Dispensing involves printing organic and inorganic components on various substrates including paper, plastics and textiles. Dispensing encompasses applications including printed electronics, 3D printing and conformal coatings. Overall system accuracy and throughput are important requirements in these applications to dispense along complex contours. Aerotech's product line is specifically designed with these requirements in mind. Common configurations include gantries, split bridge assemblies and 5 - 6 axis degree of freedom (DOF) systems.
Printed electronics involves printing functional electronic circuits, such as OLED displays, electroluminescent lighting, stretchable electronics, wearable sensors, RFID tags and photovoltaic panels on a variety of media. Aerotech motion systems are built for reliability and flexibility, allowing you to bring printed electronics concepts to reality.
6-Axis DOF Dispensing System
- Split axis, 6 degrees of freedom assembly allows dispensing on complex contours
- Precision rotational axis of intersection alignments minimize three dimensional stack-up errors at the workpoint.
- Multi-axis position synchronized output (PSO) couples your dispensing head directly to the encoder feedback for consistent deposition, regardless of the contour complexity or velocity variability, which allows for the highest possible throughput.
- Direct-drive rotary axes exhibit high acceleration and zero backlash for ultra-smooth velocity regulation.
Position Synchronized Dual-Head Dispensing
- Dual-head configuration allows for two tool points which in turn doubles the process capabilities over the same work area.
- Aerotech controllers provide coordinated motion between work-points, creating harmonized motion.
- Systems offered in both “T” style and “H” style gantries (“T” style shown below).
Printing organic structures has opened up new frontiers in medical research. Printing 3D cell structures provides a better model for studying interactions between cells and growth factors or chemical agents as opposed to traditional 2D cell cultures grown in a dish.
Additionally, printing bone scaffolds helps cells heal in severe fractures. Here, pore size of the scaffold is critical to allow cells the ideal environment to grow. Typical pore sizes are hundreds of microns in diameter and require micron-level precision to construct, a core competency of Aerotech systems.
Compact 3-Axis Assemblies
- Ultra-compact, modular direct-drive axes exhibit excellent in-position stability with no hysteresis or backlash, enabling submicron accuracy and repeatability for precise deposition.
- Nanometer performance (1 nm step size) in a large-travel footprint.
- Compact design, pneumatic Z.
- Anti-creep crossed-roller bearings allow for smooth velocity regulation.
Advanced Controller Diagnostics
- Frequency analysis tool identifies machine resonant conditions allowing for the precise setting of servo loop gains and filter coefficients to optimize system performance.
- System stability criteria are easily observed to provide an indication of the robustness of the machine operation.
- Enhanced Throughput Module significantly improves move and settle time and contouring performance by measuring unwanted motion of the machine base so that the controller may actively reject it, increasing throughput.
To see these processes in action, the video below demonstrates techniques for planar and 3D printing (additive manufacturing) via direct-write assembly using Aerotech’s two-axis ABL9000 plus the single-axis ABL1000 air-bearing direct-drive stage together with the A3200 and Npaq® triple-PSO control system.
Bok Yeop Ahn, Steven B. Walker, Scott C. Slimmer, Analisa Russo, Ashley Gupta, Steve Kranz, Eric B. Duoss, Thomas F. Malkowski, Jennifer A. Lewis; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for Micro- and Nanotechnology, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Presently at the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors, University of California Santa Barbara.