Wide-area Millimeter Motions
2014 R&D 100 Winner
Applications such as silicon wafer alignment or bio‐cell manipulations require fast and accurate positioning within a few millimeters working range. Widely used piezoelectric (PZT) actuators, however, have displacement ranges limited to hundreds of micrometers.
Displacement-amplification techniques such as “inchworm” clamping have been introduced, but suffer from poor motion repeatability, low payload and low speed. This has produced a challenge for the precision engineering industry that has been met by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) with the introduction of its Flexure‐based Electromagnetic Linear Actuator (FELA). Taking advantage of linear elastic deflection, FELA’s flexure-based bearings provide frictionless motion. The contact‐less nature of the electromagnetic-based Lorentz-force actuation scheme helps ensure a linear relationship between input and output force. A moving air-core coil configuration eliminates cogging effects cause by moving magnet configurations, and the translation motion is governed by the deflection stiffness of the flexure-based bearings.
SIMTech has developed a series of FELAs that offers a traveling range of up to 20 mm, unlimited positioning resolution, large force sensitivity of up to 120 N/A and fast actuating speed of at least 100 mm/sec.
The Flexure‐based Electromagnetic Linear Actuator (FELA) Development Team from Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech)
Daniel Tat Joo Teo, Principal Developer
Guilin Yang, Principal Developer