5-Axis Air Bearing Platform with 0.01 Micron Accuracy for Lawrence Livermore

The engineers at the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore Labs needed a target assembly station with a position accuracy of 4 millionths of an inch – that’s 0.0000004 inches (or 0.01 microns!).

ABTech delivered.

One of the design challenges was that the completed system had to have a small footprint. Not that big a deal, except accommodating Lawrence Livermore’s needs required using six of our air bearings: three motorized air bearing linear slides, two motorized air bearing rotary spindles, and an air bearing sleeve counterbalance pulley. Leveraging our mechanical design expertise we managed to fit the six bearings in a system that measured a scant two feet high.

A Delta Tau motion controller, operator control panel and customized application software complete the system.

National Ignition Facility (NIF) technicians used the target assembly station to apply miniscule amounts of adhesive (with applicators the size of a single human hair) to precisely positioned miniature BB-sized capsules of fusion fuel. These became the targets that the world’s largest laser (housed in a building the size of three football fields) will heat to simulate thermonuclear ignition.

By producing temperatures and densities like those found on the sun, these experiments help scientists sustain confidence in the stability of the nuclear weapon stockpile without performing dangerous testing.

ABTech is proud to have been asked to contribute to this impressive research project.

System Feature Summary

  • X, Y and Z axis motorized linear air bearing slides
  • Dual motorized air bearing rotary spindles
  • Counterbalance pulley with air bearing sleeve
  • Turnkey system includes:
    • Delta Tau motion controller
    • Industrial PC with application software
    • Operator control panel
  • System accuracy of less than 4 millionths of an inch (0.01 microns) per commanded move

Download Heidenhain’s case study on ABTech’s system for Lawrence Livermore

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Thanks a lot for your help. Your rapid, informative correspondence was invaluable. Hopefully I won't be bothering you with any further questions, but it's good to know you're willing. (following remote technical support provided for system installed at the South Pole) Morgan HedgesPost-doctoral Research Associate
Princeton University
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Every product we sell exemplifies our company-wide commitment to "Pride in Precision" craftsmanship. To that end, all of our products are designed, manufactured, and tested exclusively by ABTech at our New Hampshire facility.

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