New Scale rotary drive system based on piezoelectric motor technology is also smaller and more precise than servo drives

Victor, NY — Sept. 17, 2013 — New Scale Technologies today announced delivery of a prototype rotary piezoelectric micro drive system that represents a major advance over servo drives for use in UAVs and micro-UAVs, micro assembly and many other applications.

Unlike servo drives, the new rotary drive has no measurable jitter, holds position without power, and generates no magnetic fields.

At 44 x 44 x 36 mm the prototype is also smaller than a servo drive, and offers higher position resolution. It exhibits excellent velocity, acceleration and repeatability characteristics. Measured performance includes:

  • Speed: 350 degrees/second
  • Acceleration: 3000 degrees/second²
  • Stall torque: 10 mN-m
  • No measurable jitter: reported position stable within one encoder count (0.0072 degrees)
  • Repeatability: +/- 1 encoder count everywhere (0.0072 degrees / 0.125 mradians)
  • Open loop step resolution: better than 0.5 encoder counts (0.0036 deg / 0.063 mrad)
  • Wobble in the arc-second range

This tiny rotating stage integrates several of New Scale’s precision micro-motion technologies, including a high-torque direct-drive piezoelectric motor based on the patented SQUIGGLE® motor, precision ball bearings with low run out and wobble, optical encoder with zero reference mark, and New Scale drive electronics and closed-loop control system. The device is PC-controlled using New Scale Pathway™ software for rapid evaluation and system development.

Piezoelectric technology eliminates jitter

The use of the piezoelectric SQUIGGLE motor in the stage eliminates the problem of jitter. Ultrasonic vibrations of piezoelectric elements drive the motor, which locks into position and holds it even when power is off. In contrast, servo drives use an active control loop to continually seek a target position, resulting in unavoidable jitter and requiring continuous power use. Furthermore, the piezoelectric motor generates no magnetic fields when moving, eliminating a source of potential interference with sensitive instruments in the OEM system.


Applications include pan and tilt gimbals in UAVs and micro UAVs, laser stabilization systems, theta stages for micro assembly or optical inspection, and instrument testing and calibration.

Ongoing development

This ground-breaking prototype is a refinement and extension of New Scale’s rotary piezo motor technology developed in part under an SBIR grant with the US Navy. It demonstrates the rotary actuator in a small, precise and smart motion module, designed for ease of use. New Scale’s customer was able to set up and begin using the prototype system in minutes.

Ongoing development will reduce module size 50% while integrating the breadboard electronics into the stage with New Scale’s motor drive ASICs.


The prototype is available now as a basis for custom development projects with OEM customers.

About New Scale Technologies

New Scale Technologies develops small, precise and smart motion systems for critical adjustments of optics in imaging devices and many other micro positioning applications. Our simple and elegant solutions deliver best-in-class performance in consumer imaging, biometric authentication, surveillance, medical devices, scientific instruments, haptic systems and many other markets. We design and manufacture custom products and license our technology to manufacturers worldwide. Our customers benefit from complete motion solutions that are tailored to their unique requirements and easily integrated into their next-generation instruments.

SQUIGGLE is a registered trademark, and New Scale Pathway and UTAF are trademarks of New Scale Technologies, Inc.

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