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Aerotech releases 5-axis micromachining scanner

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Aerotech, a manufacturer of high-performance motion control and positioning systems, has launched the AGV5D, a new laser micromachining scanner.

According to the firm, the 5-axis laser scanner is particularly suitable for the high-precision production of complex components in medical technology, microelectronics and the automotive industry. It also offers simple integration into a machine, system or subsystem.

‘With our AGV5D, we offer a fast, flexible and high-precision laser scanner solution to create, for example, precise conical, cylindrical and square bores or other complex contours and geometries that cannot be produced with 2D or 3D scanners, or which can only be produced with a lot of effort’, emphasised Simon Smith, European director of Aerotech.

In this respect, almost all geometries can be produced with precisely defined cross sections. The reason for the high precision and flexibility lies in the 5 degrees of freedom (DOF). The AGV5D can simultaneously scan and move the laser beam on 5 axes: Spot placement in the field of view (2-DOF), depth of field (1-DOF), precession angle (2-DOF). The 5-axis scanner is controlled via the new Aerotech control platform Automation1, which can also take over workpiece positioning and laser control. The result is highly precise, complex components, namely in the micrometre range. According to Aerotech, the laser scanner can be operated with a large number of commercial femtosecond lasers, such as those used in micromachining, for example in medical technology. Optics with wavelengths of 1,030nm, 1,064nm, 515nm or 532nm are available.

‘With Automation1, we have brought the control of positioning systems and connected components to a unique platform with specially developed motion control software’, explains Simon Smith. ‘Not only can we use it to precisely control galvo scan heads, but also servo and stepper motors, piezoelectric actuators and various other devices.’

With the new 5D scanner, integrated water and air cooling ensure maximum thermal stability and constant performance over the entire processing time with the highest available laser processing accuracy. In this way, temperature gradients can be regulated within the AGV5D and errors caused by thermal drift can be reduced. By coordinating with other axes of motion using an Aerotech controller, the AGV5D offers the unique ability to machine workpieces that are larger than its field of view while maintaining the highest processing quality. The so-called IFOV function (Infinite Field of View) is available to improve the performance in the structure and to avoid errors, for example ‘classic’ stitching. In addition, linear or rotary servo axes can be automatically synchronised with the laser scanner, thus increasing the field of view of the scanner.

Optimised for industrial use

‘As with all Aerotech products, our AGV5D is designed for a long service life in production environments,’ emphasised Simon Smith.

The scanner housing is sealed and contains an air purge to protect the optical components from contamination and to reduce the risk of damage. This makes the micromachining scanners interesting for various applications such as in medical technology (e.g. for the production of interventional cardiovascular implants or hypotubes), microelectronics (e.g. test cards or microvias) or in the manufacture of automotive components (e.g. injection nozzles).

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