Senior Operations LLC Metal Bellows has updated its line of PRIME MOVER pneumatic actuators. Ideal for use in vacuum chamber applications where precision, high cycle life, clean operation, and absolute zero leakage is paramount, the PRIME MOVER combines the actuation and dynamic sealing function into a single, compact device. The advantages of PRIME MOVER actuators is its ability to maintain the same level of performance, but in a much smaller, simpler package without the added complexity and envelope of motors, controllers, grease, or power. The more conventional approach typically uses a servo/stepper motor, linear guide and bellows seal arrangement.

The new generation of PRIME MOVER actuators has significantly improved performance:

The PRIME MOVER offers axial motion with no rotational forces involved. The actuator uses all metal construction (no elastomers), so it can be used in temperature extremes, cryogenic to 450°F. Additionally, the all-metal construction makes it compatible with the harshest chemicals, plasma, and fluids. These actuators are smooth, accurate and repeatable. Up and down stop Z-axis positional accuracy is ±0.001-in.

The Prime Mover is designed for 60-105 PSID pressure range, which produces actuation forces on the order of 40 to 80 lb. With larger diameter actuators, actuation forces of up to 1000 lb. can be achieved. Because there are no wearing seals, the actuator can be designed for 10 million cycles or greater. The actuator meets ISO 14644 Class 1 requirements.

Lateral positional accuracy has been improved to ±0.002-in. and repeatability is ± 0.0005-in. Unit-to-unit uniformity is within 0.005-in. over the entire stroke. The new, non-elastomer, integral dampers control shock loads at the top and bottom of the stroke at temperature extremes, which is typically an issue with pneumatically actuated wafer lifts.

The PRIME MOVER is now available with programmable, non-contact position sensing. The programmable Hall Effect position sensors allow for accurate and repeatable sensing without penetrating the pressure barrier. They have the ability to output a signal based on the presence of a magnetic field of a predetermined value. That value can be preprogrammed prior to installation or programmed at the assembly level, which can account for any tolerance stacks across the system between the magnet and the sensor. 

The sensors in the PRIME MOVER have programmable hysteresis levels down to zero hysteresis, which is unattainable in traditional reed switches. They also have programmable temperature compensation, meaning the sensor auto-compensates for the changing magnetic field of the magnet due to temperature. The addition of the position sensor can replace the encoder on the motor used in the more conventional servo/stepper motor actuator.

Senior Operations LLC Metal Bellows
(888) 235-5697