What Industries are Piezoelectric Motors Used For?

silver microscope

Piezoelectric motors have been commercialized in various areas such as information technology, robotics, biomedical engineering, automotive, ecological and energy engineering. They are often preferred over electromagnetic type actuators, due mainly to suitability to miniaturization, lack of electromagnetic generation, higher efficiency.

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What is a Piezoelectric Motor?

Piezo motors can be designed in either linear or rotary form and applied to host of applications as both single and complex multi-axis system that enable very precise, repeatable and reliable motion control. The small size of the piezo motor means they can be used in a variety of locations where other solutions may have limitations. In addition, because piezo motors are not magnetic that can often be used in applications that require the generation of strong magnetic fields environments, such as medical MRI machines.

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Evolving Design Challenges with Piezoelectric Motion Devices (Part 3 of 3)

Piezo motors offer technical benefits and are now an affordable alternative to DC motors for rotary and linear motion requirements. They are direct drive and offer high precision with fast response times, plus good power density and light weight. With zero power to hold they offer the possibility of very efficient overall duty. They can be designed to offer low magnetic permeability for use in MRI fields, are immune from EM and RF interference, and have no emissions.

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Evolving Design Challenges with Piezoelectric Motion Devices (Part 2 of 3)

Piezo motors require no power when inactive and maintain full blocking force and torque in this condition. At one revolution per minute a rotary motor requires less than 0.1 Watts and linear motors only need 0.06 Watts to drive at 1mm/second. This can lead to low overall power demand and is especially applicable in portable instrument applications with a battery supply; it can also be beneficial in reducing heat generation inside equipment. For the same power as a comparable sized stepper motor the piezo motor has a stall torque up to 10x greater for the same power rating.

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Evolving Design Challenges with Piezoelectric Motion Devices (Part 1 of 3)

The initial effective motors using the reverse piezoelectric effect were created by the mid-1960s at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. The technology has continued to evolve, and today a range of linear and rotary motion devices are available offering precise motion control down to nanometer precision. However, they are typically high-cost devices and are primarily used in specific premium market applications such as optics, semiconductor, and photonics.

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Accurate Motion provided by Piezoelectric Motor Without Gears or Magnets

When engineers hear the word “motor,” they will typically think of “electromagnetic.” Traditional motors use coils and magnetic materials to provide rotary or linear motion. The alternative to the electromagnetic motor which is finding its way into an increasing number of applications is the piezoelectric motor, also called a piezoelectric actuator or piezo motor. Its principles of operation is the well-known piezoelectric effect.

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Electronic Driver – Piezo Motors

two square blue LED lights

The piezo drive scenario is the complement of the electromagnetic drive, where current drive is needed and voltage is a consequence; here, voltage is what is needed, and current is the consequence. The piezo driver must supply the needed voltage (not current) into a capacitive (not inductive) load, and it must control and modulate this voltage to force the desired crystal elongation. In other words, current is the independent parameter and voltage is reliant on parameter for conventional motors, but for piezo motors, the situation is the opposite.

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Piezoelectric Motors – the Better Alternative

Piezoelectric motors have evolved from their beginnings in laboratories to use in mass production industrial applications. Modern piezo motor designs provide a higher level of performance from a smaller size, produce higher resolution movement, and require less power and energy than other types of positioning technologies. Because of this, piezoelectric motors have several advantages over traditional motion control devices.

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