Servo Drives for Gantry Systems | Benefits Explained

small gantry systemWhile often simple in appearance, gantry systems require a sophisticated design with linear motors and servo drives to operate with high speed and precision.

Whether it’s a low travel gantry system or a fully automated, high acceleration model, servo control solutions provide the precision, speed, and intelligence necessary to power your application.

What is a Gantry System?

As a general definition, gantries are simply a frame with moving components that support and move a load. The structure can vary. Sometimes the entire frame can move along rails. In other designs, the rails are attached to the frame and a device moves along them, and in some cases, it’s a combination of both.

medium gantry systemGantry robots or linear robots, leverage a manipulator to create movement along a horizontal plane. Gantries can provide full x-y-z along a Cartesian plane, moving objects at high speeds and even picking them and placing them.

Gantries range in size from industrial overhead gantries that can lift and move car engines in a factory, or shipping containers in a shipping yard, to small desktop gantries that perform automated tasks.

large gantry systemSmall gantry systems are often featured in the following applications: automation, robotic assembly, pick and place machines, 3D printing, and electronic assembly.

Large gantries are overhead structures for heavy loads often featured in automotive factories, aerospace facilities, shipping yards, and assembly plants. These larger gantries are more likely to use rotary motors with wheels, gears, or pully systems instead of linear motors.

Medium gantry systems are for tasks that fall in between. These systems can be used for moving loads overhead or below. In addition, they can be fitted with tools such as cutting torches for large machining applications. In some cases, medium-sized gantries could be used for entertainment purposes, moving cameras, set pieces, or even actors.

Understanding Gantry System Motion

gantry system linear motorDepending on size and application, gantry systems can be operated with start/stop controls or with intelligent control features. Small gantries most often run autonomously with predefined programs. Most medium overhead gantries are operated with start and stop controls. Large gantries are commonly operated with manual controls.

Intelligent lift assist mode is often used on large gantries to allow operators to lift heavier loads than a standard medium factory model. The gantry applies force that mirrors the operator’s movements in a way that gives operators precise control that feels like a natural extension of their body.

Finally, gantries ranging from small desktop models to full sized factory models are often run and powered by servo drive control.

How Servo Drives Power Gantry Systems

small gantry system with servo motorsGantries that are supported by rails on two sides can bind if their motion isn’t coordinated.  To prevent binding, servo drives can be implemented to coordinate their motion. Beyond this, servo drives can assist large vertical axes in handling regeneration.

For this reason, linear brushless servo motors and drives are often employed on small to medium sized models. Servo drives with position control on all axes can precisely position a load in 3D space, reliably handle regeneration, and move hundreds of feet of load, among other duties.

For desktop applications, AMC offers small servo drives with a DC supply voltage of 48V. For larger applications, servo drives with 3 phase 220VAC are employed.

3D printing gantry motorWith encoder feedback, servo drives provide the coordination, speed, and rotary positioning required to power the simplest and most advanced gantry system motion requirements.

Finally, AMC offers servo drives for gantry systems that operate over the CANopen, EtherCAT, and POWERLINK networks.

For more information about servo drives for gantry systems or if you need help finding the right motion control application, contact us today!