Drives & Controls Magazine May 2023

n LINEAR MOTION PCB-coating machine uses precise, corrosion-resistant X-Y linear system Staffordshire-based Layton Technologies designs and manufactures machines for cleaning, drying, surface treatment and material recovery in precision cleaning applications. An electronics customer asked Layton to develop a machine for conformal coating of PCBs that would combine precision and reliability. Layton needed a linear motion system that could provide smooth, precisely-controlled X-Y motion in and out of the coating tanks. To achieve this, and to avoid any spillages during operation, it opted for a guided belt-driven actuator for the horizontal axis. Belt-driven actuators perform better than ballscrew actuators at higher velocities and in applications that require long strokes, making this technology a suitable choice for the PCB application. Layton chose an MTS belt actuator from Matara, which was particularly suitable for this application because it uses an internal rail system, combined with an external rail and two carriages on either side of the piston, to provide a high degree of rigidity and accuracy. A vertical stainless-steel rack-and-pinion actuator with a 810mm stroke also forms part of the X-Y configuration. The machine also contains a second vertical application, consisting of a Matara MTV ballscrew-driven actuator measuring 65 x 620mm. This comes with worm gearbox with a 5:1 ratio. The entire linear motion system is enclosed by an aluminium framework, that uses 40 x 40mm and 40 x 80mm aluminium profiles, with 5mm polycarbonate sheets, cut to size. The PCB-coating machine will be working in a harsh environment, subject to corrosive vapours. Layton has therefore chosen stainlesssteel components wherever possible. The linear rails have a Armoloy TDC coating, which provides corrosion protection equivalent to 440 series stainless-steel. n A Staffordshire manufacturer of cleaning machines faced challenges when asked to design a machine for coating PCBs. As well as delivering speed and precision, the machine had to withstand corrosive vapours, and needed high-specification linear motion components. The PCB-coating machine uses stainless-steel components wherever possible