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Published: October 4, 2012
Find more content on: Motors

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Piezo Motors

A new 70-page brochure on piezo-electric motors has just been published by PI (Physik Instrumente). The document, which can be downloaded free of charge, describes inertial motors, often referred to as stick slip motors; ultrasonic motors; and stepping (or walk) type motors. In addition to applications and commercially available products with drawings and technical data, background information on the operating principles and physics behind each device is available.  

All three types of piezo motors are self-clamping at rest, resulting in no energy consumption and high stability, and the technology is intrinsically nonmagnetic and vacuum compatible. The motors and actuators can also be supplied as integrated units in precision positioning stages and platforms.

Inertial motors are compact and economical, and their motion is based on a piezoceramic element that expands slowly and then retracts very quickly. Because of their small size, they lend themselves to integration in miniature positioning stages. PI’s latest generation achieves speeds up to 10 mm/sec and forces to 10 N.

Ultrasonic piezo motors provide the highest velocities, typically from 100 to 1000 mm/sec. They feature smooth motion and attain forces on the order of 5 to 15 N.

Piezostepping motors, the most complex of the three motor types, are based on several preloaded actuators performing coordinated motion similar to the way humans walk. These motors are robust and can provide forces to 800 N.

The brochure can be downloaded at

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