Different Linear Stages and Their Applications

Different Linear Stages and Their Applications

High-precision linear stage are the best for providing linear motion to a motion solution or work automation solution. There are many types of linear stages. Each stage has its own characteristics and applications. Let’s learn more about each one and their uses in today’s industry.

Direct Drive Linear Motor Stage

This particular linear stage is well-known for its ability to move very quickly, very smoothly, and with very little maintenance. It is due to the way that linear motors power it are designed and manufactured. Without getting too technical, linear motors are motors that can convert electricity into linear movement directly without the need for an intermediary structure that could cause friction and wear.

This feat can be achieved through the clever use charged magnets as well as air bearing guideways. The main moving parts of a direct drive linear motorstage do not come into contact with each other. A direct drive linear motor stage without friction is not only more precise but also more durable and repeatable.

The direct drive linear motor stage has an unmatched precision, repeatability, and reliability. It is ideal for industrial and research positioning, scanning, and other applications such as precision automation, micro-assembly and biotechnology. It is used in industries that require precise laser beam control, optics testing, and photonics alignment.

XY Stage

The XY stage, a linear stage that provides precise motion to an attached payload in two planes, is named after its creator. It is ideal for positioning and jobs that require movement in both axes. An XY stage, in its simplest configuration, is simply two single-plane stages that are bolted together to allow for movement between the two points.

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This is useful to a certain extent, but it is not recommended for the most precise tasks. These tasks require a more complex and deliberate configuration. In this case, the orthogonal orientations of both stages can be precision-machined into individual parts. This allows for more effective and secure combining. This configuration allows the two stages to be placed on top of one another, and the base of the upper axis is used as the top.

XY stages are possible to be designed using a variety of motors and guideways. The air bearing guideway/linear driver setup provides the best results and is the most reliable.

The XY stage is used in microscopy and industrial measuring technology as a motion solution. It’s also used in industries that need precise optical inspection tasks or laser processing.

The Microscope Stage

The microscope stage contributes to an automated digital microscope’s overall precision. It is a specially designed XY stage with a low profile and an open aperture in its middle that can house another linear stage to control the focus of the objective lens. Although it is powered by stepper motors or lead screws, recent innovations have enabled newer microscope stages that use linear motors.

How does a microscope stage help a digital microscope to be more precise? The microscope stage allows you to precisely move the specimen or sample that will be examined in the XY planes. This is in conjunction with the linear step that focuses your microscope’s objective. This allows for a clear and consistent view of the specimen, which is why it’s always in focus.

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Microscope stages are used in all industries that require close inspection of small objects.

The Screw-Driven Stage

This particular type of linear stage uses a stepper motor to pull a drive nuts along a shaft. The type of screw shaft used and the distance between the grooves of the thread can affect the speed and precision of linear motion. Motion solution owners can adjust the speed and precision to their specifications. This allows the screw-driven stage to have a level of customization that is unmatched by other stages.

The screw-driven stage is a popular linear motion solution. Its parts are easy to install, cost-effective, and can be easily replaced. This particular stage is also a great choice for motion solutions that require vertical movement because of its unique function.

Screw-driven stages are used in industrial applications such as automation, inspection systems, laser cutting, and jobs that need vertical lift. A few sub-types of screw-driven stage, particularly the smaller ones, are used in medical applications, mainly for diagnosis and examination.

The Air Bearing Stage

The air bearing stage provides a high level precision that is hard to match, especially when used with a linear motor actuator. It uses a thin layer to eliminate friction from the main moving parts.

By using the air bearings, the stage can eliminate any faults or errors in its flat-planar guideway. This provides a level precision that is unmatched by mechanical guides, which have resolutions as low as 1 nanometer. A cushion of air keeps any moving parts away from each other, which reduces friction-based wear and tear. This also helps owners save money on replacement and maintenance costs.

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Because of their ability to produce extreme precision in their movements, air bearing stage are used in industries that require high-precision laser machining applications. This is especially true for those that require smooth, arcing, and circular movements. These stages are also useful in the assembly of fiber optic manufacturing equipment.

The Gantry System

The gantry system version of a linear stage is the larger and heavier-duty version of XY. This system is capable of high levels of accuracy, repeatability and repeatability thanks to its optimized encoder locations, ironless, cog free linear motors, and other standard features. The contactless motors ensure that movements are performed in a quiet manner and reduce noise and velocity ripple.

The gantry system has a unique advantage. It can have additional motion stages, such as miniature linear stages and rotary tables, mounted to its frame, for more functionality and modularity. The gantry system is ideal for high-accuracy, high-duty cycle applications such as 3D printing, imaging, automated parts inspections, material dispense and material dispensing.

In Conclusion

Linear stage offer the best in precise motion solutions. There are many types available, so any business, regardless of its size or resources, can benefit from them.