Like almost every aspect of life, the way we work and build things for our own convenience and necessity has evolved throughout the years. Thanks to science and technology, the simple tools and beasts of burden that we relied upon in the past have now been replaced with advanced, reliable, and more precise gadgetry and machines. One such product is the gantry system, which has earned the unofficial moniker of “workhorse of modern industry.” Why? Let’s take a quick look behind its workings and applications.
What is a Gantry System?
A gantry system is a system of motorized rails that can move a mounted piece of hardware or device across a single plane of movement, usually horizontal. This is not always the case, however, because gantry systems in precise motion solutions do offer precision movement in three separate planes, such as machines involved in finer tasks, like 3D printing and automated parts inspections.
This precision movement is achieved through the combination of motors installed in the rails as well as the rails themselves; the range of movement of the motors is inherently fixed to the rails. As such, there is no risk of deviations in the movement so long as the gantry rails remains rigid and fixed, and that the hardware mounting platform also remains fixed onto the gantry system itself.
The Benefits of a Gantry System
This particular trait of gantry systems – where the degree of movement and precision is inherent on the rigidity and overall size of the rails – makes it very easy for a gantry rail to be scaled up or down as befits the size of the task its needs to perform, or the size of the tool/hardware it needs to manipulate. Need to manipulate something huge and heavy and across longer distances? Simply create a bigger gantry system, one with more powerful or numerous motors, as well as the rails to fit.
This scalability we see in gantry systems is being utilized in industries of all sizes – from those that require precision micro-movements such as 3D printing, to the big ones that require a lot of heavy lifting, such as construction and naval freight.
It’s also the reason why we don’t see other types of mechanized work platforms, such as the robotic arms we see in car assembly lines, being scaled up in the same way – the technology and engineering that would allow such a feat does not exist yet. Even if it did, the cost would be prohibitive, and the weight of the materials involved in the construction would make it fall apart. On the other hand, not only is a gantry system much more affordable, the rails that give it its precision and degree of movement also help it give the machine a lot more stability and reliability.
All these benefits make the gantry system such a versatile and flexible machine – making it truly worthy of the nickname “workhorse of the industry.”
What Are The Applications of Gantry Systems?
Since gantry systems are nearly infinitely scalable and precise as a motion solution, and you can mount anything onto it to give it precise movement, they have a lot of industry applications. These include the following:
- PC board assembly
- Material dispensing
- Paint application/spraying
- Material handling
- Pick-and-place machines
- Water cutting
- Plate welding
- Friction welding
- Packaging and sorting
- Tray loading and unloading
- Automated inspections
Due to its versatility and effortless scalability, the humble but reliable gantry system continue to see widespread use, even in this day and age of advanced and sophisticated robotics. Without gantry systems, today’s industries might not have gotten to the point of prosperity that they currently enjoy.