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Automated Microassembly

SmarAct is well known to manufacture complex, customer-specific positioning and manipulation systems. This includes fully automated microassembly stations, which require accurate positioning in multiple axes, as well as sophisticated gripping, aligning and joining solutions. Alignment routines with integrated and external positioning feedback are key features to get the maximum performance out of the assembled components. Besides manipulators and controllers, an application-specific software can be delivered for each microassembly system. Whether you need single components or a completely automated system, you define the level of automation and we will support you with our experience. SmarAct’s competence in this field is shown by many systems developed in close cooperation with end users from industry and research.

Example System

Play

To give you an idea of our range of competences, we have built a demonstrator that automates the assembly of a Fast Axis Collimation (FAC) lens array to a diode laser stack. You can watch the demonstrator in action on upcoming trade shows. Please do not hesitate to contact the SmarAct sales team for more details!

Gripping

Microassembly Gripping A lens array is grabbed from a reservoir by the compact micro-gripper SG-1730-S. The gripper jaws can be customized to achieve form closure on a very wide range of shapes. They are exchangeable in order to allow to work with different objects. For special tasks, where a force feedback is necessary we also provide a new parallel biaxial force feedback gripping solution.

Alignment

Microassembly Alignment

The micro-gripper holding the lens array is mounted to a SmarPod, which allows manipulations with 6 degrees of freedom. The lens array can be moved linearly with nanometer resolution and tilted around 3 rotary axes with single microdegree resolution. The pivot point of rotation can be set freely in space. A linear positioner moves the laser stack below the lens array.

Microassembly FAC Lenses

A software routine automatically scans through the degrees of freedom and finds the optimum alignment with respect to an intensity distribution. The necessary optimization signal is provided by a camera moving on a long rail positioner which measures the beam divergence along the laser beam axis. The optimum alignment is found when the minimum beam divergence is achieved.

Assembly

Microassembly Glue When the alignment procedure is finished, the lenses are automatically glued to the laser stack in their final position. SmarAct can integrate different gluing solutions, including third-party dispensers or even dispensers that are actuated by SmarAct positioners. This ensures that exactly the right amount of glue is applied precisely at the right time.

Controllers

Microassembly Controllers

SmarAct controllers are ideally suited to drive the positioners belonging to a microassembly station. Predefined movements can be carried out with help of sensors integrated into the manipulators. External feedback from detectors, power meters or quadrant diodes can be integrated into the control loop. If your existing control architecture is more suited to stepper motor control, SmarAct can supply controllers that work with TTL pulses to trigger nanometer-precision step movements. Several control boards can be inte- grated into a 19” rack insert, which can drive up to 18 channels. This allows a practical and compact integration of SmarAct controllers into your lab or production environment.

Software

All software necessary to drive the assembly station is developed, compiled and delivered by SmarAct. This includes movement commands, alignment routines and graphical user interfaces. The end user can access the LabView source code, enabling adjustments to existing software. Together with a modular and transparent software architecture, this ensures that the system can grow with your assembly tasks.

Technical Specifications

Alignment resolution in linear axes

1 nm

Alignment resolution in rotary axes

1 μrad

Minimum gripping size

sub-mm

Maximum component velocity

> 20 mm/s