Recent hexapod designs provide extremely high stiffness and rigidity of their components and all moving parts, such as its bearings, joints, and drive screws. These characteristics result in high natural frequencies which make these new hexapods capable of extreme accuracy, and an ideal tool for precision machining, photonics and optics alignment, metrology and medical applications.
One such hexapod is the miniature 6-axis Parallel Kinematics Hexapod Nano-Alignment System, from Physik Instrumente, which can deliver more than 10 lbs. of force and motion in all six degrees of freedom. Resolution is as low as 50 nanometers with actuator encoder resolution of 5nm and travel ranges to 40mm linear and 60 degree (rotation), and a velocity of 10 mm/sec. The hexapod’s high level of accuracy is a combination of extremely precise parts, precision assembly and testing, and sophisticated algorithms built into its vector motion controller that take into account the exact tolerances of each strut and joint, and provide precise coordinates to each of the six actuators. This unit can be used for manufacturing and part placement, alignment of optical components and lasers, microscopy applications and neuroscience that require high precision.
If minimized dimensions are of the essence, the combination of inertia-type piezo motors with the compact SpaceFab design allows for nanometer precise 6-axis motion that fits in the palm of a hand.