PI is a worldwide leading supplier of solutions in the fields of motion and positioning.
PI does not only develop and produce a broad range of positioning stages and actuators for linear, rotary and vertical motion or combinations of different axes. PI also adapts those solutions to customer-specific applications or supplies finished subsystems for motion and positioning.
Select the product type specified by the axes of motion required. Selection of more criteria expands or shortens the list of results. Select more than one filter at a time, for example, to find positioning stages designed for higher load capacity, too.
PI’s multi-axis piezo flexure stages allow positioning and scanning with sub-nanometer precision in up to 6 axis, including tip, tilt and yaw motion. Versions range from most compact cube design to large aperture and low profile.
PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy
Piezo flexure stages and objective scanners of the PIFOC® and PInano® series offer high dynamics in positioning and scanning tasks. Well adapted solutions for XY specimen positioning parallel and vertical to the optical axis and Z focusing of the objective are available as standard products.
PI’s nanopositioning stages and scanners combine nanometer-precision resolution and guiding precision with minimum crosstalk. This makes them particularly suitable for reference applications in metrology, for microscopic processes, for interferometry or in inspection systems for semiconductor chip production.
High-precision 2-axis nanopositioning systems integrate PICMA® piezo actuators for maximum reliability. Repeatable, drift-free positioning with optimal stability is possible by the use of high-quality nanometrology sensors.
The high stiffness of piezo flexure mirror platforms allows for high dynamics and excellent position stability. The compact devices are frequently used for beam deflection in laser processing and laser steering. Their parallel-kinematic design creates identical performance in tip and tilt axis, with a common fixed pivot point and no change of polarization direction.
Miniature stages are essential in positioning tasks where available space is limited. Piezomotor solutions like Q-motion, PIline® and PiezoWalk® allow for the most compact stages due to their direct drive principle.
Rotation stages with piezomotor make for particularly compact sizes. These compact rotation stages can be used in optics applications, where they position, for example, filters reliably and with excellent repeatability. Rotation stages can be mounted on linear stages without adapter and allow for flexible combinations of multi-axis positioning systems.
The smallest devices for 6 degrees of freedom are built from Q-motion piezomotor stages, but also palm-size BLDC motor versions are available. Best overall homogeneity of performance is achieved with the classic hexapod design. Low-profile design is preferred when relatively large tilting angles are required.
PI offers a wide range of motorized linear stages to supply high-precision industrial markets like semiconductor and photonics, as well as high-end research. Vacuum versions are available for a large number of different models. Multi-axis compositions can be set up with adapter brackets or specialized vertical stages and compatible rotation stages.
Stages with Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor. The friction-free magnetic direct drive principle allows for most dynamic stages. Compared with motor-spindle-based stages, they use fewer mechanical components which results in less friction and backlash and thus more precision.
Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors
Industrial applications in the production process such as laser processing benefit from the precise positioning accuracy of motorized positioning stages. Their low profile makes the variable stage series suitable for universal use, ranging from testing systems to production lines in precision automation.
Miniature stages are essential in positioning tasks where available space is limited. Piezomotor solutions like Q-motion, PIline® and PiezoWalk® allow for the most compact stages due to their direct drive principle.
Choose from the widest range of technologies the optimum for your special demands: Set-and-forget applications benefit from the specific features of piezomotors that provide excellent long-term stability, also for vacuum or nonmagnetic environments. Stepper and DC motor solutions are well-established and reliable for both industrial and research use.
The PiezoMike linear actuators offer the high resolution of piezo direct drives, high forces and absolutely stable positioning. This makes them ideal for set-and-forget applications with high precision requirements like the positioning of optical elements in a laser application.
Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option
Voice coil drives show very high velocities and allow for fast step-and-settle. Wear-free flexure guidings or mechanical guidings are available. The optional force control allows for stand-alone solutions in pressure-sensitive device testing.
PIezoMove actuators are flexure-guided and have strokes up to 1 mm. Being very compact, they can be easily integrated.
Generating forces of up to 10000 N and strokes of up to 100 µm are the characteristics of nanopositioning piezo actuators based on PICMA® multilayer piezos.
PiezoWalk® actuators are highly specialized piezobased drives intended for integration. Designed for use in the semiconductor industry, they boost on reliability, position resolution and long-term stability. Their special features include minimum size with high force generation. The drive itself is resistant to magnetic fields.
PI offers stages with all kinds of motorization and guiding options: air-bearing, torque motor driven, motorized worm-gear coupled, tiny piezomotor stages and specialized goniometer stages with orthogonal tip-tilt mounting option.
Stability, precision and dynamics are crucial in the application fields of PI’s XY stages. They are the basis of high throughput rates and reliable operation. PI makes use of own developments in the fields of PIMag® magnetic linear motors and PIglide air bearings. Industrial production and quality control benefit from PI’s high-load XY stages and planar scanners.
Hexapods provide six degrees of freedom in the most compact package. In combination with absolute measuring sensors, software and motion controllers that make the most complicated motion profiles easy to command, PI hexapods answer industrial requirements.
Precision components, stable control and a great deal of experience in engineering are essential for high-precision complex motion and positioning solutions. PI is a supplier of technologically sophisticated drive components and high-precision positioners and also offers all levels of integration for engineered subsystems.
Piezo scanners take care of fast, continuous scanning tasks, where durability, dynamics, and precision matter. The larger travel ranges are realized with XYZ combinations or 6-axis hexapods. Integrated routines make it possible to perform single-axis alignments up to complex, multi-axis fiber array positioning within the shortest possible time.
The decision for a motion controller depends on the specific application situation. Various criteria, such as limited installation space, the number of axes or the type of control, determine which controller is the right one. PI offers a broad spectrum of controls and regulation concepts.
PI offers the broadest range of digital and analog piezo control concepts that are adapted for optimal result in every application. Calibration of all piezo systems is done before delivery and all systems are delivered ready for operation.
Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators
PI’s piezo drivers are available as benchtop or rackmount solutions, and as OEM modules also with separate power supply for minimized size. Piezo drivers integrate high-performance amplifiers specialized for different fields of applications.
Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors
PI develops motion control solutions in-house to best adjust the features to the requirements of both drive and application. PI’s motion controllers are generally designed as single-channel devices and are available as benchtop, rackmount or OEM versions.
Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types
Modular motion controller systems provide best flexibility for increasing the number of axes in a system. They allow the use of different drive types with only one user interface. The number of available models is continuously extended. Contact PI now for your individual controller setup!
As unique as the hexapod mechanics, the motion controller is designed to make parallel kinematics algorithms as easy and unnoticed by the user as possible: All target positions are commanded in Cartesian coordinates. For best integration in automation processes, the Hexapod motion controller is available with industrial EtherCAT interface.
Piezoelectric ultrasonic transducers are available in a wide range of shapes like disks, plates or tubes, and different performance levels. They can be adapted to application requirements by using different piezoceramic materials, electrodes, and assembling technology.
PI positioning systems are employed where technology is pushed forward in industry and research. This is done, for example, in semiconductor manufacturing, in medical engineering, in biotechnology, in plant engineering, in surface metrology, or in astronomy.
Because the need for multi-axis and also precision robots in production and quality processes is on the increase, industry is looking out for new types of robotics. PI offers parallel-kinematic hexapods for these tasks.
Lithographic processes are the reason why chips are getting smaller and smaller and why extremely fine structures can be realized on silicon wafers. Piezo drives have made these technical advances possible with their performance and reliability.
Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy (LSFM), also called Single Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM ) is a very powerful microscopy technology for gentle in vivo imaging offering low phototoxicity and fast image acquisition.
Light Sheet Microscopy is a fascinating technology with a huge application potential in life sciences and biotechnology. IsoView is a brilliant interpretation of this technology, especially intended for imaging fast cellular dynamics across large specimens over several hours. Specimen positioning and objective translation plays a major role in the design of IsoView.
An automated assembly and alignment system can reduce the manufacturing process for silicon photonics to only a few minutes. However, handling the delicate waveguides is indeed a major challenge as the integration of the light sources at a wafer level and connection of the optical inputs and outputs are difficult to perform.
Progress in pharmaceutical research, diagnostics, and therapy requires high-performance and precise position systems. In addition to high positioning precision, requirements for the drives often include compact dimensions, low energy consumption, speed, and high reliability.
Variable Focusing and Sharp Focus for Endoscopic Applications
Tiniest piezomotors, magnetic miniature drives and miniaturized piezo tubes are used in various are used in various endoscopy procedures to generate high-resolution image information in the smallest possible installation space.
Speed and precision have leaped since the beginnings of genome analysis – while, at the same time, costs have continuously decreased. „Sequencing-by-synthesis“, the currently leading method, is based on signal detection by fluorescence microscopes. Positioning solutions for microscope objectives and sample stages play a decisive role in it.
Efficiency has become an important buzzword these days. Materials research has paid a major contribution as the results have, for example, optimized processing methods. Methods such as X-rays and lasers or white light interferometry demand precise positioning of the specimens to be examined and of optics or beam control.
Mechanical engineering and manufacturing technology require fast, reliable and energy-saving drive components. The spectrum ranges from piezo actuators to six-axis parallel kinematics which can communicate directly with CNC controls.
Positioning and motion tasks in industrial automation such as those in assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, mechanical engineering, laser material processing, inspection systems or in additive manufacturing demand solutions that need to be robust and reliable.
Testing aspherical shape accuracy requires the measurement of the smallest deviations in the nanometer range and short measuring and set-up times. The solution is a new interferometer from metrology company Mahr. As part of the overall system, the hexapod positions lenses and the calibration sphere.
Dynamic compensation of Lorentz forces at the XFEL accelerator structures: The particle accelerator XFEL at the DESY (German Electron Synchrotron) uses acceleration technology based on super-conducting acceleration structures, so-called resonators or cavities.
The assembly of complex optical systems like objective lenses for smartphone cameras or laser cavities requires more and more accuracy. Active alignment addresses the resulting needs and helps to reduce cycle times by two orders of magnitude and more.
PI combines its long-term experience in micro and nanopositioning technology with in-depth knowledge in the fields of mechanics, electronics, sensor engineering, and software. Thus, PI is able to offer its customers the most advanced drive technologies and system solutions.
PI Ceramic offers a wealth of experience in the manufacturing of piezoceramic materials, components, and actuators. The piezoceramic materials can be adapted individually to perfectly fit the later use of the piezo components.
Depending on the configuration and control, piezoceramic actuators can be used to create translational motions or as motors with a virtually unlimited travel range. The choice of drive depends on the requirements of the application.
Rotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives. Stepper motor systems with high-resolution encoders can perform minimum incremental motions of 10 nm with high reliability and repeatability.
In a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform. This means that all axes can be designed with identical dynamic properties, thus reducing the moved mass considerably. Hexapods are used for moving and precision positioning, aligning and displacing loads in all six degrees of freedom, i.e., three linear and three rotational axes.
The linearity and repeatability achieved are not possible without highest-resolution measuring devices. Accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement method that can also detect motion in this range.
Linear Scale Encoders for Nanometrology & Nanopositioning
PI uses incremental measurement systems for longer travel ranges, starting from approximately one millimeter. These sensors, which in most cases are optical sensors, achieve position resolution down to the picometer range.
Fast settling or extremely smooth low speed motion, high positional stability, high resolution and high dynamics – the requirements placed on piezo systems vary greatly and need drivers and controllers with a high degree of flexibility.
Fast USB or TCP/IP interfaces as well as RS-232 are the standard interfaces supported by modern digital controllers from PI. Furthermore, PI also provides digital or analog real-time capable interfaces.
Piezo Controllers & Drivers for Nanopositioning Systems
Characteristic properties of piezo actuators include high feed forces and fast response. Since piezoelectric actuators react to even the smallest change in voltage with a motion, noise or drift in the control must be avoided.
The need to align devices down to nanoscale accuracy is arising in many fields. Optical components such as the lenses or lens assemblies in small cameras, or even the CCD chip itself, need to be positioned with ever more precision.
Flexure joints, mechanical guide components or magnetic bearings? Which kind of guiding system PI uses in its products depends on parameters such as travel range, required precision, load, lifetime, and ambient conditions.
Positioning in High Vacuum (HV) and Ultrahigh Vacuum (UHV)
Careful handling, adequate premises: PI does not only have the necessary equipment for the qualification of materials, components and final products, but also has many years of experience with regard to HV und UHV positioning systems.
PI stands for technical excellence and continuous advance in precision positioning – driven by the passion for technology and its use in customer applications. The target of the PI Group is to develop this market and technological leadership even further and therefore secure a decisive competitive advantage for its customers.
PI qualifies its products with external measuring equipment. These are calibrated in part and traceable to a national standard.
Using the PIOne incremental encoder and capacitive sensors, PI manufactures own metrology for inclusion in PI products.
Heavy Duty Hall for Positioning Systems Weighing Several Tons
The product range from a two-ton hexapod to a ten-gram nanopositioner requires that PI can both manufacture and qualify these systems. For this reason, PI operates a heavy duty hall at its location in Karlsruhe for the assembly and measurement of masses up to five tons.
ACS Motion Control is an OEM-focused supplier of motion controller and drive solutions for high-tech systems in fields such as semiconductor manufacturing, laser processing, additive manufacturing, flat panel display manufacturing, electronic assembly, life sciences, and more. Headquartered in Israel, ACS has technical sales and support offices in the USA, Germany, China, and South Korea. ACS joined the PI Group in January 2017, when PI became a majority shareholder of ACS Motion Control.
Quick and easy: Order PI’s stages, controllers, and matching accessories for your project in our online shop. The PI Store offers over 300 selected standard products from PI and PI Ceramic for direct purchase online.
Unlimited Resolution Piezo actuators convert electrical energy directly into mechanical energy and vice versa and allow for motions in the subnanometer range. There are no friction elements that limit resolution.
Stiffness, Load Capacity, Force Generation To a first approximation, a piezo actuator is a spring-and-mass system. The stiffness of the actuator depends on the elasticity module of the ceramic (approx. 25% of that of steel), the cross section and length of the active material, and other nonlinear parameters. Typical actuators have stiffnesses between 1 and 2,000 N/μm and compressive limits between 10 and 100,000 N. For tensile stresses, a casing with integrated preload or an external preload spring is required. Adequate measures must be taken to protect the piezo ceramic from shear and bending forces and from torque.
No Wear and Tear A piezo actuator has no moving parts, like gears or bearings. Its displacement is based on crystalline solid-state dynamics and shows no wear and tear. PI piezo actuators have gone through several billion cycles in endurance tests without measurable changes in their behavior.
Operation at Cryogenic Temperatures The piezo effect continues to operate even at very low temperatures close to 0 Kelvin.
Vacuum and Clean Room Compatible Piezo actuators neither cause abrasion nor do they require lubrications. The all-ceramic insulated PICMA® actuators have no polymer coating and are thus ideal for ultrahigh vacuum applications.
Operating Voltage Two types of piezo actuators have become established: Monolithic-sintered PICMA® multilayer actuators (low-voltage actuators) operate at voltages up to about 130 V and are made of ceramic layers from 20 to 100 μm in thickness. Classical high-voltage actuators (PICA high-power actuators) are made from ceramic layers of 0.5 to 1 mm thickness and operate at voltages of up to 1000 V. PICA actuators can be manufactured with larger cross sections, making them suitable for larger loads than the more compact monolithic multilayer piezo actuators.
Low Energy Consumption Static operation, even holding heavy loads for long periods, consumes virtually no power. A piezo actuator behaves very much like an electrical capacitor. When at rest, no heat is generated.
Rapid Response Piezo actuators allow response times of a few microseconds. Acceleration rates of more than 10,000 g can be obtained.
High Force Generation High-load piezo actuators capable of moving loads of several tons are available. They can cover travel ranges to 300 μm with resolutions in the subnanometer range.
Position Resolution The piezo ceramic itself works free of friction and theoretically has unlimited resolution. In practice, the resolution actually attainable is limited by electrical and mechanical factors: a) Sensor and servo-control electronics, amplifiers: Amplifier noise and sensitivity to electromagnetic interferences (EMI) affect positional stability. b) Mechanical parameters: Design and mounting precision issues concerning the actuator, preload and sensor can induce microscopic friction which limits resolution and accuracy. Piezo actuators reach subnanometer resolution and stability.
No Magnetic Fields The piezoelectric effect is related to electric fields, piezo actuators do not produce magnetic fields nor are they affected by them.
Travel Range The travel ranges of piezo actuators are typically in between a few 10 to a few 100 μm for linear actuators. Bending actuators can achieve a few millimeters.