High Load Hexapod Test and Assembly

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Testing and Qualifying Positioning Systems for Multi-Ton Loads

Assembly of a High Load Hexapod (Image: PI)
Assembly of a High Load Hexapod (Image: PI)

The nano- and micro world is not limited to microscopic loads. Optics in astronomical telescopes and semiconductor lithography equipment are getting larger and heavier, while alignment tolerances that need to be met are getting tighter. Hexapod parallel-kinematic motion and positioning systems are often used in multi-axis alignment processes, from miniaturized fiber optics to giant telescope mirrors, due to their extreme versatility with randomized pivot point capability and standard 6-degree-of-freedom flexibility.

In addition to the optics industry, many automation processes from precision manufacturing to automotive engineering are also relying on hexapods.

A recent addition, PI’s high load test and assembly hall is equipped with everything to build, test, and verify the performance of each part, with the precision of laser interferometers.

PI’s high load precision motion equipment assembly and test hall (Image: PI)
PI’s high load precision motion equipment assembly and test hall (Image: PI)

Three gantry cranes span the working area and lift and transport the components of the positioning systems.

A precision ground granite slab with a flatness of 3.8 µm acts as assembly area. Air-cushioning elements decouple the granite slab against external vibration – a great advantage when aligning components of a positioning system during assembly. A second precision ground granite slab is employed as a measuring plane.

Customers often request qualification data of their high load positioning equipment, mounted at the exact angle with the exact payload as planned in their applications. A giant lift and rotary platform, along with interferometers, are used for these tests.

For test, metrology, and qualification of high-load hexapods in random orientation, PI uses this 10-ton test stand. (Image: PI)
For test, metrology, and qualification of high-load hexapods in random orientation, PI uses this 10-ton test stand. (Image: PI)

 

Video: Hexapod test platform in action >
Video: Hexapod test platform in action >

The rotary and lift test platform allows infinite rotation of payloads to 10 tons around 360°. Hexapod positioning systems can be tested in the exact orientation as in the customer’s final installation. Metrology equipment such as laser interferometers and motion systems are mounted on the same test platform, to avoid relative positioning errors.

M-850K102, High Load, Vacuum Compatible Hexapod (Image: PI)
M-850K102, High Load, Vacuum Compatible Hexapod (Image: PI)

 

 

High Load Hexapod and Compact Hexapod (Image: PI)
High Load Hexapod and Compact Hexapod (Image: PI)

 

> WATCH video: Multiple Ways to Create Multi-Axis Motion

> WATCH video: How to Install a Hexapod

> READ more articles on Hexapods

> SEE Hexapod product examples

Learn more about PI Precision Motion Systems, Stages, Components

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About PI

PI (Physik Instrumente) is a leading manufacturer of precision motion control equipment, piezo motors, air bearing stages and hexapod parallel-kinematics for semiconductor applications, photonics, bio-nano-technology and medical engineering. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision products with piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives for 4 decades. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with fifteen subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of more than 1,000.

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