Simplifying Motion Control

Application Notes

Advantages of Motorized Gantry Systems

If your application requires carrying a heavy load in multiple axes, or if it requires an open space below the area of motion, consider whether a gantry system would be a good fit.

In general, a gantry is any set-up in which two parallel supports are connected by a perpendicular cross-member. In motorized gantry systems, either the supports, the cross-member, or both can be motorized. Additionally, a third axis can be added to create a complete XYZ solution. An example of Zaber's two-axis G-LSQ gantry system is shown below (left).

By using two lower axes to support the upper axis, any load on the system is shared. Without the second support, an unbalanced cantilever load would result. In systems with a heavy, off-centered load, or for long multi-axis systems, this additional support quickly becomes necessary.

Two-axis gantry system with X-MCB2 two-axis controller.

G-LSQ450D450D system with clear area under the crossmember.

Another benefit of this type of system, compared to an unsupported XY system, is an increase in access to the open area beneath the upper axis. Often, applications for scanning, measuring, or fabrication, to name a few, will need access to such an area to place a sample. Keeping this space clear keeps the system compact and allows you to use the full travel range. An example of a system that maximizes the space beneath the cross-axis is shown above (right).

Zaber offers standard gantry configurations in a variety of sizes. These gantries are complete systems that have a controller, base-plate, cable management system, and a timing belt set-up to synchronize the lower axes. The system also comes assembled and aligned for easy set up.

In addition to these standard systems, a support rail can be added to almost any multi-axis system to make it a gantry. We offer versions of any of our linear stages without the motor or lead screw for this purpose. This is a common set-up for long travel XY and XYZ systems, as it doesn't take much weight to exceed the cantilever load limit of a stage when an upper axis is 750 - 1500 mm. These versions aren't listed on our website. Please email if you're interested in this option.

Zaber's standard systems are suitable for many applications, but if they don't meet your requirements, a custom solution may be the better option. As one example of a customization, please see the video below that shows a custom XY gantry system.

In the set-up shown in the video, we added additional fixturing and cable management to integrate a Z axis onto the system. Other examples of possible customizations include modified base-plates, custom mounting options, additional bracketing, T-slot mounting with aluminum framing, and longer travel lengths.

Please email or call 1-888-276-8033 to speak with an applications engineer if you are interested in a custom system.