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What is the advantage of buying linear guideways with integrated linear encoder pre-installed?

Direct measurement is usually favorable over indirect position measurement.  In the case of integrating direct position measurement, there are two primary methods of adding position measurement to an axis. The first is to purchase a linear guideway with a pre-installed integrated position measurement encoder. The second is to purchase the encoder separately, and self-install on the axis.

HIWIN produces two product categories that pre-integrate sensors to the linear guideway block: PG-type and H- type linear guideways.

The PG series is a linear guideway assembly integrated with a magnetic encoder for position measurement, and is available in digital or analog signal output.  The H-type accessory is a compact design, perfect for where space is limited, and analog signal is desired. Let’s explore why a design engineer might want to use these products.

The benefit to preinstalled linear guideway position measurement is time savings in design process and installation process.

Save Time During the Design Process

Design time savings begins with working with a HIWIN engineer located in Huntley, Illinois, near Chicago.  HIWIN’s experts discuss your application with you to recommend the best solution for your needs and budget, saving you time searching online.

Lead time savings can be significant when PG position measurement linear guideways are purchased from HIWIN’s standard stocking program.  Select stocked models for faster shipment, including cutting the rail to within one millimeter.

Administratively, buying the  linear guideway block preinstalled with the encoder reduces complexity in the ordering process and saves time.  HIWIN also produces a series of digital displays that can work with PG and H encoder types.

Save Time in Installation and Operations

When the PG linear guideway from HIWIN arrives, HIWIN will have cut the rail and scale to your specification. HIWIN will assemble the encoder on the block, and the block on the rail. Scale installation is easy.  After installing the guideway rail in the machine, just apply the pre-cut, self-adhesive scale to the groove in the rail.

The time savings is a greater differentiator when parallel rails are required, or the load requires more than one block on the rail. HIWIN can provide one block with the PG measurement system and another block at a lower cost standard type. We can provide the system with these two blocks assembled on the rail before shipping.

Maintenance is easier for systems using magnetic encoders like the PG and H type linear guideways, because readings are not hindered by grease, dirt, oils or other contaminants that might get on the polymer scale.   Consider the E2 accessory, a self-lubricating block to further decrease maintenance demands.  The accessory is used on the block to store lubrication and apply consistently, to extend life and reduce maintenance.

The most impactful design time savings comes from working with a global leader in motion control because our components provide high reliability.

Pre-installed integrated magnetic encoders are often a good solution for design engineers in applications where resolution as fine as one micron is required, such as assembly, packaging and pick-and-place machinery. For complete list of models and dimensions, please see pages marked 217 – 231 in our catalog:  Linear_Guideway-E-1.pdf

How Are Smart Factories Transforming the Manufacturing Sector?

HIWIN is a premier manufacturer of motion control components and systems. We are fully committed to providing product solutions that help develop and maintain a better way of life and working environment for all. A crucial application for our products is smart factories.

Overview of Smart Factories

Smart factories are manufacturing facilities that incorporate and implement modern production, information, and communication technologies to create highly efficient and flexible processes. They connect robots and other automation technology with feedback and data collection systems to streamline the completion and management of tasks. When machine learning is added, this combination allows equipment, or the people who manage the equipment, to improve and optimize the manufacturing process. Many industry professionals predict smart factories will factor majorly in the next Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

Smart factories have reliable and predictable production capacities, maximized asset uptime, efficient production, automated production and material handling capabilities with minimized production costs.

One of the main challenges is ensuring the facilities are constructed with high-quality and long-life mechanical and electrical components. If critical pieces break down unexpectedly, the efficiencies gained by the technology can lose to higher maintenance and replacement costs, causing downtime for the facility.

Key Features of Smart Factories

Smart factories have the following characteristics:

  1. Connected systems: Smart factories have connected systems that allow data to be easily collected and transferred to collaborators when needed.
  2. Proactive design: Proactive design is essential to making an efficient and flexible manufacturing facility. Smart factories often have automated restocking and replenishment systems, predictive anomaly identification and resolution systems, real-time monitoring systems, and other proactive technologies that help identify and resolve issues before they worsen.
  3. Agile setup: An agile setup ensures a facility can adapt to changes as needed. That’s why smart factories typically have flexible scheduling and changeovers, configurable factory layouts and equipment, and quick implementation capabilities for product changes. They design for today’s requirements and prepare for changes in external and internal environments that could change.

Benefits of Smart Factories

Smart factories can be highly beneficial to manufacturers. For example:

  • They can increase asset efficiency and safety by shortening downtime/changeover time and increasing production capacity.
  • They can improve product/process quality by lowering the risk of errors, scrap rates, lead times, raising fill rates and yield.
  • They can reduce operational costs by allowing for more predictable inventory requirements and effective hiring decisions and reducing process variability and latency in response to sourcing needs.

The Importance of Quality Components in Smart Factories

While smart factories offer a variety of benefits, they are nothing without high-quality components. Mechanical and electrical components are integral to the operation and performance of smart factories. The motion control systems utilize these components to automate tasks. The production of them must keep durability and reliability in mind. Components with long lifespans and low-maintenance requirements serve as a solid basis for a successful automation project.

HIWIN: Your Expert & Partner for Quality Smart Factory Components

If you are an automation integrator looking for quality components for a smart factory project, HIWIN is the ideal source! We offer a wide range of top-rated motion control components with standard and customized motion systems. From mechanical and mechatronic solutions to industrial robotics like our articulated robots, we can help you find the right standard or custom motion solution. To learn more about the advantages of our products in successful smart factory projects, contact us today.

HIWIN USA Celebrates 30th Anniversary

We proudly announce that September 15th, 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of HIWIN Corporation’s journey in providing best-in-class motion control and systems technology in North America. From our start focusing solely on ballscrews, we have grown into one of the industry leaders in linear, rotary, and multi-axis motion by offering a robust suite of products powering the automation of processes for businesses across the Medical, Laboratory, Packaging, and Manufacturing industries.

In 1992, HIWIN entered the United States market by establishing a subsidiary in a small 4,000-square-foot facility in Glenview, Illinois. The goal of this new business unit was to bring HIWIN’s advanced ballscrew technology from Taiwan to the North American market.

The HIWIN brand became rapidly recognized across the industrial space for its engineering expertise. The professionalism and dedication of that first team made quite an impact through hands-on customer contact and service interactions. Demand for new products grew quickly and it became clear that the Glenview facility was not able to handle the needs of the business going forward – it was time to move.

A facility that could handle the demand for HIWIN products was located in Mount Prospect, IL, and opened its doors in 1998. Orders continued to grow and HIWIN’s market presence continued to rapidly expand – both in customer count and products offered. This forced another move to a larger facility in 2008 in Elgin, IL.

Through this period of accelerated growth, it became clear that HIWIN needed a location that could grow with the business to ensure continued success. HIWIN needed a location that could provide a transportation hub for the U.S. and North America in the center of the U.S. and have access to a qualified, local workforce, capable of fulfilling staffing needs at all levels.

Leadership identified a 15-acre site in Huntley, Illinois’ Corporate Park that would provide for those needs and offer additional land for future expansion. In 2015, the Village Board of Huntley, Illinois, approved the construction of the current 120,000 sq ft office and warehouse. Construction began in 2016, and the team moved into the new facility in early February 2017.

The new HIWIN Corporation headquarters boasts a spacious training facility with expanded product displays and a state-of-the-art quality and engineering lab for HIWIN engineers to ensure standards. Attached is our ISO 9001-certified distribution center featuring a state-of-the-art automated order picking system; expanding machining and assembly areas capable of storing over 2 million pounds of product. This new automation capability ensures the fastest lead times and the on-time delivery of products to meet customer requests. At the same time, we have expanded our Authorized Distributor network to 21 locations. 13 of these distributors are strategically located in the U.S., 6 in Mexico, and 2 in Canada to continue our growth and service to our customers.

The expanded facilities are the result of HIWIN’s aggressive development of new technology patents in mechanical, electrical, and robotic systems. This resulted in the release of new products in the mechatronic and electronic domains (linear motor components and stages, direct drive and torque motor rotary tables, AC Servo motors, drives, industrial robotics, torque motor rotary tables, controllers, and Datorker® strain wave gearing systems), offering customers guaranteed compatibility and a single motion system supplier.

Along the way, HIWIN has been recognized worldwide for providing precision and reliability in the motion control space.

As space, products, services, and capabilities have expanded over the years – it has all been made possible by a highly qualified and experienced team of people. Our large staff is dedicated to serving our customers with the best solutions, quality, and service possible. As we look to the future, President Joe Jou shared, “We have the products, the technology, and intelligence, and stand ready to meet the demands of new applications to power the future of the industry – whatever the demands may be.” Our journey continues as the world’s leader in motion control and system technology with unmatched precision and reliability.

Linear Stages

HIWIN Corporation is a global pioneer in the precision manufacturing industry, having obtained over 2,250 patents in more than 34 countries. With start-to-finish control of our manufacturing protocols and a complete in-house machining process, our components meet the strictest international quality standards with ISO, JIS, REACH, RoHS, Ce, and UL compliance. We stock hundreds of items that are ready to ship on demand, and our expert technicians are capable of designing custom components as well as entire motion systems per your exact specifications.

Our products range from precision components such as guideways and ball screws to compact single axis stages to full systems including multiple axis configurations with motors, drives, and controllers. One thing we specialize in is our linear stages. Driven by a ballscrew, belt, or linear motor, these compact and customizable units both propel and guide the payload along a single axis. Standalone or combined into a multi-axis system, HIWIN linear stages are suitable for a wide range of industrial applications, from woodworking to additive manufacturing to precision semiconductor processing and metrology. Using time-tested, low friction bearings and components, HIWIN stages can in some cases drastically increase a system’s productivity and efficiency.

What Are Linear Stages?

Also known as translation or linear motion stages, linear stages are essentially positioning devices. At their most basic, they consist of a drive mechanism that propels the load, a bearing or guideway which handles any non-axial loading and ensures the load travels along a straight path, and some sort of base which connects these two elements. Stages typically require a motor to drive them; this may be integrated into the stage or easily coupled to it. Position feedback may be direct (as in a linear encoder on the stage) or indirect (as in a rotary encoder on the motor which drives the belt or ballscrew). Finally, it is common for additional functions such as dust protection or cable management to be considered in the design of the stage.

The essential function of a linear stage is achieving the precise, replicable motion of the carriage or payload in relation to the base. Having the elements pre-assembled into a stage ensures that the precision alignment required between the drive and guidance components is taken care of by the manufacturer, simplifying the process for the customer. This modular approach also allows end-users, integrators, or the manufacturers themselves to stack and align them into multi-axis systems. Common structures include cantilevered x-y, gantry, and x-y-z systems. Their versatility and quality make them excellent candidates for industrial and scientific tasks requiring superior accuracy, uniformity, and efficiency.

How Do Linear Stages Work?

Both ball screw and belt technologies convert the torque and rotational speed of a rotary motor to force and linear velocity along the axis of travel. In linear motor stages, the magnet track is applied along the full length of the axis, allowing the motor to directly drive the linear motion. Because the drive mechanism (belt, ball screw, or linear motor) is only intended to provide force in one direction (axial force), a guideway or other mechanism is required to guide the load and handle any non-axial forces, such as weight or offset loading. The guide component of the linear stage restricts movement on five of the six degrees of freedom to ensure the moving platform travels linearly and repeatably.

Precision linear stages are typically driven by a servo motor and drive, often in connection with a programmable controller. This configuration requires closed-loop feedback in the form of an encoder. For linear motor stages, a linear encoder is used. The encoder scale is normally mounted along the length of the axis while the encoder is mounted on the carriage and travels with the payload. Ballscrew and belt-driven stages usually make use of the rotary encoder built into the servomotor, but they can also be designed to accept direct encoder feedback in the form of a linear encoder. Some drives, like the HIWIN E1 drive, even allow for dual-loop feedback which takes into account both the motor feedback and that of a linear encoder to provide outstanding control and precision.

Innovative Linear Stages From HIWIN Corporation

Advances in linear stage technology have increased precision, performance, control, and cost-effectiveness over the past decades. Demand has surged with advances in computerized control, along with a renewed focus on automation and industry 4.0 within the manufacturing ecosystem. It is the simplicity of the principles behind their design, however, that has led to varieties of linear stage equipment that are both increasingly reliable and highly innovative. HIWIN in particular provides many customized, dust-proof, and cost-efficient motion control technologies with easy installation for many different industries. With proper set-up and use, a linear stage provides high efficiency and extremely accurate product fabrication, assembly, testing, and many other robotically controlled large-scale processing of equipment or materials.

HIWIN Corporation aims to create a better way of life and a better working environment the world over with motion control and system technology. Our linear stage devices are ultra-quiet and require little energy to run, as compared to alternative technologies. To learn more or obtain a quote for your linear stage motion control needs, contact us today.

What Are Cartesian Robots?

Cartesian robots move according to Cartesian coordinate geometry in one-, two-, or three-dimensional space. These robots move along one to three linear axes that intersect at the point of origin at 90° angles. The x-axis allows the robot to move back and forth, the y-axis allows side-to-side movement, and on the z-axis, the robot moves up and down. Easily programmable and controllable, Cartesian robots move to a particular point in space according to the coordinates along the three axes, lending them to a wide variety of industrial applications.

Cartesian vs. Gantry Robots

Cartesian robots are stages attached in an x-, y-, and z-axis configuration using joining brackets. Based on the controller’s instructions, the actuators slide linearly along each axis according to the given Cartesian coordinates. Some Cartesian robots have only one linear actuator per axis and the axis’ load is only supported on one end, or cantilevered, by the axis below it. Having the point of interest and work area offset from the lower axis will allow for easier part removal, reduce the amount of additional structure required, and lower costs due to the consolidation of axes.

Gantry robots are a type of Cartesian robot that is dual driven by two x-axes acting as a base for the robot with a y-axis running between them as a single beam. This means the load is both supported and driven by the two x-axes allowing for an increase in load capacities and a longer stage length with reduced deflection due to the static loads, inertial loads, and external loads.

Benefits of Cartesian Robotics

Cartesian robots have some key advantages, including:

  • Cost-efficiency. Cartesian robots are a simplistic design that uses standard components.
  • Construction. These robots are compact in size but scaleable to fit their application, and they can function with just about any linear actuator used with options for drive mechanisms.
  • Movement. With three or more axes of virtually any length, these robots have straight-line, rapid acceleration and overall movement capabilities.
  • Precision. Their robotic tasks are highly repeatable and accurate.
  • Versatility. Cartesian robots are highly adaptable, customizable, and reconfigurable.
  • Strength. These dependable robots can carry anything from light to heavy loads, as well as hanging loads, for longer distances.
  • Stability. Cartesian robots hold up against vibrations and deflection.

Cartesian Robot Applications

Robotic automation can make just about any manufacturing plant or warehouse more efficient and cost-effective. In addition, using Cartesian robots can keep workers safe by handling tasks that may cause safety risks. Cartesian robots can fill anything from general automation roles to more complex ones within a wide range of industries:

Manufacturing

  • Assembly line transfer
  • CNC machining
  • Component assembling
  • Driving and fastening screws
  • Precision welding
  • Printing and plotting
  • Product inspecting and testing
  • Waterjet or laser cutting

Warehousing

  • Camera positioning and scanning
  • Cutting and scribing packaging
  • Feeding and removing packaging on a line
  • Incorporating into lifts and elevators
  • Packaging, palletizing, stacking, and unitizing
  • Sorting, indexing, and labeling
  • Unit loading or unloading

Pharmaceutical & Medical

  • Dispensing materials
  • Filling containers
  • Processing lab samples

HIWIN can provide Cartesian robots using a variety of readily available products. The selection of the actuators is highly dependent on the application and all specifications associated with it. Some items that could affect the chosen cartesian type are:

  • Payload weight and offset
  • Operating temperature
  • Speed and acceleration
  • Stroke

When considering a Cartesian robot’s size for a given application, not only do you need to calculate the weight of the total load, but also the weight on each axis of the robot. If you do not factor in the weight of each axis, this can put a strain on the motor. This is especially true of cantilevered Cartesian robots where the axes are only supported on one end. If a heavy load is out on the edge unsupported, this can harm the motor as well, shortening its lifetime. Ultimately, it is important to keep the weight on the z-axis light, and then carefully calculate the weights for the other axes to determine the proper load.

Industrial Robotics at HIWIN Corporation

Since 1989, HIWIN Corporation has applied innovative technology to products such as motors, positioning measurement systems, gearing systems, servo drives, controllers, and industrial robotics. In our industrial robotics product line, we offer articulated, SCARA, Delta, and Cartesian robots. Our factories maintain ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications to ensure we are offering consistent quality to our customers.

Contact us for more information about a Cartesian robot solution for your project or to request a quote.

Linear Motors

HIWIN Corporation’s team of engineers design high-quality standard and custom motion control products. We offer competitive pricing on our wide selection of inventory, and we are happy to accommodate even the most precise motion system requirements.

Linear motors transfer electrical energy into contactless driven linear motion. Linear motors are widely used for applications that require high precision in a wide range of industries including automation, semi-conductor, and medical.

What Is a Linear Motor?

HIWIN produces Permanent Magnet Linear Synchronous Motors (PMLSM). HIWIN’s linear motors work similarly to standard 3 phase permanent magnet rotary motors and hold a similar structure. If you were to cut a 3-phase AC synchronous motor on an edge and flatten it out, the rotary motor would then become a linear motor producing a linear force rather than a rotational torque.

Compared to other drive mechanisms, linear motors are low maintenance, offer fast response times, and are backlash-free. HIWIN offers a wide range of linear motor components and types than can achieve high levels of accuracy. HIWIN also offers single-axis stages or multi-axis systems as a drop-in solution to eliminate design time.

How Do Linear Motors Work?

A conventional 3-phase AC synchronous rotary motor uses a central rotor with magnets and a stationary rotary coil that generates a rotating magnetic field. A linear motor follows the same principles but with the coil typically being the moving part and the magnets being the stationary part. The magnets used are often high-strength permanent magnets to increase the force density. All HIWIN motors are closed-loop servos and require a position feedback system such as a linear encoder. A servo drive uses the position feedback attached to the moving carriage to coordinate the output to each of the 3 phases, allowing for smooth motion and high positional accuracy.

HIWIN offers two motor types: Iron-core and Ironless.

Iron Core Linear Motors
Iron-core motors are ideal for high-speed, high acceleration, point-to-point applications. The iron-core motors offer an estimated 0.5 to 0.75 N per cubic centimeter. The LMSA series is HIWIN’s standard iron-core series offering a max continuous force of 1,579N and a max peak force of 4,458 N.

The LMFA is HIWIN’s water-cooled iron-core series. The LMFA has an optimized coolant path built into the motor. By forcing coolant through the motor to remove heat, the motor can achieve higher continuous forces. The LMFA offers a max continuous force of 7,917 N and a max peak force of 20,827 N.

Ironless Core Linear Motors
HIWIN Ironless linear motors eliminate magnetic cogging and the normal attraction force due to the lack of a ferrous core. The Ironless linear motor is ideal for applications that require smooth motion and low settling times. The LMC is HIWIN’s standard ironless U-shaped motor that features a high dynamic response and low inertia. This series has a max continuous force of 1,003 N and a max peak force of 4,012 N. Air cooling is available to increase the continuous force on select models.

HIWIN’s LMT series is a shaft motor that offers a compact, condensed alternative to the LMC. The LMT series can achieve a max continuous force of 642 N and a max peak force of 2569 N.

High-Quality Linear Motors from Hiwin Corporation

Linear motors are an integral part of many applications. At HIWIN, we offer a broad range of standard and custom linear motor solutions to fulfill any project need. Contact us to learn how our products can serve you, or request a quote for specific pricing details.