Custom Engineering

Custom Engineering Of Micro Motion Systems

Custom engineering

Custom engineering: from R&D and new product development, to customized micro motion solutions for OEMs.

Creating next-generation products? We can help you build them smaller … make them smarter… and do it faster!

We work with you to develop custom motion modules and systems that meet your exact requirements, using our configurable M3 design platform or developing a full-custom micro motion module.

Feasibility Studies

your first step to faster, lower-risk product development

Our motion system feasibility studies are your first step to faster, lower-risk product development. Our experienced micro-mechatronic engineers start with your idea and, over three to four weeks, work with you to…

  • Collaboratively define system requirements
  • Create and evaluate design concepts for a mechatronic system
  • Deliver an objective report that includes:
    • Solid models and schematics
    • Engineering analysis
    • If the concept is feasible… a proposed motion module development plan for fastest commercialization
    • If it’s not feasible… recommendations for alternative specifications, designs, technologies and suppliers

A fixed-fee feasibility study, starting at $21,000, is an affordable way to quickly test your idea and keep your product development on the right track. You quickly get the hard data you need to drive decisions.

Custom project examples

Here are just a few examples of our custom motion system projects. Most were started with a fast feasibility study.

Hexapod system

We collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University to develop a hexapod system using six piezoelectric SQUIGGLE micro motors integrated with miniature bearing assemblies, motor mounts, flexures and spring preloads. Drive electronics, integrated into the miniature handheld micromanipulator, dynamically adjust drive parameters to optimize performance of each motor under varying conditions including changing temperature and side loads.

Development continues under a Phase 1 SBIR grant awarded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), preparing the way for a clinically-compatible product ready for commercialization.

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The fundamental hexapod design is available as a launch point for further development and customization in other applications.

Download preliminary information (PDF)

Multi-axis positioning systems

We develop multi-axis positioning systems that operate on 3.3 V and accept high-level motion commands over standard serial interface.

In this example, two-axis linear positioners fit in an 80 mm space for eight independent axes of motion with closed-loop position resolution of 0.5 μm.

View The Video

Focus for a gigapixel camera

Our motion modules provide automated micrometer-scale lens adjustments in each of the hundreds of sub-cameras that make up an AWARE camera system, a ground-breaking gigapixel camera developed at Duke University and commercialized by Aqueti. Hundreds of 14-megapixel microcameras are grouped around a spherical lens, with each microcamera capturing a specific area of the field of view and using our focus module for extreme high resolution. The system creates a single image with wide field of view and unprecedented detail across the entire image.

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Custom beam steering modules

Tiny M3 beam steering systems are comparable in size to MEMS devices, but offer a larger range of motion and
accommodate higher-power lasers with larger beam diameters. They are the smallest and easiest-to-integrate beam steering solutions available. This bulletin describes several different custom M3 modules developed for specific beam steering requirements. We also offer standard M3-RS rotary stages for beam steering using a familiar galvano-scanner
style form factor.

Download The Tech Bulletin

High-torque two-stage rotary motor system

This custom rotary SQUIGGLE motor and drive system has high stepping resolution and twice the torque of similar-sized DC micro motors. With no gear reduction mechanism, it has no backlash and delivers high peak torque at sustained speeds as well as high holding torque. Friction directly drives the stator and locks it in place with the power off.

This rotary micro motor can be optimized for other design parameters including smaller size, higher torque or higher speeds. It is scalable to less than 2 mm diameter. Input to the controller is simple, high-level commands over standard serial interface.

These slender rotary micro motors were originally developed for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s “Cobra” fiber positioner to be commissioned on the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. In this application, two rotary motors are mounted in a theta-phi configuration.

Electrically integrated drive electronics are physically separated from the motor by a short flex cable, to meet the form factor requirements.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan under Award No. 037151, the University of Japan, the John Robinson Endowment and the California Institute of Technology.

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Moisture-resistant motor

A SQUIGGLE micro motor is customized with a water-resistant housing for operation in high-moisture environments or implantable medical devices. The housing also enables operation in clean room settings.

The motor measures 7 mm diameter, has a force of 2 Newtons and moves with a position resolution of 0.5 micrometers. It has an external driver.

View The Video

Custom high-force motors

New Scale developed our flagship SQL-1.8 piezoelectric motor to be the world’s smallest linear motor. For applications where greater push force or higher resolution are more important than absolute smallest size, we offer custom piezo motor systems to meet those requirements.

A SQUIGGLE micro motor is customized with a water-resistant housing for operation in high-moisture environments or implantable medical devices. The housing also enables operation in clean room settings.

The motor measures 7 mm diameter, has a force of 2 Newtons and moves with a position resolution of 0.5 micrometers. It has an external driver.

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Rotary micro-drive eliminates jitter

Unlike servo drives, this compact piezo rotary drive system has no measurable 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.

The piezoelectric motor generates no magnetic fields when moving, eliminating a source of potential interference with sensitive instruments in the OEM system.

It is also smaller than a servo drive, offers higher position resolution, and exhibits excellent velocity, acceleration and repeatability characteristics.

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Get started with your custom motion module

We work with our OEM partners to develop custom motion modules and systems that meet your exact requirements, using our configurable M3 design platform or developing a full-custom motion module for a specific application.