Rockwell Automation has closed its Anorad linear motion operation as a separate business in the UK, and is now selling its products in-house. At the same time, Rockwell has launched a range of Anorad-developed linear stages under the Allen-Bradley brand name.
The changes mark a move away from custom-designed linear applications to selling linear systems as standard, off-the-shelf products. Anorad’s European headquarters in the Netherlands will continue to build systems for existing customers, but is cutting back on bespoke design work.
The new Allen-Bradley MP-series integrated linear stages (above) will be available in both ballscrew and linear-motor-driven versions, with stroke lengths up to 2m, and operating speeds of up to 5m/s. Rockwell says that the new products, which are programmed using its existing software tools, will make it cheaper and easier for OEMs to implement linear motion in their machines.
"Machine-builders who build their own linear stages frequently spend a great deal of time and money purchasing, assembling, programming and troubleshooting multiple components from different suppliers," explains Mike Woelfel, Rockwell’s Kinetix linear motion product marketing manager. "The situation becomes even more complicated when direct-drive linear motor technology is applied, since mechanical and electrical integration require additional considerations for linear feedback devices and forces due to magnetic attraction."
Andy Holmes, the former sales manager at Anorad’s UK operation in Basingstoke, is believed to have left the automation industry.
ş Four former Anorad staff members, with more than 40 years’ experience between them, have set up a new company, Q-Sys, to serve the precision motion market. The new company, based in the Netherlands, will not be tied to any particular supplier of control and automation hardware. Although it will specialise in linear motor applications, it will be active in other areas such as multi-axis motion controllers and servo controls.