Linear drive technology enhances material handling productivity

By Control Engineering Staff May 25, 2006

Celerity Automation’s high-speed Linear Transfer Vehicle (LTV) accommodates payloads form ounces to several tons.

Advanced linear drive technologies are in place to raise the bar for material handling productivity, according to recent developments at Celerity Automation Inc .—a developer of equipment in the linear direct-drive arena. Recently, the company introduced its patented Linear Transfer Vehicle (LTV), which reportedly is an accurate high-speed linear transfer system that uses the latest in linear direct-drive servo motor technology. Speed and precision of LTV promises to “revolutionize material movement applications” by moving, picking, and storing products with greater efficiency, says the company.

Direct-drive linear servo motors produce thrust without hydraulics or pneumatics or mechanical components like ballscrews, belts, gears, or rack and pinion systems. LTV moves product at speeds 10 times faster than conventional belt-drive systems, along with a positioning accuracy of 0.010 in. and acceleration/deceleration rates of 2 G—thanks to linear motor technology’s smooth, virtually friction-free electromagnetic operation. LTV also handles high repetitive cycles up to 121 per hour. “These features mean material handlers can see productivity improvements of as much as 300%,” says Ronald E. Ward, CEO of Celerity Automation.

Applications for LTV include warehousing, shipping, and sorting (order-picking, case and layer picking, etc.), as well as automated assembly and manufacturing—for example, machine tool transfer lines. “Linear drives permit manufacturing and material handlers to move product as fast as it can be moved,” adds Ward. “That is, only a product’s inherent limitation to speed will limit the possible throughput in a system. Previously, equipment has limited throughput capability.”

—Frank J. Bartos, Control Engineering,executive editor,