Automation Blog

Modular Actuators Deliver the Best of All Worlds for Pick and Place Systems

Modular Actuators Deliver the Best of All Worlds for Pick and Place Systems

Pick and place systems based on traditional pneumatic motion typically suffer from insufficient maneuverability and positioning inaccuracy, as well as reliability issues. These systems also make it difficult to predict breakdowns.

To solve these problems, some manufacturers are turning to SCARA systems. Others are adding linear motors, plus control and regulation devices, to pneumatic systems to create a “mixed” solution. While these complex systems offer some performance improvements, they still suffer from high costs and an inability to manage heavy loads and shape variations. They also can’t withstand harsh, dirty environments.

A third option brings together advanced mechatronic technologies — modular linear actuators controlled by high-performance brushless motors — to build efficient, high-speed pick and place systems. For example, our SM Series delivers high speeds and load capabilities that are unattainable in pneumatic systems and very critical for linear motor systems.

SM Series sliders — available through your local IKO International representative — come in three versions (32-50-63) for variable loads, strokes, speeds and high payloads. The movement and positioning are electronically controlled for repeatable accuracy to 0.01 millimeter, with complete modeling and control of the motion cycle. The actuators offer strokes to 420 millimeters with adaptable speeds to the requested load. They can also speed up to 2 meters per second with an acceleration up to 3G and a maximum force of 3,000N. The brushless motor comes with a 17-bit resolution encoder and direct or parallel drive.

Benefits of the SM Series include:

  • Simpler project cycles than pneumatic systems.
  • Lower cost and higher performance versus linear motor systems.
  • Limited dependence on applied loads, as well as positioning accuracy and adaptability in dusty industrial manufacturing environments.
  • Programmable motion curves.
  • Minimal maintenance with no calibration.
  • High productivity — greater than 100 cycles per minute.

You can also monitor your entire pick and place system using our AwareVu™ patent-pending diagnostic system. AwareVu provides temperature and vibration control while identifying possible malfunctions and production cycle variations. SM actuators are also available for SCARA systems and can be combined with other Automationware products like axes, cylinders, electric rotary tables and accessories for use in Cartesian, vertical and horizontal pick and place configurations.

Innovative Actuator System Bolsters Productivity

When it comes to automated operations, actuator accuracy, speed and reliability are critical to achieving high throughput and efficiency. With SM Series sliders and components, you can bypass the limitations of traditional motion systems and create an innovative modular pick and place system that delivers high productivity for your automated operation.

IKO is the U.S. distribution partner for Automationware. You can download our brochure on SM Series sliders at, or contact IKO at for more information.

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