Cordless linear synchronous motor material handling system for computer integrated manufacturing.
Advanced material handling systems' impact on flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) have increased the efficiency and work rate over conventional manufacturing assemblies. The interaction of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), roller conveyors and conveyor belts with robots and machine tools forms highly sophisticated assembly operations. Whilst material handling in FMS today is conventionally used to transport assembly units from one work station to another, it does not take an active role in the manufacturing process. With manufacturers implementing more advanced manufacturing principles to perform agile manufacturing, there is a growing need to implement "smarter" material handling systems that would perform essential, integral roles in the assembly process. This research outlines the development of a cordless linear synchronous motor (CLSM) material handling system. The CLSM incorporates a permanent magnet courier that moves without tether restrictions on an integrated reverse air bearing system which eliminates friction. The CLSM provides a material handling system with enhanced travel, flexibility and accuracy. The CLSM material handling system is designed to integrate with overhead manipulators and part feeders to form a comprehensive flexible manufacturing system. This research covers the 2-D finite element modeling (FEM) used to determine the CLSM's optimal parameters. The development of the motor windings design and construction, together with the control system for the CLSM, is also covered. The CLSM novel air bearing system is outlined and compared to other conventional linear bearing systems. The possible impact of the CLSM on current manufacturing systems is explored to determine the validity of the research project and possible further research opportunities.