Macron Dynamics’ Multi-Axis Gantry System is Used in Automated Optical Inspection Station for Large Solar Panel Manufacturer

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A large manufacturer of solar panels sought an automated robotic solution for product testing. The solution, delivered by Macron Dynamics was a multi-axis automated gantry that integrated an overhead transport system, actuators, and machine framing. Macron's modularity constructed automation equipment was selected for ease of modification to meet the application requirements. Due to testing parameters the entire system needed to be non-reflective.

XYZ Gantry for Automated Inspection

The multi-axis gantry solution needed to integrate with an existing product test station to automate the optical inspection of glass solar panels using a specialized camera.

Macron Dynamics Inc., a manufacturer of belt driven linear actuators and multi-axis automation systems, recently completed delivery and installation of an automated optical inspection gantry system to a large U.S. manufacturer of thin film solar panels.

“The application requirements presented some unique challenges,” said Joe Baird, National Sales Manager at Macron. “The multi-axis gantry solution needed to integrate with an existing product test station to automate the optical inspection of glass solar panels using a specialized camera.”

Macron engineers were required to incorporate an overhead transport system for moving the solar panels during the inspection process. The application also called for the Macron gantry system to include an integrated machine frame and protective panels.

“Due to testing parameters of the solar panels, an additional requirement specified the entire gantry system, machine frame, and hardware needed to be non-reflective,” said Baird. “Given that requirement, Macron’s standard clear anodized aluminum components were custom finished and coated in a non-reflective black.”

The engineered solution, a custom configured Macron 6 Gantry System, consisted of dual MacBUILT 6 Linear Actuators with a connecting driveshaft along the X-axis, a MacBUILT Rail Actuator in the Y-axis position, a third MacBUILT 6 Actuator in the Z-axis, and MacFRAME machine frame and hardware.

“MacBUILT Actuators and MacFRAME machine frame and hardware offer a modular design for easy adaptation to custom configurations,” said Baird. “That versatility allows Macron engineers to build advanced, multi-axis automation solutions efficiently and with cost savings to the end-user.”

The Macron 6 Gantry engineered for solar panel inspection provides precision guidance for medium load capacities and moment loads consistent with the capabilities of the MacBUILT 6 Actuator. The dual actuator X-axis configuration stabilizes the Y-axis and the Macron timing belt and pulley matching produces accurate alignment and travel control.

In addition, the Y-axis MacBUILT Rail Actuator provides the stiffness and strength to span wide distances to provide considerable flexibility to the work envelope. Z-axis motion, enabled by a MacBUILT 6 Linear Actuator, delivers precision guidance with light cart weight to allow end effecter optimization.

Macron multi-axis gantries and Cartesian robots feature MacBUILT Actuators, MacBUILT Screw Drives, and/or MacFRAME structural components and beams designed for custom modular construction.
Custom configured systems are available for applications requiring up to 500 feet of travel, 10,000 lbs. load capacities, and speeds up to 600 inches per second. For additional information, visit or call Macron Dynamics, Inc. at 1-800-MACRON-1 (1-800-622-7661).


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