In conversation with our Solutions Engineer, Sam Van Den Avond

Piezo Motion is committed to the development of innovative piezoelectric technology and precision motion for a multitude of applications. While many motors reach design limits, our compact piezoelectric motors have become a viable solution for life-saving medical applications such as wearable and implantable drug dispensers to surgical robotics. Today, we are talking about how our tiny motors are shaping the MedTech world with Solution Engineer Sam Van Den Avond.

Sam, let’s begin by talking about how Piezo Motion’s precision motors are changing the MedTech market?

At Piezo Motion, our motors provide a unique selling proposition versus standard DC technology. One of the most significant propositions that stands out in my mind is our ability to create a motor that does not emit EMI or is susceptible to EMI. This is important in imaging applications like MRIs, where electronics are present next to very large and powerful magnets. This is possible because our motor design enables the construction of motors that do not use ferromagnetic material, emit electromagnetic fields, or require high-power PWM frequencies to commutate.

The other is by making the high-precision motion more accessible. Our motors have a high open-loop resolution (a minimum step of 50 nm for linear actuators and a minimum step of .05 microradians for rotary motors) that can be improved with chip encoders, making the high-precision motion more compact and often cost-effective. This opens the door to high precision motion in many medical device applications that previously weren’t accessible due to space constraints or pricing constraints. This is possible because of the control algorithm that we use to excite our piezo ceramic.

It seems like there is limitless potential. Do you see this technology going beyond just medical science?

Absolutely! I see relevant applications in other industries, from cobots to UAVs and everything in between. Our compact form factor and lightweight make our products ideal for gripper applications with cobots or gimbal joints in UAVs where load and size are essential. Similarly, 3D printing and desktop laboratory analyzers can benefit from the speed and precision that our products provide as well.

Can you provide an example of some projects you are working on right now and what kind of applications our motors are being used in?

We are working on many new projects at this moment, but I’ll highlight a couple. The first is we are working on replacing stepper motors on a 3D printer application with some custom rotary encoders to increase the precision of the printer, meaning higher quality prints for the end customers. The other is replacing voice coils in a LIDAR application with custom rotary and linear motors. The added precision that our motors provide as well as the space savings increases the image the LIDAR is able to create as well as back the package size for the OEM smaller.

What do you think the future hold for Piezo Motion?

I think the future is bright! There are just so many different applications where our technology can be used that we will continue to learn from our technology partners and continue to refine and develop.