Custom Motion Systems Made Easy

| Chris Williams

Custom Motion Systems

Getting Started with Motion Applications

As a designer and/or user of industrial automation systems, you likely have something you need to move back and forth or up and down or spin around. You typically need your system to move many hundreds or thousands of times per day, and you need the motion to be precise and repeatable. That’s a motion system! It’s a critical part of your manufacturing process and an integral part of your overall automation system.

Let’s talk about automated motion. You might have an arm (fixture, tooling) of some sort. The end of this arm could be a welder, a dispenser, a gripper, or a tool for pressing parts. The arm itself is your fixed piece of hardware with a requirement for 2-Axis (XY) or 3-Axis (XYZ) movement.

  • Quick Review: 2-Axis (XY) means moving back and forth in a single plane (image shown below)
  • Quick Review: 3-Axis movement (XYZ) means moving back and forth, and up and down, often simultaneously in multiple planes (image shown below)

The design of custom motion systems has come a long way in the past few years. Using proven new technology can simplify your process and reduce overall design time. The purpose of this post is to provide valuable resources and tips to do so, making your job easier. We also want to provide quick “helpful notes” as we go. To that end, here are two basic guidelines:

  1. “Rule of Thumb.” Typically, an XYZ system will be more complex than an XY system and will require more engineering resources from the user.
  2. “Rule of Thumb.” Typically, as your cycle time decreases, the demands on your system will be more complex and will require more engineering resources from the user.

Custom XY Linear Positioning Actuators

Sometimes you need a 2- or 3-axis motion system but do not have the resources or expertise available to design and build the system in-house. It may be impossible or not practical to have the system built in house by your own design team. If you have special requirements this can be an even more challenging issue. Do you need assistance with the design and build of custom assemblies and positioning systems? Our team will use our many years of experience to help you select the right approach to a unique motion control problem.

2-Axis (XY) motion system

2-Axis (XY) motion system

Custom XYZ Linear Positioning Slides

There are many different custom systems your application could use (or be using already). The options range from one-off mechanical positioning systems to OEM multiple-quantity special components for use in a wide range of markets. Your processes may require custom units for small, medium and even large footprint applications. Contact a Motion Specialist today. Our team will review all of your application information and will help design the positioning component or system that you require.

3-Axis (XYZ) motion system

3-Axis (XYZ) motion system

Your Automation and Motion System Needs Are Customized

Let’s talk about common uses, applications, and design considerations:

  • Application: part placement machines
  • Application: special assembly machines
  • Uses: carriage assemblies
  • Application: wash down rated (ex: food & beverage industry)
  • Application: vacuum rated
  • Application: high load capacity assembly stations (ex: up to 5,000 lbs)
  • Design: special base mounting hole patterns
  • Design: nonstandard travel lengths
  • Design: specific motor mount brackets
  • Design: unique accessories such as couplings and/or encoders

There are a lot of custom options, a lot of considerations. There are, quite literally, a lot of moving parts to keep track of. Customer motion systems can be quite complex!

We Can Help You with a Custom Motion System

Are you ready to get started? Are you prepared to review the accuracy and repeatability needs of your system? Do you have parameters for load weight? Do you have a desired system speed? If so, great. You are well on your way to success. Get started with this helpful design tool from LinTech. When you use this LinTech form, there is a “Comments” field. Please enter the text “Horizon Solutions Blog” into the comments field. When you do so, you will receive a special prize/reward delivered by a member of our team.

What if you don’t have a deep understanding of system speeds and repeatability over time? We’re a resource to help you on your next Motion project. We bring experience and expertise to you and your team. Contact a Horizon Solutions Motion Control Specialist today.

Sometimes standard products do not meet application requirements. Sometimes you need a custom solution.  When you need help evaluating an application, Horizon Solutions can deliver the custom solution you need.