Medical news excites both the media and the public alike as new medicines, methods, and procedures bring relief to millions who suffer from various ailments. Behind the scenes, the equipment that makes possible thousands of tests results for clinical trials, dispenses tens of thousands of exact liquid doses in individual containers, and moves the machines that test and review our bodies requires motion control precision with zero backlash. This zero backlash directly relates to installing the proper coupling between motors and moving parts. One company, Lovejoy Inc., supplies a comprehensive line of motion control couplings to service the needs of the medical equipment industry.

Couplings are available for a range of motion control needs.
Servo motor applications might be the most common use of a Lovejoy motion control coupling. These servo motors run conveyor systems in a laboratory environment, or can assist with medical testing in a lab such as moving test tubes or controlling probes that dispense an exact amount of liquid into test tubes and other containers.

A pick and place type of application relates to a machine with a robotic arm or actuator that moves a product from one place to another. This arm rotates back and forth to the exact same spot in identical fashion indefinitely. Servo motors run the conveyors that stop and start in precise motion to move the materials into place for the robotic arm to grasp.

Gantry machines, otherwise known as XYZ tables because of their planes of operation, need to move in multiple directions. The best examples of gantry style medical machines are x-ray or eye examination systems. Both of these types of machines need to adjust to the individual patient for testing purposes. Depending on the type of motors and the connection required, this style application could utilize the miniature disk, bellows, and beam couplings.

For packaging, the GS curved jaw is optimal because these types of operations deal with higher torque than some others. Automated assembly, for example, a lead screw in a medical conveyor or packaging line application, would utilize a GS curved jaw motion control coupling.

“In this industry, it is possible to get a certain level of service out of any style of coupling,” says Charlie Mudra, Lovejoy Product Manager, “but that theory is similar to punching a square peg into a round hole. The square peg might run for a while, but at Lovejoy, we’re interested in providing our customers with the best product for their specific application—a coupling that will provide trouble-free service and enable machinery and systems to run to their maximum capability.”

Lovejoy Motion Control couplings are available in several different styles, including beam, oldham, mini-jaw, bellows, mini-soft, mini-disc and curved jaw. high-speed operations, for example, can look to the GS curved jaw mini-coupling, with a maximum 31,800 RPM. The bellows clamp style coupling specifically addresses higher torque and bore capacities.