PIglide Air Bearing Stages, Components, Systems, by PI USA

PIglide Precision Air Bearing Stages, Components, Systems


Air bearings provide advantages over mechanical bearings when vibration-free motion is required, highly constant velocity control is crucial, and when angular repeatability and geometric performance must be optimal. Air bearing stages (linear, rotary, and spherical) replace mechanical contact by a thin air film, avoiding wear, friction, vibration, and hysteresis effects.
Air Bearing Background Information
How Air Bearings Work


PI Experience Matters
PI offers the broadest and deepest portfolio of precision motion technologies. With the 2014 acquisition of Nelson Air Bearing Products of New Hampshire, PI is building on over 200 man-years of in-house air bearing experience to offer linear, planar XY, and rotary air bearing stages to serve both the research and industrial markets. The PI group offers comprehensive precision air bearing motion control and positioning products and systems, which are inherently frictionless, for smooth accurate motion.

By combining extremely responsive engineering support and lean manufacturing techniques, PI is able to provide the highest quality service to its customers. Maximum performance of precision systems is achieved thru extensive design and analysis expertise, using in-house built equipment and proprietary techniques. A variety of precision air bearing products and integrated positioning systems are available from motorized linear and XY stages, rotary tables and stages, spindles, non-motorized components, and machining systems.

For more information on PIglide air bearing technology, download our air bearing catalog.

Read detailed air bearing application examples


Linear Stages XY Stages Rotary Stages/
Spindles
Bearings
Non-Motorized




Motorized Linear Air Bearing Stages




A-141 PIglide MB Miniature Series

 
PIglide MB Series

The PIglide MB air bearing stage is linear servo motor driven with fully preloaded air bearings and an integral optical linear encoder. This stage offers ultra-precision in a miniature package. The combination of non-contact components results in a frictionless motion platform that offers the highest performance, quality, and life. This stage is ideally suited for many high precision applications, such as metrology, photonics alignment, optics positioning, and scanning. The non-contact design also makes these stages ideal for cleanroom applications. There are no moving electrical cables to manage. The air bearing offers a locking design for the ultimate in position stability.

  • Table size 57mm x 83mm
  • Overall height 38mm
  • Travel lengths to 40 mm
  • 3.5 kg max payload
  • Non-contact fully preloaded air bearings
  • Ironless cog-free linear motor
  • Integral optical linear encoder
  • Resolutions to 20nm
  • Velocity to 0.5 m/sec
  • Acceleration to 0.75 g


Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote


A-110 PIglide LC Low Cost Air Bearing Stage Series

 
PIglide LC Series

PIglide LC air bearing positioning stages are linear servo motor driven with fully preloaded air bearings and optical linear encoders. The combination of these non-contact components results in a frictionless motion platform that offers the highest performance, quality and life. These stages are ideally suited for many high precision applications, such as metrology, photonics alignment, semiconductor, flat panel display and precision scanning applications. The non-contact design also makes these stages ideal for cleanroom applications.

  • Travel to 400mm
  • Table Size 160mm x 200mm
  • Load to 10kg
  • Resolution to 1nm
  • No Exposed Cables or Air Lines (100mm Travel)
  • Velocity to 1m/sec




Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote


A-121 PIglide AT1 Compact Linear Air Bearing Stage Series

 
PIglide AT1 Series, A-121

  • Travel to 350mm
  • Table Size 115mm x 115mm
  • Low Profile 60 mm Height
  • Load to 10kg
  • Resolution to 1nm
  • Velocity to 1m/s, Acceleration to 2g's
  • Straightness/Flatness to 0.1Ám / 25mm
Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


A-123 PIglide AT3 Linear Air Bearing Stage Series

 
PIglide AT3 Series

  • Travel to 750mm
  • Table Size to 210mm x 210mm
  • Load to 35kg
  • Velocity to 1 m/s, Acceleration to 3gĺs
  • Straightness/Flatness < 0.1Ám / 25mm
  • Resolution to 1nm
Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote


A-131 PIglide VC Series Voice Coil Driven Air Bearing Positioner

 
PIglide VC Series

PIglide VC air bearing positioning stages are voice coil driven with fully preloaded air bearings and optical linear encoders. These stages are ideally suited for many high precision applications where long travels are not required, such as autofocus and scanning applications. The non-contact design also makes these stages ideal for cleanroom applications. Optional bellows protect the bearing from contamination. Low moving mass means high accelerations and fast turnaround times.

  • High-Speed Voice Coil Drive
  • Travel to 25mm
  • Resolution to 1nm
  • Acceleration up to 5g's
  • No Moving Cables or Air Lines


Watch Video: "Voice Coil + Air Bearing = Highly Precise Dynamic Motion"






Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




Motorized XY Air Bearing Stages




PIglide AT XY Air Bearing Stage Series

 
PIglide AT XY Series

  • Load to 35g
  • Velocity to 1m/s, Acceleration to 2g's
  • Straightness/Flatness to 0.50Ám
Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote




Motorized XY Planar Air Bearing Stages




A-322 PIglide HS Series Planar Air Bearing Positioning System



PIglide HS Series




PIglide HS Series Air Bearing Planar Stage
Watch Video Animation
The PIglide HS planar air-bearing stage has been designed to maximize throughput while providing the ultimate level of precision. This stage is ideal for wafer inspection and scribing applications, as well as other ultra-precision motion applications such as flat panel inspection.

The cross-beam mounts to the Y axis via a highly engineered flexural coupling that provides yaw-compliance without sacrificing system stiffness. The gantry axis is a dual air-bearing design that incorporates dual linear motors and dual linear encoders. Ironless linear motors provide smooth motion and no cogging or attractive forces. Both incremental and absolute encoder options are available. The PIglide HS incorporates three high-accuracy linear encoders, one for the bridge axis and two for the gantry axis.

The PIglide HS is coupled with industry-leading digital controls that offer superior servo update rates (up to 5 kHz), advanced control algorithms to improve dynamic performance and error compensation, and a wide suite of software development tools.

  • Travel 350mm (cross axis) x 500mm (lower axis); Other Sizes Available
  • Flexural Coupling between Axes
  • Dynamic Mapping Achieves Near "Laser" Performance
  • Active Error Compensation Algorithms for Straightness and Yaw Error Motions
  • Load to 15kg
  • Velocity to 1m/s, Acceleration to 1g
  • Straightness/Flatness to 0.25Ám




Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote



A-311 PIglide IS Series Planar Air Bearing Stage

 
PIglide IS Series

  • Planar XY Travel to 200mm
  • Load to 20kg
  • Velocity to 1m/s, Acceleration to 1g
  • Straightness/Flatness to 0.25Ám



PIglide IS Series Air Bearing Stage
Watch Video Animation


Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




Motorized Rotary Air Bearing Stages


Read article: Performance of Rotary Air Bearings



PIglide SP Series Rotary Air Bearing Stage

 
PIglide SP Series

  • Clear Aperture 75mm
  • Load to 35kg
  • Radial / Axial Error Motion <0.4Ám
  • Optional Slipring Assembly

Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


A-62x PIglide RM Series Motorized Rotary Air Bearing Stage

 
PIglide OT Series

  • Table Size to 300mm
  • Load to 400kg
  • Radial / Axial Error Motion <0.2Ám


Watch Motorized Compact Rotary Stages

Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


UPR-120 Compact Rotary Air Bearing Stage with Torque Motor

 
UPR-120 Compact Rotary Air Bearing Stage with Torque Motor
  • Torque motor, up to 360░/sec
  • Repeatability to 0.00005░
  • Flatness and Eccentricity ▒0.1Ám
  • Wobble ▒1.25Árad
  • Load Capacity to 20kg
  • Optical Reference Switch
  • 35mm Clear Aperture


PiezoMike Actuators
Watch Video Animation


Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote



Custom Rotary Air Bearing Stage, Example

 
Custom Motorized RT300L Large Air Bearing Rotary Stage
The RT300 custom stage was designed for a beamline instrumentation application. The goal was to achieve the best-possible specifications for:

  • Stiffness
  • Load Capacity
  • Radial Runout Error Motion
  • Velocity smoothness

Read application article and see test results here


Request Information, Quote



PIglide Air Bearing Spindles

 
PIglide Air Bearing Spindles

  • Speed to 80,000 rpm
  • Motorized Models
  • High Resolution Encoders
  • Vacuum Feed-through Option
Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


Linear Air Bearings




A-41X PIglide FPC Series Flat Pad Circular Air Bearings

 
PIglide FPC Series Flat Pad Circular Air Bearings

  • Sizes from 25mm to 300mm Diameter
  • Load to 1,590kg (3,500lbs)
  • Mounting Hardware, Customizations, and Accessories Available
  • 10-15Ám Fly Height
Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




A-10X PIglide RB Series Linear Air Bearing Slides

 
PIglide RB Series Linear Air Bearing Slides

Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




Rotary Air Bearings




A-60X PIglide RT Series Rotary Air Bearing

 
NAR Series Rotary with Tilt
Rotary Air Bearings

  • Table Diameters from 50mm to 300mm
  • 490kg Max Payload
  • Radial/Axial Error Motion < 200nm
  • Can be Mounted Vertically or Horizontally
  • Optional Encoder Available for Position
    Feedback
  • Optional Tip/Tilt Tabletops
  • Mounting Bases and Flanges Available



Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote




Spherical Air Bearings




For Planarization and Assembly

 
Spherical Air Bearing for Planarization and Assembly

  • Table Size 100mm
  • Load to 20kg
  • Tilt to 4 degrees
  • Manual Adjuster for Theta Alignment
  • Vacuum Locking
Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


For Precision Pointing

 
Adaptive Spher Air Bearing for Precision Pointing
  • 375mm Diameter Spherical Air Bearing
  • Load to 450kg, High Stiffness
  • Spherical Center Accuracy <0.06Ám
  • Tilt to 2 degrees
Specifications & Drawings | Request Information, Quote


A-65X PIglide HB Series Spherical Air Bearings For Zero Gravity Simulation & Satellite Testing

 
Spherical Air Bearing for Zero Gravity Simulation


Spherical Air Bearing for Zero Gravity Simulation


  • Sizes from 50mm to 300mm Diameter
  • Load to 635kg
  • Tilt to ▒45 degrees
  • Zero Stiction, Low Inertia for Simulation
  • Table Top and Floor Mount Pedestals Available



Watch Spherical Air Bearings Motion Video


Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




Accessories for PIglide Air Bearing Stages




A-80X Air Handling Kits

 
Air Handling Kit

Air supplied for air bearing stages must be clean, dry, and oil-free for long-term reliability and proper component operation. Contaminants in the air can cause a reduction in stiffness and load capacity, an increase in friction, and potential bearing damage. Available in 2 models, PIĺs cost effective air preparation kits are a simple way to clean any air supply, with multi-stage filtration, pressure regulation, semi-automatic drains, and an optional pressure switch.

  • Cleans and filters compressed air supply
  • Regulates supply pressure
  • Optional pressure switch
  • Recommended for use with all PIglide air bearing products
  • Customization available


Specifications & Drawings (PDF) | Request Information, Quote




Application Examples of Air Bearings, Stages and Systems

PI's air bearing products serve the needs of a wide variety of applications and industries. Below are examples of diverse problems that were solved with PI products.


Gauging

 
Rotary Air Bearings with Tilt
PI air bearing products can be used to build metrology systems for roundness, flatness, surface profile, or thickness measurements. When precision manufactured parts need to be measured to the tightest tolerances in aerospace, aircraft, automotive, ball bearings, infrared and precision optics, semiconductors, or turbines, contact a PI engineer to help design your system.
View Products



Data Storage

 
Rotary Air Bearings with Tilt
As areal densities and data rates increase, the demands on read head test and inspection become increasingly difficult. PI's air bearing spindles and planar linear motion stages can be used to build cutting edge test equipment for head test, servo track writing, and disk inspection.
View Products



Research

 
Rotary Air Bearings with Tilt
Contact a PI engineer to discuss research and development applications. PI's broad range of positioning and control products can be integrated into almost any configuration imaginable to help reach the next breakthrough.
View Products



Flat Panel Display Test & Inspection

 
Flat Panel Display Test & Inspection
As flat panel displays (FPDs) continue to grow in size and improve image resolution, the demands on test and inspection equipment continue to become more challenging. PI's planar air bearing stages and gantries can be customized to meet incredibly tight precision specifications over very long travels.
View Products



Beamline Positioning

 
Flat Panel Display Test & Inspection
PI offers sophisticated equipment for high-end scientific research in large-scale synchrotron and accelerator research facilities. Linear and rotary air bearing stages are used to position sensors and instrumentation in various beamline applications, including tomography and holography, micro-CT positioning, sample adjustment, microscopy, and X-Ray scanning.
View Products



Large Format Digital Printing

 
Large Format Digital Printing
Digital printing demands fast, accurate motion with precise velocity control and very low angular motion errors. PI's long travel linear air bearings are the key to leading manufacturer's digital print to film high resolution printer setters. Lightweight bearings deliver over one meter of travel with a straightness accuracies as low as 3 Ám. The system achieves excellent velocity stability, resulting in exceptional print quality.
View Products



Optical Grinding

 
Optical Grinding
Optical grinding requires extremely precise and smooth motion in order to achieve demanding tolerances for surface finish. When leading optical manufacturers need a rotary bearing with run-out and flatness errors less than 0.1 Ám for integration into their custom grinding machine, PI provides the solution. In addition to excellent accuracy, the outstanding stiffness of air bearings allows the bearing to withstand forces without a degradation of positioning accuracy and repeatability.
View Products



Tensile Testing

 
Tensile Testing
Tensile testing machines apply precise forces, under high loads at zero velocity. Rolling element bearings exhibit significant breakaway friction which causes irregularities in the applied force. PI supplies major test equipment manufacturers with entirely non-contact, linear motor-actuated stage solutions for tensile testing machines. Due to PI's extensive experience with assembling to extremely tight tolerances, complex assemblies are delivered with higher quality and lower cost than manufacturers can achieve in-house.
View Products



Optical Spectrometry

 
Optical Spectrometry
Leading manufacturers of high resolution laboratory spectrometers require custom linear air bearings that provide extremely precise, tilt-free, smooth motion for their scanning mirrors. PI's totally non-contact assemblies deliver the reliability and minimal maintenance today's laboratory users demand.
View Products



Satellite Research

 
Satellite Research
Satellite systems attitude control research often requires simulation of a zero-g environment. PI's spherical air bearings have solved this problem for government and commercial research agencies. PI delivers complete systems, including mounting pedestals and air handling equipment, that support significant loads with a large range of motion.
View Products



Semiconductor Wafer Inspection and Handling

 
Semiconductor Wafer Inspection and Handling
Semiconductor processing equipment must operate with high reliability and minimal particle generation. Unlike traditional bearings, non-contact air bearings deliver exceptional reliability and lifetime with zero maintenance. Operating on a clean air or nitrogen supply, no particles are generated. This is why leading manufacturers of semiconductor processing equipment use PI air bearings for a variety of wafer inspection, handling, and transport applications.
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Automotive Suspension Testing

 
Automotive Suspension Testing
PI developed custom linear air bearings in response to the need of major auto manufacturers for high load capacity air bearings for vehicle testing. Air bearings support heavy loads without the binding and high friction, typical of traditional bearings. As a result, multiple uses of automotive applications have been found, such as suspension testing and racecar suspension tuning.
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Micro-Machining

 
Micro-Machining
Micro-machining and nano-manufacturing require ultra-precision, smooth motion, high stiffness, and dynamic motion. An air bearing motion system combines all these aspects. Combine linear motion with a voice-coil stage for a fast-tool servo system, or add a spindle for machining applications. Optional bellows covers can be added to protect the stages from dust and debris.
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