6DOF Hexapod Motion Systems

March 08, 2021
Multi-Axis Motion for Vacuum Applications

A hexapod offers motion in 6 degrees of freedom (XYZ, Pitch, Roll, Yaw). PI has designed and manufactured high precision hexapod systems for more than 3 decades and provides hundreds of models from miniature sized systems for Silicon Photonics Alignment to large units that help align huge antenna feeds for astronomical telescopes. PI’s hexapods were instrumental in improving the performance of the ALMA telescope array that was instrumental in imaging the first black hole.

With the addition of more standard, vacuum compatible hexapods, the load range of 5 to 80kg is covered; custom models for loads up to 1 ton have been designed as well. The hexapods provide very high resolution and repeatability to 0.1µm and 2 µrad, respectively.

The vacuum series was designed from the ground up for vacuum compatibility, with each component qualified to work under the specified conditions. Everything, from the base materials, nuts and bolts, encoders, cables, limit switches, was selected for optimal performance.


PI’s hexapod controllers and hexapod software are based on 30 years of experience with parallel kinematic motion systems. They are easy to program, allow the user to change the center of rotation with one command, and come with high level alignment functions built in. PI’s free hexapod software simulates the limits of workspace and load capacity, thereby ensuring the hexapod you choose will handle the loads, forces, and torques in your application.

Related Glossary Terms

  • degrees of freedom

    degrees of freedom

    Number of axes along which a robot, and thus the object it is holding, can be manipulated. Most robots are capable of maneuvering along the three basic Cartesian axes (X, Y, Z). More sophisticated models may move in six or more axes. See axis.

  • parallel


    Strip or block of precision-ground stock used to elevate a workpiece, while keeping it parallel to the worktable, to prevent cutter/table contact.

  • pitch


    1. On a saw blade, the number of teeth per inch. 2. In threading, the number of threads per inch.


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