New Mechatronic Linear Transport System from Beckhoff Designed for Hygienic Applications

November 20, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

Beckhoff introduces a new mechatronic linear transport system designed for demanding environmental conditions.

Beckhoff Automation develops products and solutions based on PC control technology. Beckhoff’s product offering includes drive technology, industrial PCs, I/O, and Fieldbus components, and automation software. 

Beckhoff released a new hygienic version of its eXtended Transport System (XTS) for the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. 


What is a Mechatronic Transport System?

Mechatronics is a field of engineering that combines electrical and mechanical systems. This kind of engineering can also incorporate elements of the product, robotics, electronics, telecommunications, computer, systems, and control engineering. 


Beckhoff’s XTS linear transport system. Image courtesy of Beckhoff


Beckhoff’s XTS linear transport system is a mechatronic system that combines linear motion sections with integrated motion networking, control software, and the ability to use PC-based control.

A flexible path configuration can configure the transport system and be set up to accommodate any length. It can also be wireless and controlled by a single PC through magnetic fields.


The XTS Hygienic

The XTS Hygienic introduced by Beckhoff is a fully encapsulated mechatronic transport system with chemically resistant surfaces and designed to be cleaned easily. The XTS linear transport system’s stainless steel version features an IP 69K rating, suitable for facilities that require cleanliness and hygiene at a high standard.

The rating means that the XTS Hygienic has a high degree of protection against the ingress of dust and water, high temperature, and high pressure. 

It is also protected against alkalines, aggressive cleaning agents, and high-pressure spray. High-pressure washdown can be applied as the transport system incorporates sealed joints composed of high-quality elastic material. 


Beckhoff’s XTS linear transport system. Image courtesy of Beckhoff


This design makes the XTS Hygienic compliant concerning European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) recommendations. 

The Design Group is a non-profit consortium including public health authorities, equipment manufacturers, research institutes and universities, suppliers to the food industry, food producers, and governmental organizations.

The organization aims to improve hygienic engineering and design across all aspects of food manufacture to promote safe food. 


Mechanical Features

The XTS Hygienic offers a modular, linear motor with power electronics and positive feedback in a single device. Mechanical guide rails enable the configuration of any geometry. Multiple movers can be utilized in groups or individually.

“Constant force can also be applied across the movers and the movers have built-in collision avoidance, which makes programming easier for control engineers,” said Jeff Johnson, U.S. mechatronics products manager at Beckhoff Automation. 


The ATH20xx-0xxx XTS Hygienic motor modules. Image courtesy of Beckhoff.


“The tooling on top of the XTS movers allows for clamping of ports, opening and closing bags, capping bottles, or simply moving parts down the line. XTS is not just a substitute for lower-cost solutions like chain-driven systems with lugs and buckets, it’s a fundamentally different way to approach material handling transport processes,” Johnson added. 

Once installed, XTS components, including mover and rollers, fit together with the machine to give a smooth surface that can be accessed and cleaned.

The rollers of the mover are sealed against the axis. This serves to prevent the ingress of dirt and any leakage of bearing grease. In addition to these components, the TC3 XTS Extension is available. This component decouples servo algorithms from the hardware and calculates them centrally.

Each XTS mover is mapped by TwinCAT as a normal servo axis. This is designed for easier movement handling.