Precision for the age of light | medical diagnostics

Created by MED Engineering 2021/03 |

2021/03 | Steinmeyer Mechatronik has supplied a high-precision, customer-specific 2-axis system for medical technology production at Berliner Glas. New solutions for imaging procedures in medical diagnostics are made possible by precise alignment systems.

Publisher: MED Engineering issue 2021/03 | www.med-eng.de

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Whether medical technology, the semiconductor industry, or laser and space technology - many applications would be unthinkable without light. Hardly anyone knows better than Berliner Glas how to use electromagnetic radiation as a tool. The owner-managed group of companies harnesses light for high-tech applications and is one of the leading suppliers of optical key components, assemblies and systems, high-quality refined technical glass and glass touch assemblies. The properties of light make it practically universally applicable," explains Dr. David Kieven, Technology Owner Bonding in the Optical Manufacturing Technology department at Berliner Glas: "The speed of light is the fastest we know. But the high focusability and the speed with which light can be switched on and off also contribute to the enormous versatility."
The innovative high-tech products from Berliner Glas are used for analysis, production, communication or measurement, among other applications, and are valued around the globe by the light-using industry. The specific requirements for the development and production of state-of-the-art medical technology are taken into account by the Medical Applications business unit at the Berlin site with its ISO 13485 certification. The medical technology experts specialize in micropositioning as well as the design of specially coated prism assemblies for medical fluorescence processes and offer customized system solutions from a single source - from conception up to the finished product.

Specialist for customized positioning systems

To meet the high quality demands of its customers, Berliner Glas relies on reliable and certified partners and suppliers such as Steinmeyer Mechatronik. The Dresden-based company has made a name for itself in particular as a specialist for individual custom products. Every day, we produce complex solutions that are at the limits of what is technically feasible. This requires innovative and efficient technologies," says Dr. Kieven. Steinmeyer Mechatronik is very flexible and offers customer-specific solutions. This is a great advantage for us." Berliner Glas has already been able to convince itself of the Saxons' high level of solution and application expertise in the design of a measuring and inspection system. Positioning technology from Steinmeyer Mechatronik is also used in the new alignment devices for the production of optical assemblies for medical diagnostics.

New solutions for medical imaging diagnostics

With the help of the self-designed machines, two optical components can be aligned and bonded to each other with an accuracy of< 1 µm. Thanks to their high precision, the alignment systems are able to meet the ever-increasing demands for optical resolution in imaging procedures at the highest level," clarifies Dr. Kieven and adds: "The high reproducibility and reliability also enable 24/7 production." This goal was made possible by the construction design specifically geared to the product and, not least, by the selected components of the system. At the heart of the alignment equipment is a spatial motion machine with six drive elements for the component to be aligned in conjunction with a measuring assembly with optical image recognition mounted on a high-precision 2-axis system from Steinmeyer Mechatronik. Specially developed software links all process steps and enables simple, image-based operation. "The Steinmeyer axes are part of the optical measuring and image evaluation system," says David Kieven, explaining how it works, "In interaction with the software, the components and their positions are measured. By precisely moving to and holding the positions, an optical image recognition system can measure distances and provide feedback to other motion systems that adjust and finalize the position of our assemblies."

Robust Industrial Linear Stages with Metrology Accuracy

Steinmeyer Mechatronik has selected a customized combination of PLT165 and LTP90 linear axes for use in the alignment machines. Both linear stages operate absolutely reliably and are characterized by high speeds, maximum accuracy and a long service life - ideal for continuous industrial operation. The base bodies are made of extruded hollow aluminum profiles, making the XY system a true lightweight. The LTP90 also impresses with its concept of internal motors and integrated controller. The two-axis positioning solution has travels of 200 x 25 mm and achieves a repeatability of± 0.5 µm on the horizontal axis and± 0.2 µm on the vertical axis. Extremely durable ball screws with AC servo motor as well as an additional linear scale ensure the high precision. The drives allow speeds of 250 mm/s (X-axis) and 25 mm/s (Y-axis) as well as accelerations of 2.5 m/s2 (X-axis) and 0.3 m/s2 (Y-axis).

A clean thing

"In order to meet the high cleanliness requirements of our customers, our machines are produced in a clean room environment," explains Dr. Kieven. "So in addition to precision, a high clean room specification had to be met." Steinmeyer Mechatronik therefore bolted the PLT165 and LTP90 linear stages to slides. This means that the system is completely enclosed both from above and laterally. This prevents particles and other contaminants from reaching the workpiece that is currently on the table combination. The penetration of cleaning agents during disinfection and cleaning is also prevented. Special, hermetically sealed motors with pharmaceutical approval are also used. For easier cleaning, the cabling has also been adapted and all externally accessible parts have a nickel coating instead of an anodized or painted layer.

Successful collaboration continues

Robust, reliable, fast and ultra-accurate - Steinmeyer Mechatronik was able to meet the required specifications. Even the clean room requirements (ISO Class 3) did not pose a major challenge for the experienced medical technology partner. "On a technical level, the axes perform their services in an exemplary manner," says Dr. Kieven, who is enthusiastic about the performance of the positioning solution and is already looking forward to the next projects: "Due to the high demand from customers, we are currently expanding our production and doubling our capacity."