Multi-functional air bearing machines for NASA NuSTAR X-ray TelescopeJanuary 13, 2021
ABTech collaborated with Scientists from NASA and Columbia University’s Nevis Astrophysics Lab when they needed an ultra-precision machine that would safely and quickly produce cylindrical optics modules for their long-delayed program. The scientists at NASA challenged ABTech to develop a multifunctional machine that would act as a diamond turning lathe, an indexing tool for raster grinding and an assembly station – all in one.
The extremely high accuracies of the air bearing slides and spindles were dedicated by the requirements of the assembled lens module. We exceeded the accuracy requirements and achieved 0.5 μm straightness (uncompensated) of the Z-axis over 700 mm of travel and position accuracies to 0.25 μm. Each machine features: Linear stacked air bearing stages; Air-bearing work holding and tailstock spindles for lathe operation or holding position of the optic during assembly and grinding; High-speed air bearing spindle for grinding graphite optic mounting surfaces; Indexing turret assembly; Granite surface plate and base frame; CNC lathe controller and electrical control cabinet.
ABTech designed, manufactured and delivered two air-bearing based diamond turning drum lathes in 6 months, putting the program back on schedule. The machines performed flawlessly during the assembly and testing of the lens modules for the NuSTAR telescope.
ABTech believes that every interaction is made better by focusing on the well-being of our customers. We challenge ourselves daily with continuous improvement to make each product meet and exceed our customers specifications. We believe our proven process of discovery, collaboration, quotation, execution, implementation and follow-up give ABTech the precision difference.
ABTech engineers every product for ease of use. If your business depends on air-bearing sub-micron accuracies, real-time measurements and ease of use, ABTech is the right choice.