Miniature Voice Coil Actuator Meets Design Needs for Hand-Held Spectrometers

VISTA, California - March 15, 2014

Life critical applications like ventilators, heart valves, military smart weapons platforms and high speed target tracking, require devices that possess indestructible ironman endurance and a guaranteed life span impervious to failure. Equipment manufacturers developing these types of devices need to know that their equipment will last millions of cycles to ensure viability in real-life applications.

The ability to identify chemical molecular structure is crucial to many industries in Life Sciences, Homeland Security, Pharmaceuticals, Quality and Process Control, Food and Agriculture and Microbiology. This analysis is often performed using an FTIR Spectrometer. Spectrometers, which historically could be as large as a refrigerator, have relied on large motors with rotary to linear conversions to accomplish the job of controlling the spectrometer mirror movement. For many emerging applications, traditional sized spectrometers are simply too big. Manufacturers are seeking smaller components with better accuracy to design compact bench and hand-held sized spectrometers.

BEI Kimco Magnetics recently met the need for these new spectrometer requirements with the compact Voice Coil Actuator Model LA08-10-000A, adapted to meet customer requirements. This linear actuator provides small precise movements, light weight, low power consumption, high performance and a customized mechanical design in a 0.8” diameter package. The robust performance, small size combination is made possible with a low coil mass and high performance rare earth magnets. These magnets not only use less energy, but also meet the shock and vibration requirements of the application. The BEI Kimco actuator accurately controls the mirror movement, which in turn adjusts the optical path for an improved IR spectra and enhanced spectrometry analysis.

“We are seeing small, more energy efficient, and light weight actuators replace bulky motors in many new spectrometer applications,” says Jim McNamara, Senior Application Engineer for BEI Kimco Magnetics. “For example, a hand-held hazmat device used for sampling and analyzing on site spills, would not have been possible with a large motor. With smaller components opening up many new avenues for design, spectrometer devices have shrunk to as small as 6x6x2-inches.”

In addition to BEI Kimco’s Model LA08-10-000A, other BEI Kimco linear and rotary voice coil actuators are being used to meet a variety of new spectrometry applications. All can be customized to meet specific size, stroke and mechanical requirements. Actuators are offered in diameters from 0.5” to 0.8” strokes from 1mm to 8mm, and forces ranging from 3 to 24 ounces peak. They can also be customized for specific mechanical requirements.

BEI Kimco’s voice coil actuators feature all the inherent advantages of voice coil technology including direct-drive operation for highly accurate motion. Other advantages of this technology include high acceleration, absence of commutation, and excellent resolution.