, the scope of supply included various other components that are necessary for the process. Examples are facilities for unloading and loading of the FPD, but also the alignment and inspection of the FDP, camera’s, sensors and extraction equipment. Special attention was required for the grippers with whom the FPD is clamped. This was a delicate process and damage to the FPD should be prevented at all times. The approximate travels of the axes are 1500mm x 1200mm with the achieved straightness and flatness of the movements being about 10µm.

(0302) bespoke development platform for 3D printing

Bespoke development platform for 3D printing

This development platform is yet another good example of our bespoke service for non-standard motion systems. The platform is intended for use in a 3D printing application. It delivers 5 micron positioning accuracy over the 1000mm x 100mm print area and comes with a UV blocking safety housing. Among other things, the platform is equipped with a vacuum chuck to “hold down” the printed products. Next to the printing area is a station where a UV lamp fully cures the printed products. Inside the cabinet, all components are black, as far as possible, to avoid reflections of light and to prevent the printheads from clogging with cured ink.

(0283) alignment platform ESRF

Motion platform with 4 degrees of freedom (DoF)

This 4 axes platform provides motion for precision alignment as required in for example synchrotrons. It concerns horizontal and vertical adjustment plus rotation about these two axes. The travels are ±40mm for the linear motion ±1° for the rotations. The platform features an unusual three-wedge design to achieve the required motion in a very limited envelope. The through hole is 500mm x 300mm and allows access from both top and bottom.

gantry with wide slide for thin foil processing

Gantry with moving bridge for example to be used in reel to reel applications

The base of the system is a granite plate, resting on a welded steel frame. The system has 1800mm x 150mm travel and achieves up to 1m/s. The gantry is driven at both ends by linear motors, each with an associated linear encoder. This means the gantry is driven as a pair of independent axes, locked together in the controller in gantry mode. Flexure mounts attaching the beam to the carriages ensure no twisting stresses are allowed to build up. The system is very suited for example to be used in reel-to-reel applications where thin foil is processed by using a laser.

air bearing rotary table

Precision air bearing rotary stage for laser machining

This direct drive rotary stage employs a granite base for stability and provides a high precision platform with large through hole of 320mm diameter. With a payload capacity of as much as 300kg, it delivers better than 10μrad accuracy, 5μrad wobble and less than 0.2 micron axial and radial runout.

DESY PETRA III

Beamline Optics Alignment platform

This X-ray optics alignment platform delivers three motorised axes plus a manual slide. The stage has travels of ±100mm (200mm) in Y, ±30mm (60mm) in Z and ±5deg (10deg) in θ. In addition, the central section of the granite top can be floated on air bearings and moved manually by up to 400mm. This slide carries a payload of up to 150kg and provides a very flexible solution in an application where the arrangement of optical elements may vary on a daily basis.

Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility

Optical Metrology stage for low cost LTP applications

This mechanical bearing stage provides an entry level alternative to our proven metrology benches, for less demanding applications. Intended for granite mounting, it has 1200mm travel but other travels are available upon request. Depending on the travel the accuracy is 2micron after error mapping, 10arcseconds roll, pitch and yaw and 6micron flatness and straightness.

XAAR

High speed test system delivers new levels of precision

This print head test and development system offers substrate speeds of up to 5m/sec while maintaining straightness and flatness variations of better than 5 microns. With an integral A3 size vacuum chuck and a full width stage on the reverse side of the bridge, the system can also be fitted with optical inspection hardware for results analysis.

rotary tip tilt stage

Rotary-Tip-Tilt Stage completes the picture on Optical Metrology

This RTT stage has been installed in several optics labs around the world to complete the mechanics of state of the art X-ray mirror metrology systems. It delivers 5 degrees of tip and tilt plus 305 degrees of rotation, enabling alignment of the subject under test (SUT), measurements at defined angles, enabling stitching of measurement results of stronger curved mirrors and full end-to-end flipping without disturbing the stable measuring environment.

sharper

Turn key machine for characterizing optical components.

SHARPeR is a Eurostars project that has resulted in a new high accuracy automated metrology platform for extremely high quality optical components needed for example in synchrotron beamlines, EUV lithography systems and telescopes. For example X-ray mirrors in excess of one meter length can be characterized with a slope error accuracy better than 50nrad rms.

The system consists of three main elements:

• A highly stable and repeatable multi-axes motion platform including rotation and tip-tilt stages

• A high precision wavefront sensor with an absolute accuracy of λ/1000 rms

• An advanced stitching algorithm for high accuracy results

The basic version of the platform consists of 2 linear axes enabling longitudinal motion for scanning and transversal travelling to expand the range of the characterization area. Optionally, rotation and tip-tilt can be added. Thus enabling the user to flip the optical component under test without disturbing the measurement by manual interference. The new ultra-high precision Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor is integrated in an optical head to provide 2D slope/height maps. The surface under test can be oriented horizontally or vertically to match the actually used configuration.

This complete metrology platform is designed for manufacturers without beamline access to deliver optical surfaces of extreme precision as required for, e.g., focusing or transferring x-rays in synchrotron applications. The platform is available with or without Shack-Hartmann sensor in case the user should wish to integrate his own measurement equipment. The complete turn key solution can be obtained from our partner in this project, Imagine Optic

Thanks to Eurostars funding, two world leading companies are now working together to combine their expertise and deliver the complete turnkey system. Imagine Optic (France) developed the ultra-high precision Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor (HASO UHP) with exceptional wavefront measurement accuracy up to λ/1000 rms. Q-sys (Netherlands) developed the highly stable motion platform with excellent specifications, ideal for optical metrology.

Eurostars        Eurostars Eureka European Community

laser direct imaging

High Accuracy Bespoke system for a R&D laser application

This test system was required for specific R&D tasks in the field of laser direct imaging. It was developed based on customer specifications. For the 2 independent Z axes a repeatability of 1µm was required. These two Z-axes are located above a horizontal 300mm linear stage, which is driven by a linear motor. The stage delivers a speed of 500mm/sec with tracking errors better than 1.5µm. The system is built inside a safety enclosure with a special foil in order to filter light with specific wave lengths.

(0273) ESRF motion platform #1

Motion platform with four degrees of freedom

In several beamlines at The European Synchrotron (ESRF) in Grenoble, devices called transfocators are installed and are used for focusing X-rays. The transfocator can be used with other monochromators and/or with other focusing elements. These devices, which consist of a number of co-axial circular lenses, need to be carefully aligned to the X-ray beam. For this particular application, Q-Sys has developed and built a motion platform with four degrees of freedom that enables the precise alignment of these devices. In order to keep the platform very compact while maintaining stiffness and stability, a three-wedge construction has been used. The platform provides two linear movements, one horizontal and one vertical, plus rotation around each of the linear movements. By working in close co-operation with the ESRF engineers and with some imaginative design approaches, Q-Sys was able to provide a solution that met all requirements of both performance and cost.

Z-wedge stage

Z-wedge Lift Stage

To further enhance and broaden the range of standard stages available, we are pleased to introduce the QW-R-10 vertical lift Z-wedge stage. This stage compliments our existing range of linear and rotary stages and allows multi-axis systems to be created for applications requiring height or autofocus adjustment such as visual inspection and laser processing. The datasheet is available for immediate download from the download section of this website.

autocollimator calibration

High Precision Calibration Platform

This 3 axis platform was designed to meet very specific customer requirements and forms the central part of a new autocollimator calibration facility. It has one linear axis and 2 rotary axes, all direct driven. The autocollimator under test is mounted on a long travel linear stage running on air bearings on a precision lapped granite base. Because of the type of instrument being calibrated, angular errors are extremely important. Over its full travel of 1.5m, this linear stage delivers pitch, roll and yaw errors of less than 5μrad. Two reference autocollimators can be mounted on the fixed granite column as part of the measurement system. Finally, a cube shaped optical reflector is mounted on the stacked rotation axes. These enable the reflector to be quickly and accurately positioned with an angular repeatability of better than 0.1 μrad! The system is installed in a clean room at one of Europe’s foremost standards institutes and stands on six vibration isolation feet that are linked to provide a three point support for the granite base. A full controls package and installation service were also provided.

CNC controller

Laser system upgrade extends life and increases functionality

Q-Sys has recently completed an upgrade of the CNC controller for a customer with an existing laser processing machine. In this particular case the existing configuration was a 4-axis machining center which included the integration of three different laser sources. The upgrade to the system was needed to both replace the old motion controller with an up-do-date alternative and to include a fourth laser source and an extra axis controlling a galvanometer head. The project started with a list of needs and wants from the customer – some ‘must haves’ and the rest ‘ wishes’. This was translated by Q-Sys into a full technical solution defining all aspects of the proposed system upgrade. In this case we also included the ability to control the power of any laser as a function of the velocity vector of the axes. In order to maintain the cost of the upgrade within a set budget it was agreed to recycle as many parts of the old system as possible while keeping in mind the need to maximise system reliability. In this way and even though some parts of the system have seen several years’ service, the customer has achieved a new lease of life for the machine with modern controls and increased flexibility at a fraction of the cost of a completely new installation.

XY

Customer helped out of trouble with replica

This XY table is an excellent example of the service Q-Sys offers its clients. This customer was faced with an unexpected redesign of his machine when the existing product became unavailable from the supplier. Q-Sys was able to produce a 1:1 interchangeable XY table to provide continuity of supply with no mechanical changes. This resulted in significant cost and time savings for the client.

BNL

Single axis high performance air bearing stage for optical metrology applications

Comprising a granite air bearing beam mounted on a matched pair of riser blocks, the stage delivers just under 1m travel in either constant speed or step and hold modes, with a heat dissipation of around 0.5W. This enables extremely precise measurements to be carried out with the stage sited in a thermally stable enclosure. The special carriage construction delivers the ultimate in smooth motion for the optics assembly. Pitch, roll and yaw errors are all better than 2 arcseconds while straightness and flatness are better than 2 microns. Variations on this design are available, including travels up to 1500mm if required.

RX Solutions

7 axes high precision measurement platform.

This seven axis measurement platform is specifically designed to meet the customer’s exacting requirements. It incorporates five horizontal air bearings axes and two vertical ballscrew stages. Used for a measurement process, the rotary table has a 300kg payload and a through slot in the base to enable measurements to be made both from above and below. The platform is built on a rigid granite structure and uses the high-precision lapped surfaces as bearing guideways to maintain extremely small angular errors, particularly important on a platform of this size with travels between 500mm and 1400mm. Ironless linear motors and non-contact encoders are combined to deliver high levels of precision with extremely smooth motion.

Micronix

XY platform for laser cutting process development.

This XY platform is going to be used for developing and refining a new laser cutting process. The machine that will evolve from this will enable thicker materials to be cut at higher speeds but still using a relatively low power laser. With travels of 600x600mm, this platform is at the centre of the first full working prototype and reaches speeds of 1m/sec with a 20kg payload, while retaining a positioning repeatability of 1μm. Other specifications of the stages are individual straightness of motion better than 10μm and flatness over full travel better than 15μm. These stages are available in various stroke lengths and can be combined in different ways to suit different applications. They can also be used with a wide variety of motion controls to suit individual user preferences.

ECN

3 axis platform for laser machining

Designed in close cooperation with the customer, the system has travels of 600mm on the base, 1300mm along the bridge and 200mm in the vertical. The base plate design also incorporates the facility to add reel-to-reel hardware at a later stage. The axes have a positioning repeatability of better than 1 micron and absolute accuracies of 3.5 microns. The system comes complete with a CNC controller. The finished system will be used to explore various laser processes including solar cell production.

Micronix

Laser cutting station.

The gantry provides OEMs attractive opportunities especially if they are looking for an XYZ platform with excellent repeatability and absolute accuracy. Use has been made of a granite base which, for aesthetic reasons, remains visible. The design of the gantry beam is on the basis of a structure with internal damping. As a result, very good dynamic properties are achieved. Both the X and the Y-motion is driven by means of linear motors. Depending on the control system, which can be chosen on the basis of customer preference, the integrated Z-axis can perform the function of auto focus.

Minerva

Laser cutting station.

This laser cutting station uses a bespoke motion platform. After integration with a laser the end user will use the machine for precision cutting of thin material. The CNC controller allows the laser power to be modulated to match the vectored cutting speed. By using a sensor the controller can maintain a constant distance between cutting head and material. This, combined with the controller laser power, ensures a high quality cut. The station has travels of 600x600mm plus 100mm in Z but Q-Sys are able to offer a range of travels to suit individual applications, including part rotation if required.

upgrade cnc 2000 controller

Controller upgrade

While capital expenditure budgets remain under tight control, more users are finding that a new lease of life can be achieved with an overhaul of their existing hardware combined with replacement of the controls system with an up-to-date alternative. While motion stages have changed little in recent years, control systems are continually evolving. The latest system to receive such attention from Q-Sys is a laser cutting station where the motion stages and laser have many years of service left in them — replacing the old controller will increase reliability and extend the system usability for some time.

Motion and positioning system field support and upgrades

Q-Sys is pleased to announce a service and support facility for owners and operators of high performance motion and positioning systems. Following last year’s closure of Anorad’s European offices, existing owners of Anorad systems have very limited options for technical support – not a satisfactory situation for the large installed base in the UK and mainland Europe.

Q-Sys was formed in 2007 by four senior managers from Anorad to continue the tradition of designing and building high specification motion platforms. Alongside this expertise, Q-Sys engineers are familiar with the majority of system hardware in use in Europe and are able to provide a comprehensive maintenance and repair service. This can range from the occasional call to rectify a system problem - through routine planned maintenance for essential production machines - all the way to full upgrades and refits on older or more heavily used equipment. This can of course incorporate full controller upgrades to take advantage of the significant improvements in hardware and software in recent years. Sometimes this can be the cost effective way to keep a system running longer and delay the need for more significant capital expenditure on whole system replacement.

Service support can be arranged either on an as required basis or through a managed service contract providing scheduled service visits, with emergency call out if required.