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Lower-Cost Hexapod Positioner Enables New Applications Including Industrial Automation and Manufacturing Neuroscience

Precision motion specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) has introduced a new lower-cost, hexapod micro-positioning system, a parallel kinematic platform that provides motion with 6-degrees of freedom. Due to its new cost-saving design, that retains the full flexibility offered by the PI hexapod architecture, the H-820 will enable applications in new markets.

The new H-820 was developed for applications that require multi-axis motion and high flexibility but do not need precision on a nanometer or sub-micrometer level. Driven by powerful brushless motors, PI's new model caters to these needs with linear travel to 100 mm, rotary travel to 60°, load capacity of 20 kg, velocity of 20mm/sec, and resolution in the micrometer range. With a freely programmable center of rotation these devices are virtually as versatile as the human hand.

Applications

The hexapod is ideal for many applications including industrial automation and manufacturing, neuroscience, bio-technology research, or for micro-manipulation, the alignment and assembly of mechanical components, micromachining, satellite testing, sensor alignment, X-ray microscopy and medical engineering.

Why Parallel Kinematics?

The Hexapod is driven by six high-resolution actuators, all connected directly to one light-weight platform. This principle combines high system stiffness with a large clear aperture. Because of the low moving mass, small steps can be performed with significantly shorter settling times compared to stacked multi-axis positioners. Another advantage of this design is the randomized, user-programmable pivot point. In addition, there are no cable management issues and accumulation of runout and wobble errors such as with conventional stacked linear and rotary stages.

Controller, Software, and 20 Years of Experience Included

The hexapod comes complete with an advanced motion controller and a comprehensive software package including alignment algorithms, simulation tools, programming examples, and LabView drivers. It is very easy to control and its users benefit from PI's 20+ years of hexapod design experience.

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PI

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