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News

Silicon carbide XY air-bearing stage for ultra-precise motion

Aerotech : 17 April, 2015  (New Product)
Aerotech has developed the PlanarHDX, an advanced planar air-bearing platform. It has been designed using an FEA-optimised silicon carbide structure and air-bearing compensation to provide the highest possible dynamic performance while maintaining unparalleled geometric characteristics and positioning accuracy.
Silicon carbide XY air-bearing stage for ultra-precise motion
PlanarHDX structural elements using silicon carbide ceramic have a specific stiffness (elastic modulus/density) five times higher than aluminium and a coefficient of thermal expansion approximately five times lower. The resulting material and FEA-optimised structure enable 1.5m/s scan speeds and 5g peak acceleration, with a payload of up to 20kg for extremely high throughput processing – without sacrificing dynamic tracking, geometric performance, or thermal stability.
 
Other design enhancements include a new air-bearing compensation strategy that increases stiffness and load capacity for demanding high-dynamic applications. Using air-on-air preloading in critical bearing elements improves turnaround and settling times over vacuum-preloaded designs. A proprietary reaction-mass design dramatically reduces stage-induced forces in the step-axis that are transferred to the isolation system or structure (optics, sensors, etc). By minimising these dynamic forces, move-and-settle time is reduced and process throughput is increased.
 
The PlanarHDX is available with passive or active isolation systems. Additional axes such as Z-tip-tilt or Z-theta designs as well as custom wafer load/unload mechanisms and wafer chucks are available. Machine weldments, complex granite base structures, or enclosures can also be provided. Feedback options include low-expansion glass scale encoders or interferometer.
 
Many advanced control features such as Directional Gain Scheduling, Iterative Learning Control, and Harmonic Cancellation are available to easily, quickly, and efficiently optimize an installation. The ETM (Enhanced Throughput Module) option helps improve the positioning performance of high-dynamic motion systems by directly measuring and compensating for the unwanted motion of the machine base.
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