Innovations in motion control often times happen in a small, under-the-radar kind of way. Such is the case with Weiss North America and their HP70 Pick-and-Place direct-drive module, released in the U.S. earlier this year.
A unique mechanical “knuckle” design produces motion in the vertical axis, eliminating the need for a separate motor or actuator for vertical motion. The motion comes from using two thin direct-drive linear motors, one on top of the other, connected to the mechanism. The relative motion of each motor in the horizontal direction causes motion in the vertical direction via the knuckle mechanism. Also, both motors are encapsulated in fixed casings, so no moving cables are required either outside or inside the housing.
An earlier design used a separate motor for motion in the vertical axis, which made the units wider. By eliminating the motor for vertical motion, the new HP70 design cuts the width almost in half, allowing more pick-and-place units to be placed in the same area or footprint.
The innovative design won an award at Automatica 2012, the International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics in the assembly category.
Check out a video of the HP70 in action: