Episode #43: How Piezo Motors Work

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The Motion Control Show

There's at least one more type of electric motor that we need to touch on in our series of electric motors, and that's the piezo motor.  I'm Corey Foster at Valin Corporation.  Let's see what we can learn.

The piezo motors are based upon the piezo-electric effect.  It's a little piece of ceramic that, when electricity is applied to it, moves in an oval direction and it creates a finger that moves along the surface.  Now, notice when it moves on that oval surface, it isn't always in contact with the surface.  So, if it's a vertical axis, it is not always in contact.  So that may not be the best technology for a vertical application.  But if you use two or three or four of these fingers next to each other, then not only do you get more force than just one, but some of them are always going to be in contact with that surface, which makes them much more effective.  This can also be used on a rotary surface or a round surface so that they are walking around the surface.  These are great for tiny little, very accurate motion.

The linear motors that I talked about in the last episode really struggle below a micron, below a tenth of a micron.  You just get into the mechanical bearing problems that cause problems for the control loop.  But these types of motors here, the piezo, are really used for the submicron type applications as long as you don't need to go too fast too far and what have you.  But, typically those applications don't need super high, fast or high precision over a long travel. 

Now, interestingly enough, these motors can be either fixed in place so that the motor’s fixed and then that moves the surface on bearings.  Or the surface here can be fixed and the motor can be moved along it, moving a carriage.  So, there are multiple ways this can be applied.

I think there's a lot of very interesting type of applications out there for this type of technology.  If you need help or need some direction, feel free to reach out to us at the website and email here.  I'm Corey Foster at Valin Corporation.  I hope this helps.

If you have any questions or are just looking for some help, we're happy to discuss your application with you.  Reach out to us at (855) 737-4716 or fill out our online form.