In conversation with our Chief Product & Innovation Officer, Nic Copley
Our team consists of leading scientists and engineers who completed an extensive engineering program culminating in the launch of our leading-edge suite of products. It’s no secret that the people behind Piezo Motion are what make it such an exciting and innovative company. Our Chairman and CEO Hassan Kotob sat down with Nic Copley; our Chief Product and Innovation officer to talk about all things technology.
Hassan Kotob: Nic, you’ve spent over 30 years in the motion control industry before joining Piezo Motion. Let’s start with how this technology is different from other traditional motion technology.
Nic Copley: Most certainly! I’ll begin by saying that this is one of the most interesting technologies I’ve discovered in my career. Traditional piezo technology has extremely high accuracy and is used in some of the more esoteric industries in particular optics, semiconductor, applications and photonics. Traditional piezo technology is characterized by having pretty high cost really; it’s very expensive but incredibly accurate. The piezo technology that we have takes it to a slightly different place.
The piezo control we can achieve isn’t quite the kind of single nanometer level of traditional piezo technology, it’s more in the kind of 40 to 50 nanometers step control range. What’s interesting is that the architecture we’ve developed and the patents we have around piezo ceramic designs – and the technology to control them enable us to elevate applications traditionally served by more conventional DC motors and stepper motors. So, wherever you find good quality DC solutions driving motion applications, we now offer piezo technology as a viable alternative to that kind of technology in all kinds of equipment.
HK: Absolutely, and there are some really interesting application spaces we envisage seeing this technology being used. Can you explain some of these?
NC: There are, and really it’s incredibly diverse as the motion control world is enormous. To some extent it’s really only limited by the imagination of a designer or an engineer working on an OEM device or piece of equipment. We see a lot of potential opportunities in the medical, laboratory, life sciences industries where precise control with an accurate and repeatable motion is important. There’s also an exciting opportunity for precision high-speed reactive devices. There’s a lot of industrial applications that require accurate repetitive motion too such as some of the tests or inspection devices.
We also see that there are certain fields in the traditional piezo applications of optics, photonics, and semiconductors, where companies need precision, but they don’t need to get quite as precise as traditional piezo. Ordinary DC and Stepper solutions can’t quite attain what they need, so we fill an interesting gap between micro-level traditional DC technology and the nanometer level traditional piezo technology. We can give sub micro-control fairly readily, but at a price point that’s affordable compared to the very expensive traditional piezo technologies.
Additionally, there are interesting opportunities in drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. Here we’re looking at controlling the camera gimbals, controlling flaps, cargo doors and bay clamps. We’re also interested in applications in sensors and analytics, controlling the focal length on lidars and the mirror positioning on automotive car doors. Really the list is almost endless to places where you could take the technology!
HK: Completely agree about this unique, innovative, and disruptive technology; the fact it has almost limitless potential. So finally, can you share any updates on what you’re currently working on?
NC: Yes, of course. Our launch range has a specific range of power and torque available but we are continuously working on new products. We’ll be launching increasing sizes and shapes and form factors and power densities of products over the coming months.