Voice Coil Stages & Voice Coil Actuators

High Speed, High Precision Motion for Single-Axis and Multi-Axis Applications

What is a Voice Coil Stage? Voice coil stages are usually direct-drive linear stages (rotary voice coils are also available) driven by an electromagnetic linear motor consisting of a moving coil winding and a fixed magnet (the opposite is also possible). By precisely controlling the electric current in the coil, the magnetic force (Lorenz force) and thus, acceleration, velocity, and position can be varied, very accurately. For precision positioning applications, a feedback sensor – usually a linear encoder – provides the current position information to a closed-loop controller that compares target and actual position and varies the current accordingly to minimize the error. Since voice coil motors have very low mechanical and electrical time constants (low inertia and short rise time), they are well suited for rapid accelerations of light payloads. Unlike 3-phase motors, no commutation is required, both simplifying the mechanical setup and control.

What is a Voice Coil Actuator? VC Actuators are based on the same principle as stages. Actuators are used to push or pull an external object that has its own guiding mechanism. In contrast to actuators, voice coil stages (often called linear slides) usually incorporate a guiding system that is designed to handle lateral loads.

Voice coils stages are used for short travel ranges, typically on the order of 25mm (1 inch) or below.  For longer travel ranges, 3-phase linear motor stages are often the better choice, providing higher forces.

Because of their small dimensions, voice coil motors are often integrated in compact stages, actuators, and fast tip/tilt mirror platforms. Learn more on voice-coil motors, linear motors and custom solutions»

Voice Coil Linear Stages and Tip/Tilt Platforms Overview

The low profile V-528 linear stages can be stacked to provide XY motion. We can also provide integrated XYZ configurations or the V-308 vertical linear stage with internal counterbalance can be added for Z-motion.  A tip/tilt fast voice coil mirror platform is available for laser beam steering and multi-axis motion up to 6 degrees of freedom can be handled by the H-860 voice coil hexapod.

A-142 Mini Voice Coil Linear Slide with Air Bearings
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A-142 Mini Voice Coil Linear Slide
Air Bearings, Frictionless, Fast
  • 10mm travel
  • 3kg load
  • 5nm encoder, 0.1µm straightness
  • 75x80mm table; 27mm height
  • 450mm/sec, 2g acceleration
  • 20N push/pull force
V-522/4/8 Voice Coil Stage
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V-522/4/8 Voice Coil Stage
Ideal for Scanning
  • 5/10/25mm travel
  • 20nm min. incremental motion
  • 10nm linear encoder resolution
  • 10’s of Hz scanning frequency
  • 4N push/pull force
V-308 Fast Nano Focus Voice Coil Scanner, 7mm
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V-308 Fast Nano Focus
Voice Coil Scanner, 7mm
  • 7mm motion
  • Voice coil linear motor
  • Adjustable Z-counterbalance
  • Millisecond settling time
  • 1nm sensor resolution
V-931 Fast Steering Mirror Platform
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V-931 Fast Steering Mirror Platform
Voice-Coil Driven, Mirrors to 1”
  • 140mrad (8°) optical deflection
  • <1 µrad resolution
  • Closed-loop voice coil drives 
  • PKM = Equal dynamics for both axes
  • 20msec step response 
H-860 Fast “Shaker Hexapod”
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H-860 Fast “Shaker Hexapod”
Voice Coils, Flexures, Carbon Fiber
  • 15mm XYZ travel
  • 8° rotary travel
  • 1kg load
  • 5nm actuator resolution
  • 250mm/sec / 4g acceleration
  • Frictionless flexure guides

Voice Coil Actuators Overview

We design voice coil actuators with traditional bearings but also with frictionless flexures and air bearings. All of PI’s motorized linear stages and actuators are fully self-contained. We can provide custom voice coils for linear and rotary motion applications.

V-273 Voice Coil Actuator
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V-273 Voice Coil Actuator
Force Sensor Option
  • 20mm travel
  • 10nm linear encoder resolution
  • 100mm/sec max. velocity
  • 6N push/pull force
  • 1mN force sensor option
V-275 Voice Coil Actuator
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V-275 Voice Coil Actuator
High-Speed, Force Sensor Option
  • 10mm travel
  • 10nm linear encoder resolution
  • 600mm/sec max. velocity
  • 15N push/pull force
  • 1mN force sensor option
V-277 Voice Coil Actuator
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V-277 Voice Coil Actuator
High-Speed, Force Sensor Option
  • 15mm travel
  • 10nm linear encoder resolution
  • 750mm/sec max. velocity
  • 20N push/pull force
  • 1mN force sensor option
This miniature positioner is driven by a single phase linear motor (voice-coil) and guided by flexures for long service life. Closed and open-loop operation is possible, and the integrated 100 nanometer linear encoder provides reliable position control and repeatable accuracy. PI's C-413 motion controller features 10kHz servo update rate.
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Custom Example: V-900KPIC Concept Mini Vertical Positioner
Voice Coil and Flexures
  • 1.5mm travel range
  • 0.1µm resolution linear encoder
  • Flexure guides for zero wear
  • 250/45mm/sec max. velocity (open/closed loop)
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.
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A-131 Voice Coil Positioner
For Fast Scanning/Autofocus
  • 1” travel
  • Optional bellows
  • 1nm resolution
  • 8g max. acceleration

Servo Controllers for Voice Coil Motors

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