Earlier this year, Mike Rauch and Chris Mauban of Beckhoff were kind enough to host us at their Chicago (Woodridge, IL) office to show off some live demos that showcase the latest updates to XPlanar® and the eXtended Transport System® (XTS®).
Beckhoff has generated quite a buzz with their new XPlanar system — taking the ability to move product off a conveyor or track and, instead, bringing it to a magnetic tile system with movers that fly above the surface with 6 degrees of freedom.
New applications and ways to apply the freedom provided by XPlanar are still being discovered; high-end assembly, pharmaceuticals, and laboratory/life science automation are among the popular use cases.
The XPlanar movers float and fly above tiles in a contactless manner. They allow two dimensional (X-Y) freedom of movement but can also move up and down in the Z-axis up to 5 mm. The tiles they travel across can be mounted at 90 degree angles or even upside down for some crazy creativity.
Each mover can travel independently, allowing a lot of parallel multi-tasking and efficiency. They can also spin at up to 600 RPM, acting as a mixer or centrifuge (as shown below).
Note: the variants, speeds, payloads, surfaces, and dimensions show specifications that represent the maximum values which can be reached. Movers can be grouped to increase the total payload.
APM4220-0000-0000 | XPlanar mover, 0.4 kg payload
This is the smallest mover (about 4.5 inches squared) in the APM4xxx family and is compatible with all tiles of the type APS4xxx. The aluminum body is hard coated and can move at speeds up to 2 meters/second. This mover handles small, lightweight products (up to 0.4 kg) and can be used in bidirectional operation.
APM4221-0000-0000 | XPlanar mover, 1.0 kg payload
This mover is the second largest (about 5 inches squared) in the APM4xxx family and is very similar to the APM4220 other than its slightly larger size and an increase in payload (up to 1.0kg).
APM4330-0000-0000 | XPlanar mover, 1.5 kg payload
This mover is the all-rounder (about 6.1 inches squared) of the APM4xxx family and is also very similar to the APM4221. With a payload capacity of 1.5 kilograms, this mover is ideally suited for use as a universal tool to handle a wide variety of products. It is available in a stainless steel variant for applications with particularly demanding hygienic requirements.
APM4330-0001-0000 | XPlanar mover, 1.0 kg payload, stainless steel
This hygienic mover is completely encapsulated in stainless steel and designed to be easy to clean. At about 6.1 inches squared and with a payload capacity of 1.0 kilograms, it can move at speeds up to 2 meters/second. The mover is particularly suitable for all applications with particularly demanding hygiene requirements such as food and pharmaceutical applications.
APM4550-0000-0000 | XPlanar mover, 4.2 kg payload
This mover offers the highest payload (about 9.25 inches squared) of the APM4xxx family and is compatible with all tiles of the type APS4xxx. The aluminum body is hard coated and can move at speeds up to 2 meters/second. With a high payload capacity of 4.2 kilograms, the mover is suitable for handling larger and heavier products with few limitations
While there are a few different track-based transport systems in the market, Beckhoff’s eXtended Transport System (XTS) has some key advantages and differentiators. It’s very good for high-speeds (4 m/s 10G acceleration) and extreme repeatability and positioning (10 microns when stationary, and an amazing 0.15 mm of predictable positioning while in motion).
High-speed packaging machinery is a common application for XTS, along with assembly and laboratory projects. XTS is IP65 rated with IP69K hygienic options available as well. There are lower duty and heavier duty systems to accommodate different loads.
Comparing the Beckhoff and HepcoMotion systems
The Beckhoff-manufactured XTS guide rails and movers can carry loads between 1.8 to 2.75 pounds. With a track made of aluminum and matching movers that have plastic rollers, the lack of required lubrication allows this system to be used in the pharmaceutical industry — among others.
AT9014 | XTS Movers
This set of movers is ideal for higher payloads, higher mileage, and the smallest possible product spacing. The movers have a low overall weight and are available in 55mm and 70 mm lengths paths. The aluminum base body has partially plastic rollers and a magnetic plate set. With a high payload capacity of up to 1000 grams, the movers are suitable for flexible travel movements and individual travel paths.
XTS motor modules
XTS guide rails and movers
From our live demo: Beckhoff’s eXtended Transport System using an oval track.
Beckhoff teamed up with HepcoMotion to make a second, heavier duty XTS track option, the GFX. It allows you to mount a parallel Hepco guide rail system on XTS motor modules from Beckhoff, and it can carry loads of 11 – 33 pounds as the movers are made for increased payloads and longer service life.
Depending on your company’s load requirements, one of these two systems can be customized for your application. Another feature Beckhoff offers is the option to allow the movers to switch tracks within your system. Through XTS Track Management hardware and software, you can exchange and switch movers from track to track in multiple XTS linear transport systems, as shown below.
Picture and multimedia credits: Beckhoff Automation, all rights reserved. Beckhoff®, eXtended Transport System®, XTS® and XPlanar® are registered trademarks of and licensed by Beckhoff Automation GmbH.
Learn more about DMC’s Beckhoff expertise as part of the Beckhoff Integrator Group and contact us today to get started on your next project!