Multi-Axis Motion for Vacuum Applications: New 6DOF Hexapod Motion Systems - Smaller than traditional 6-Axis Vacuum Stages

(Nanowerk News) Vacuum chambers are limited in volume and products that go inside are better when they are smaller. PI offers 6-axis precision motion systems, based on parallel kinematics. These hexapod positioners are more compact than conventional multi-axis stages and provide more versatility at the same time, ideal for vacuum based high precision motion and alignment tasks with optics, fibers, and semiconductors.
A hexapod offers motion in 6 degrees of freedom (XYZ, Pitch, Roll, Yaw). PI has designed and manufactured high precision hexapod systems for more than 3 decades and provides hundreds of models from miniature sized systems for Silicon Photonics Alignment to large units that help align huge antenna feeds for astronomical telescopes. PI’s hexapods were instrumental in improving the performance of the ALMA telescope array that was instrumental in imaging the first black hole.
Vacuum-compatible hexapods provide highly accurate motion in 6 degrees of freedom in a compact space. (Image: PI)
With the addition of more standard, vacuum compatible hexapods, the load range of 5 to 80kg is covered; custom models for loads up to 1 ton have been designed as well. The hexapods provide very high resolution and repeatability to 0.1µm and 2 µrad, respectively.
The vacuum series was designed from the ground up for vacuum compatibility, with each component qualified to work under the specified conditions. Everything, from the base materials, nuts and bolts, encoders, cables, limit switches, was selected for optimal performance.


PI’s hexapod controllers and hexapod software are based on 30 years of experience with parallel kinematic motion systems. They are easy to program, allow the user to change the center of rotation with one command, and come with high level alignment functions built in. PI’s free hexapod software simulates the limits of workspace and load capacity, thereby ensuring the hexapod you choose will handle the loads, forces, and torques in your application.
Specifications, Datasheet, More Information

Other Vacuum and UHV Positioning Products

PI provides a wide range of vacuum and UHV compatible linear stages and rotary stages for nano-positioning and micro-positioning applications, including piezo flexure stages, piezo motor solutions and even multi-axis systems such as 6-DOF hexapod parallel positioners to cover the most demanding vacuum motion applications. Industries served include semiconductors, aerospace, optics and photonics, precision automation, life-sciences, and big science research.

Working with You

PI’s in-house engineered solutions have enabled customers around the world to increase their productivity and technological advantage for 5 decades. With a large basis of proven motion technologies and methodologies, PI is in the position to quickly modify existing designs or provide a fully customized OEM solution to fit the exact requirements of your application from sensors and piezo transducers to microscope nano-focus units, fast photonics alignment systems to multi-axis automation sub-systems.

About PI

PI is a privately held company that designs and manufactures world-class precision motion and automation systems including air bearings, hexapods and piezo drives at locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company was founded 5 decades ago and today employs more than 1300 people worldwide. PI’s customers are leaders in high-tech industries and research institutes in fields such as photonics, life-sciences, semiconductors, and aerospace.
Source: Nanosurf (press release)
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