Low Profile 5-Axis Air Bearing Motion System

March 17, 2022
Frictionless Direct Drive Motor Motion System

PI introduced a new high performance 5-axis air bearing motion system at the recent SPIE Photonics West event, the world’s largest photonics conference, perfectly placed right in the back yard of Silicon Valley. Suited for high end motion and positioning control applications with nanometer precision, such as required in semiconductor front-end/back-end processes (wafer processing operation and assembly process), the low profile multi-axis stage motion system is based on a combination of PI’s successful A-311 PIglide planar XY-air bearing stage, the unique low-profile A-532, a 3-axis Z-Tip-Tilt stage, and the A-826, a 6-axis high performance industrial motion controller.  

Applications of the 5-axis air bearing stage include:

  • Indexing, positioning
  • Wafer/substrate test and inspection
  • Scanning, metrology
  • ACS based alignment solutions for production test and packaging needs
  • Direct-write lithography
  • µLED fabrication
  • Clean room applications

Specifications of the XYZ-Theta-X-Theta-Y system include: 300x300mm linear travel, 5mm Z-travel, 2° θX, θY rotation, nanometer resolution.

Why Air Bearings?

Compared to mechanical, roller or ball bearing based linear stages and rotary stages, air bearings are friction free and wear free and generate no particles during operation, making them clean-room compatible and ideal for dynamic, 24/7 duty cycle automation applications. In an air bearing stage, the moving platform glides on a thin film of air. This principle also is responsible for the surface averaging effect that significantly improves geometric performance such as straightness and flatness in linear motion applications while reducing runout and wobble in rotary tables.

Related Glossary Terms

  • metrology


    Science of measurement; the principles on which precision machining, quality control and inspection are based. See precision machining, measurement.


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