XPlanar | Planar motor system


APSxxxx | XPlanar tiles

Highly compact and fully integrated drive unit that allows any product to be lifted.

APMxxxx | XPlanar mover

Floating, freely movable, powerful – the ideal performer for any application.

XPlanar software

The orchestrator for modern product handling. Simple operation, maximum freedom, constant expansion.

First steps with XPlanar

The quick entry into the product handling of the future. Plug-and-play for tomorrow's machine concepts.

Product manager Felix Schulte explains the operating principle of the XPlanar planar motor system.
Product manager Felix Schulte explains the operating principle of the XPlanar planar motor system.

Planar motor for levitating product movement with up to 6 degrees of freedom

XPlanar combines the advantages of conventional transport technologies with magnetic levitation. This results in a wide range of new options for handling products within a machine and also between several machines.

Similar to automated guided vehicle systems, the user benefits from the freedom of movement of the object carriers: Individual goods can be transported to any location via any route. XPlanar combines this flexibility with the dynamics of conventional linear motors and offers added value through cycle-time-optimized linking of individual production steps. XPlanar significantly simplifies individual production steps because the degrees of freedom and accuracy familiar from robotics can be used for 6D product handling. The concept of product positioning during processing is applied to the transport system. The floating effect replaces all mechanical guide components and drastically reduces cleaning and maintenance costs.

Principle of operation

XPlanar consists of a planar motor which, like rotary motors, consists of several stationary, energized coils (tiles) and movable permanent magnets (movers). In contrast to rotary motors, both the coils and the permanent magnets are arranged two-dimensionally in a plane.

The tiles are the electrically active parts of the system: The outstanding current control of the coils makes the movers float above the tiles. The robust housing of the tiles contains all the components required for controlled floating in a compact installation space.

The movers are electrically passive and particularly hard-wearing. No external systems for position detection of the movers or additional power supply units are required. In addition to tiles and movers, the only other component required for operation is a Beckhoff Industrial PC with corresponding software (TwinCAT). TwinCAT specifies the movements of the movers and avoids collisions between them.

User benefits

The unique advantages of efficient production with batch size 1 are applicable to all industries. The movers are deployed based on the required transport weights and product distances. They transport each product through the machine along individually defined routes. Individual production steps can be linked with each other as required, making rigid station sequences a thing of the past. The movements of the individual movers are completely decoupled from each other: The products may overtake each other, and they can be discharged or buffered, e.g., for drying, without affecting the production flow. Simultaneous production of different formats is possible thanks to the availability of different mover sizes in one system.

Exceptional dynamics and robotic precision qualify XPlanar as an efficient positioning system for processing different batch sizes and product variants. The movers scan complex XY geometries, which also allows individual marking of the transported product on a stationary laser. The geometry is determined individually for each product. The precision of the geometry tracking is so high that complex positioning systems within the processing stations can be omitted.

  • Individual and decoupled product transport
  • Simultaneous production of different formats
  • Precise positioning during machining

XPlanar offers users revolutionary freedom in designing individual machine layouts. The XPlanar tiles can be laid freely in a plane. Suitable geometries can be selected with hardly any restrictions. Rectangular arrangements, circles or tree-like structures can be realized. The machine design entirely follows the function required by the user. The size of the XPlanar system always matches the requirements. Overhead avoidance saves valuable production space. If there is a change in production requirements, XPlanar offers straightforward expansion options for the machine. Existing systems can be supplemented with additional tiles, and further processing stations can easily be integrated. Individual movers can also be added to existing systems. This modular expandability guarantees high future-proofness for XPlanar systems, well beyond the initial installation.

In order to meet special requirements, XPlanar tiles can also be set up in a portable configuration. In combination with supplementary systems, e.g., a linear motor, the tiles can then be moved out of the compound and transported over several levels or to spatially distant plant sections.

  • Free arrangement of the tiles
  • Modular addition of tiles and movers
  • Tile movements

XPlanar is characterized by minimal cleaning and maintenance effort. No mechanical components are used to connect the tiles and the movers. In contrast to conventional transport systems, no guide rails, rollers or lubrication systems are required. The time required for regular maintenance intervals is reduced to a fraction, which significantly increases system availability. The absence of mechanical components simplifies cleaning of the system when used in heavily contaminated environments. All tile and mover surfaces are smooth and easy to reach. Contamination of the production line – for example as a result of spilled liquids – can easily be identified on the flat surfaces, and spreading by other movers is avoided thanks to the floating effect. For use in particularly demanding environments, the XPlanar tiles can be covered with stainless steel, glass or plastic to protect them from aggressive cleaning processes. The floating properties of the movers are not affected.

  • No wear-prone mechanical components
  • Easy cleaning
  • Can be covered with stainless steel, glass or plastic

XPlanar makes it possible to rethink modern production processes. Highly dynamic, sequential processes are the means of choice in many applications, particularly for quantity-oriented production. Products are manufactured sequentially with minimized processing and transport times. The optimization of processing and transport times can reach physical limits. XPlanar makes it possible to overcome these limits. Fully decoupled planar movement of products enables simultaneous execution of identical processing steps. The system output is significantly influenced by the number of parallel processing stations. More processing time is available within a station, which can be used for quality-optimized product processing, thereby directly reducing the number of rejects.

XPlanar allows flexible troubleshooting responses: In contrast to sequential production processes, where disruptions of individual processing stations can bring the entire production flow to a halt, parallel production flow concepts with XPlanar are robust vis-à-vis such disturbances. The XPlanar movers bypass defective stations, so that the overall production process can continue with only slightly reduced output.

  • Parallel instead of sequential processing
  • Quality improvement through increased process time
  • Bypassing defective processing stations