'V8 Power' and Nanometer Precision Positioning in PI's New Piezo Linear Motor

(Nanowerk News) Motion control and piezo systems expert PI (Physik Instrumente) introduces a new robust OEM walking motor drive, the N-331, with its configuration rooted in existing patented piezo actuator technology and a patented piezo stepping motion principle design. Based on the application of historically successful technology, the new design it is ideal for use in high-end applications that require extreme precision and durability.
N-331 Piezo Linear Motor Actuator
*NEW* PI’s N-331 Piezo Linear Motor Actuator combines high force and speed. (Image: PI)
Unlike traditional electromagnetic motors, piezo motors do not create magnetic fields, nor are they influenced by magnetic or electric fields – a characteristics that is advantageous in applications from e-beam lithography to MRI technology. When large optics, detectors or camera set-ups in industrial applications need to be positioned with nanometer precision, it can be beneficial to cut the actuator power once the fine positioning process is complete. If a motor or actuator is dependent on a continuous current draw to hold a position, heat dissipation, electromagnetic fields and thermal effects may have negative influences on the performance of the system. PICMAWalk motors are self-clamping, i.e. at rest or in steady state mode, they automatically hold the position without any need for power.
PI’s PICMAWalk piezo linear motor uses 8 PICMA® piezo actuators arranged in a V-shape similar to a classical V8 engine to achieve high push/pull and holding forces along with nanometer precision. The space-tested PICMA® actuators are highly reliable, providing 60N (13lbs) power-off holding force and 50N (11 lbs) push/pull force. The maximum velocity is specified at 15mm/sec (0.6 inch/sec) and loads up to 5kg (11lbs) can be positioned with nanometer precision.

Open and Closed-Loop Designs

The units are available with 3 standard travel ranges from 25 to 100mm in both open and closed-loop configurations. The closed-loop models incorporate a high-precision incremental encoder with nanometer resolution. The calculated piezo-mechanical resolution is better than 1/10 nanometer.
For maximum precision and reliability, the piezo actuators are integrated in a solid-state flexure guiding system, free of stiction and friction. Flexure elements combine high stiffness and load capacity. They do not require maintenance or lubricants, are 100% vacuum compatible, function in a wide temperature range, and are intrinsically wear-free.

Standard and Custom

In addition to the standard models, custom designs for OEMs are available, facilitated by the modular design.


Optics, microscopy, automation technology, imaging technology, medical engineering
Specifications, Datasheet, More Information

About PI

PI is a leading manufacturer of precision motion control equipment, piezo motors, air bearing stages and hexapod parallel-kinematics for semiconductor applications, photonics, bio-nano-technology and medical engineering. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision products with piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives for 4 decades. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with twelve subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents, and total staff of 950+.
Source: PI (press release)
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