Israeli firm Nanomotion has developed a new type of motor which uses time actuators to produce high-speed linear or rotary motion. It allows for positional accuracy which can be measured in nanometres.
The motor is cost-effective for specialist equipment makers such as microscope slideways, says Graham Mackrell, sales director of Chichester-based Heason technologies, which is importing it.
The development may have car industry applications in automated wing mirrors, sun roofs, central locking systems and windscreen wipers. But, says Mackrell, although they cost less than $1 a piece, it could be a couple of years before the conservative car industry adopts them.
Nanomotion’s motor is made up of tiny ceramic ‘inverse-piezo effect’ motion controllers, called actuators. These behave as a friction drive, pushing and pulling an alumina plate which moves a linear slide.
The technology derives from work by the Curie brothers in 1880, who produced an electric charge by stressing certain materials. Conversely, Nanomotion applies an electric field to the ceramic material to induce stress and hence motion.
The smallest motor, rated at 5N linear force, has a velocity of up to 500mm/sec and a resolution down to 5nm. It weighs 18g.
Several motors can be used to convert linear into rotary motion.
There are plans to extend the velocity range to 1,000mm/sec.