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Picma actuators, used by Physik Instrumente (PI) and manufactured by its subsidiary PI Ceramic, are completely encapsulated in ceramic and do not use a polymer insulation.

The ceramic insulation increases the usable upper limit of the temperature range to 150C – an advantage for baking out in vacuum applications.

Piezo stepping drives from the Nexact or Nexline range – also manufactured completely in ceramic and vacuum compatible – can be used for larger travel ranges.

Depending on the version, positioning systems equipped with piezo stepping drives are suitable for travel ranges up to 30mm, 125mm and more.

The positioning systems can cope with considerable loads.

Heavy-load versions achieve drive forces of up to 600N, while versions optimised for speed drive achieve speeds of up to 10mm/s at a drive force of 10N.

Piezomotors do not need electric power once the position is reached.

There is therefore no undesirable heat generation in the vacuum.

Additional brakes are not required because piezomotors are self-locking when at rest.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) could not detect any measurable outgassing rates during appropriate testing of these actuators.

Physik Instrumente

PI is a global manufacturer of high precision positioning systems and products based on piezo technology. Used in markets as diverse as biotechnology, semiconductor, defence and astronomy, PI’s products work to improve the speed and precision of many cutting edge processes. Actuators, sensors and positioning systems with either sub-micron or nanometre level precision; many customised for the end user, are included in the product range.

With manufacturing and subsidiary offices around the world and a workforce of more than 500 PI provides direct local support where it is needed. Products range from component level piezo ceramic assemblies to six axis hexapod positioning robots. PI manufactures its own piezo ceramic material including multilayer devices that incorporate its patented ceramic insulation technology. Lead free ceramic technology is now also included in the company’s product range. With the flexibility and continuity of supply offered by having control of piezo ceramic production comes security and speed of delivery for customers who rely on or are looking to move into this area of technology. PI’s piezo ultrasonic and step drive motor technologies offer unique performance including self-locking capability, high force or high speed and non-magnetic and vacuum compatibility.

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