Metal belts and tape drives bring benefits to 3D printing applicationsMetal belts and drive tapes have several important characteristics, which present design opportunities not found in other drive components. One of the newest applications of stainless steel belts from Belt Technologies Europe is their use within XY plotting assemblies for 3D printers.
A combination of properties makes the belts ideal for this application where precision movement and a particulate free operating environment are essential. They are essentially un-stretchable, and possess extremely high strength-to-weight ratio. They are also accurate and repeatable. Cleanliness is important in 3D printing, and these belts eliminate dust and do not particulate. They are thermally and electrically conductive, and operate in hostile environments. Further, they are quiet and generate no chordal vibration.
Belt Technologies says its stainless steel belts provide a highly smooth operation, which eliminates the chordal action associated with other types of belts, wires or chains. This results in precise motion control of the arm's movement. Stainless steel belts are non-stretchable and have a high modulus of elasticity, which is also ideal for the precision positioning required for wafer handling. The belts also have a pitch accuracy of up to 0.013mm, giving a high degree of accuracy, which is invaluable in positioning applications.
Stainless steel belts do not require lubricants, as they are a single continuous element, unlike the links of a chain. Therefore they do not generate airborne particulate through friction and will not introduce foreign substances into the clean room environment. Indeed Belt's stainless steel belts are recognised as Class100 clean room compatible. The inherent cleanliness of stainless steel belts compares favourably to alternative flat neoprene belts.
Stainless steel belts also provide better plotting accuracy for XY positioning systems, carriage positioning systems, robotic drives and zero-backlash drives - with high strength for higher payloads thereby promoting reliability and giving extra versatility whilst their light weight means substantial space saving may be achieved.
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