PIglide Air Bearing Technology

Nanometer Precision, Multi-Axis Motion

  • Frictionless high-precision positioning
  • Velocity stability and scanning 
  • High guiding accuracy
  • Active yaw control

Operating Principle

A direct-drive motor and high-resolution encoder can position a moving carriage supported by an air bearing to within nanometers in a linear application or within tenths of arcseconds in rotational applications. The lack of friction and mechanical contact means there is minimal hysteresis or reversal error, making it highly repeatable and ideal for many inspection and manufacturing operations.


Characteristics

Stiction is virtually eliminated, improving resolution capabilities, position repeatability can be obtained within a few fundamental encoder counts. Similar precision can be obtained by piezo flexure guided stages, however over much smaller travel ranges.

Velocity Stability and Scanning

The lack of mechanical bearing elements means there is nothing to get in the way of smooth, controlled velocity (stability to better than 0.01 %). Experiments and processes like inertial sensor testing, tomography, wafer scanning, and surface profiling require continuous motion at a tightly controlled speeds are best served by air bearing systems.

High Guiding Accuracy

Linear air bearing stages have incredibly straight and flat travels, measured in the 100’s or 10’s of nanometers and subarcsecond pitch, roll, and yaw errors. Rotary stages have tilt (wobble) errors less than 1 arcsecond. Additionally, the angular performance of an air bearing is remarkably repeatable. This guarantees optimal part quality and measurement reliability for applications such as optics inspection, semiconductor inspection, and medical device manufacturing.


Active Yaw Control

Error Correction

On request, PI has implemented an active yaw control algorithm on the dual motor axis of the PIglide HS Planar XY stage. Y axis and Yaw axis have separate control loops for linear and rotational motion control.

  • Better dynamic performance
  • Facilitates simplified error mapping 
  • Decoupled motions – No matrix operations
  • Flexible stage design allows up to 1 degree of theta rotation
  • Used for small alignment motions and error mapping

Error mapping can be performed on:

  • X (cross) axis straightness and yaw
  • Y (dual-motor) axis straightness and yaw
  • XY orthogonality

 

 

Responsiveness

By combining extremely responsive engineering consultative support and lean manufacturing techniques, PI is able to provide the highest quality customer service. Maximum performance of precision systems is achieved through extensive design and analysis expertise, using equipment built inhouse with proprietary techniques.

Experience with Air Bearing Technology

PI is building on over 200 man-years of in-house air bearing experience and offers comprehensive precision air bearing motion control and positioning products and systems. With 4 decades of experience in piezo nanopositioning systems design and motorized precision positioning equipment, the new air bearing systems capabilities are a natural and logical extension of PI’s precision motion offerings.

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Products

PI A-65x
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A-65x PIglide HB: Hemispherical Air Bearing

Friction-free, ideal for rotary motion on three axes

  • Clean room compatible
  • Low inertia
  • Diameter up to 300 mm
  • Rotatable in three directions
  • Load capacity to 635 kg
  • Tip/tilt range to ±45°
  • Operating pressure of 30 psi to 90 psi (207 kPa to 621 kPa)
  • Ideal for satellite control and simulation of weightlessness
PI A-121
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A-121 PIglide AT1 Linear Air Bearing Stage

High Performance Small Design Nanopositioning Stage

  • Ideal for scanning applications or ultra-precise positioning
  • Clean room compatible
  • Customer-specific adaptations can be provided
  • Table size 115 mm × 115 mm
  • Low profile 60 mm height
PI A-141
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A-141 PIglide MB Miniature Linear Air Bearing Stage

High Performance, Cleanroom Compatible, Customizable

  • Table size 57 mm × 83 mm
  • Overall height 38 mm
  • Travel lengths to 40 mm
  • Max. payload 3.5 kg
  • Non-contact fully preloaded air bearings
  • Ironless cog-free linear motor
  • Integral optical linear encoder
  • Resolutions to 20 nm
  • Velocity to 0.5 m/sec
  • Acceleration to 0.75 g
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A-311 PIglide IS Planar Scanner with Air Bearing

High-Performance, Compact XY Nanopositioning System

  • Ideal for scanning applications or high-precision positioning
  • Cleanroom compatible
  • Travel ranges to 200 mm × 200 mm
  • Load capacity to 147 N
  • Low profile
  • Resolution to 1 nm
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A-322 PIglide HS Planar Scanner with Air Bearing

XY Positioning System with 1 nm Resolution

  • Ideal for scanning applications or high-precision positioning
  • Clean room compatible
  • Travel ranges to 500 mm × 1000 mm
  • Load capacity to 245 N
  • Resolution to 1 nm
  • Velocity up to 2 mm/s
PI A-123
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A-123 PIglide AT3 Linear Air Bearing Stage

High Performance Nanopositioning Stage

  • Ideal for scanning applications or ultra-precise positioning
  • Clean room compatible
  • Customer-specific adaptations can be provided
  • Table size 210 mm × 210 mm
  • Travel ranges 50 mm to 750 mm
  • Load capacity to 35 kg
  • Non-contact fully preloaded air bearings
  • Ironless cog-free linear motor
  • Integral optical linear encoder
  • Resolution to 1 nm
  • Velocity to 1 m/sec
  • Acceleration to 3 g
  • Maintenance-free

Downloads

pdf

Brochure: PIglide Air Bearing Technology

Nanometer Precision, Multi-Axis Motion, Stadard and Custom Design
BRO46
English
pdf - 2 MB
pdf

Whitepaper: Air Bearings: When to Use and When to Avoid in Your Motion Applicaiton

All Positioning Stages are not Created Equal. Author: Matt Reck, PI
WP4003 2015-09
English
pdf - 3 MB