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PI Ceramic has released a white paper on the development and test of reliable multilayer piezo actuators, which are suitable for use in challenging motion control applications.

Piezoelectric multilayer actuators have been used in fields as diverse as injection valves for combustion engines (speed) and atomic force microscopy (precision).

These types of actuators have been in use for about two decades and reached maturity several years ago, according to the company.

Continuous improvements are based on long-term tests and the exact knowledge of the environmental operating conditions and failure modes allows users to push the limits of this technology even further.

The paper describes the development and lifetime tests of ceramic encapsulated actuators under different operating conditions (DC and AC).

The actuators are comparable to polymer-coated piezo ceramic actuators in long-term tests.

The white paper also discusses equations and graphs for lifetime calculations under different operational and environmental conditions and special internal electrode designs.

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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