Apr 09, 2023

A new dimension of manufacturing

By Sponsored Content | March 15, 2023

With ACOPOS 6D, B&R heralds a new era of manufacturing. Shuttles carry individual products freely through the machine, powered by magnetic levitation. Gone are the days when conventional transport systems imposed rigidly defined timing on the production process. ACOPOS 6D enables economical small-batch production with frequent changeover between products of different designs and dimensions. ACOPOS 6D opens up entirely new possibilities. Machine builders can forget every preconception of what a machine looks like and open up entirely new markets with disruptive machine designs. The footprint of existing machines and lines can be reduced dramatically. ACOPOS 6D is based on the principle of magnetic levitation: Shuttles with integrated permanent magnets float over the surface of electromagnetic motor segments. The modular motor segments are 240 x 240 millimeters in size and can be arranged freely in any shape. A variety of shuttle sizes carry payloads of 0.6 to 14 kilograms and reach speeds of up to 2 meters per second. They can move freely in two-dimensional space, rotate and tilt along three axes and offer precise control over the height of levitation. Altogether, that gives them six degrees of motion control freedom.

Compact and adaptive with intelligence built right into the transport system, complexity is reduced throughout the rest of the machine. Processing stations can be simplified or eliminated entirely, reducing hardware costs, and shrinking the footprint while making the machine more adaptive. ACOPOS 6D shuttles can be used as axes in processing stations, introducing intelligence right where it is needed. A shuttle carrying a workpiece could follow a CNC path, for example, allowing the processing tool to be mounted rigidly. Weighing stations are no longer needed, since each shuttle can also serve as a high-precision scale. ACOPOS 6D also offers up to four times the shuttle density of other systems on the market through the unique ability to control four shuttles on the same motor segment simultaneously.

Zero wear

ACOPOS 6D shuttles levitate freely without any contact or friction. With no abrasive wear, there are no parts to be maintained. The motor segments can be covered with a sheet of stainless steel or other food-safe materials, enabling the ACOPOS 6D to be used in cleanrooms and food and beverage production

Fully integrated

ACOPOS 6D is fully integrated in the B&R ecosystem. That allows the shuttles to be synchronized with servo axes, robots, track systems and machine vision cameras with microsecond precision. Path planning for the shuttles occurs in a dedicated controller, connected to the machine network via POWERLINK – which means it has no impact on the performance of the network or machine control system. For systems with more than 200 segments or 50 shuttles, multiple controllers can be synchronized with each other

Easy setup

ACOPOS 6D offers nearly limitless possibilities in machine design, yet is remarkably easy to set up. Sophisticated algorithms ensure the shuttles follow an optimal path while avoiding collisions and minimizing energy consumption. Developers are free to concentrate on their primary task: developing optimal machine processes that deliver maximum productivity

Micron precision

Unlike comparable systems, each ACOPOS 6D shuttle is assigned a globally unique ID. At startup, the controller immediately knows the location of each shuttle on the motor segments, and production can begin without timeconsuming homing sequences or manual input by an operator. The shuttles offer a positioning repeatability of ±5 µm, making ACOPOS 6D perfectly suited for applications with strict positioning requirements, like those in the electronics industry and in the assembly of mechanical and electronic components

Learn more about ACOPOS 6D here and watch videos of ACOPOS 6D in action.

Sponsored content by B&R Industrial Automation

Zero wear Fully integrated Easy setup Micron precision