New XY Positioning Stages with Diameters from 50 mm to 300 mm

Press Release Summary:

  • A-311 air bearing planar series provide motion properties with eccentricity down to 75 nm and wobble down to 1 µrad
  • Combined with air bearing rotary stages for 3-axis, XY-Theta-Z motion applications
  • Ideal for semiconductor inspection, laser marking, optical metrology and other precision motion uses

Original Press Release:

XY Positioning Stages with Precision Air Bearings from PI (Physik Instrumente)

A compact lightweight planar solution for precision automation, testing and assembly, PI’s new air bearing systems deliver extremely precise XY motion with travel ranges from 50x50 to 300x300mm.

March 2020, Auburn, MA – Worldwide nanopositioning solutions leader PI adds to its compact A-311 line of low-profile planar XY air bearing stages. PI’s US-based air bearing R&D and manufacturing teams have created 2 new versions with travel ranges of 200x200mm and 300x300mm. Planar scanning stages are ideal for semiconductor inspection, laser marking, optical metrology, and other precision motion applications.

Compact, Lightweight, Precise

The compact A-311 air bearing planar series uses a hardcoat aluminum base and two motors, reducing size, weight and cost compared to traditional granite based planar XY stages. Excellent motion fidelity is achieved, for example 1µm straightness over 300mm (and 10nm per 10mm) and 10µrad orthogonality over 300mm. Integrated absolute measuring linear encoders provide:

  • 1nm resolution
  • 0.1µm bidirectional repeatability
  • 0.2µm accuracy

The stages are controlled by a high performance, EtherCat® based motion controller with advanced features such as ServoBoost® and NanoPWM® for higher resolution and adaptability to a wider load range.

Why Use Planar Air Bearings in Precision Positioning Equipment?

Air bearing positioners float on air to provide completely frictionless motion, resulting in negligible hysteresis or reversal error, excellent velocity stability, and zero-wear of mechanical components. Due to the surface averaging effect, straightness and flatness, along with pitch/yaw/roll, are significantly better than with conventional mechanical bearings. Requiring no maintenance or lubrication, air bearings are ideal for use in cleanrooms.

Linear Motors and Encoders for High Speed and Acceleration

Smooth motion with no cogging is provided by ironless linear motors; position information down to 1nm resolution comes from the integrated absolute linear encoders. Features and advantages include:

  • Velocities up to 2m/sec
  • Acceleration to 2.75g
  • Load capacity is increased to 147N (~30lb)
  • Cleanroom compatibility

A-311 Specifications, Datasheet »

Customization/OEM: Additional Rotation Stages or Tip-Tilt

The planar XY stages can be combined with air bearing rotary stages for 3-axis, XY-Theta-Z motion applications. PI’s rotary air bearing stages are available with diameters from 50mm to 300mm and provide excellent motion properties with eccentricity down to 75nm and wobble down to 1µrad. Low profile, Z/tip-tilt options are also available.

More Rotary Air Bearing Stages »

Standard and Custom

PI has in-house engineered solutions with over 4 decades of experience working with customers to provide products that meet application demands, and can quickly modify existing product designs or provide a fully customized OEM part to fit the exact requirements of the application.

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.

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