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Linear motion systems solve challenging aerospace tasks
Whilst the basics of motion control solution requirements are fairly universal – moving things ‘in and out, up and down, round and round’ – a specific application may require a high degree of customisation and expert design work to meet the exacting standard of the customer requirement.
The aerospace industry in the UK provides many challenging applications for motion control products. Many applications are ‘behind the scenes’ in supporting work in the telecommunications industry, earth observation and scientific satellite applications.
As an example, Inmarsat-4 is the fourth generation of satellites for the London-based global mobile satellite communications operator Inmarsat. It was introduced to increase the telecoms capacity for internet and intranet solutions, video on demand, video-conferencing, fax, e-mail, telephone and high-speed LAN access.
The customer required portable mechanical ground support equipment to lift, support and position equipment during the assembly of the spacecraft carrying the satellite. The company approached LG Motion, which designed and manufactured lifting and handling consisting of a battery-powered stepper drive system capable of lifting each unit from its transit box with the aid of an overhead crane and then positioning the payload precisely with fine adjustment. The drive system is housed in a Minitec aluminium profile system framework and a counter balance enables the safe transport and loading of the equipment in the spacecraft.
In a second example, the UK based division of Airbus Defence and Space designs and builds equipment for satellites. A rig was required to provide mounting and free access for assembly and testing of large antennae panel assemblies measuring 3x1x0.2m and weighing 115kg.
The rig was designed to allow for manual operation to securely the panels in place securely and safely and allow for complete 360° rotation and height adjustment. Being mobile the rig can be moved around the assembly area on heavy duty castors with brakes. Housed in a Minitec profile system the assembly was fitted with linear system power transmission components including a 24:1 bevel reduction gearbox to facilitate the manual rotation of the handling frame.
The ability of LG Motion to provide a complete motion control solution including framework and power transmission elements gives the customer an enormous benefit in only having one partner to deal with.
Basingstoke based LG Motion has designed and supplied several such manual and automated mechanical ground support equipment (MGSE) to the aerospace industry.
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