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Demand For Higher Accuracy and Precision Continues To Grow

Leading nanometer-level precision motion control innovator, ALIO Industries, is meeting the exacting demands of OEMs producing cutting edge 3D metrology tools in what is a dynamic and ever more competitive sector as industry demands more and more accurate metrology solutions.

Market-leading metrology tools rely on high-quality sensors and encoders to provide accurate measurements of objects or surfaces. However, the performance of these components is intrinsically tied to the underlying motion system that positions and moves the measurement tools. The motion system must be at least as good, if not an order of magnitude better, than the sensors and encoders to ensure the required accuracy.

“There are several reasons for this. The motion system is responsible for the precise positioning and movement of the sensors and encoders during the measurement process,” explains Bill Hennessey, Founder and President of ALIO Industries. “Any errors in the motion system, such as mechanical backlash, hysteresis, or non-linearity, can introduce inaccuracies in the measurements, regardless of the quality of the sensors and encoders. By ensuring that the motion system is of equal or superior quality, these errors can be minimized, allowing the high-performance sensors and encoders to operate at their full potential.”

A stable and precise motion system is also essential for maintaining the position and orientation of the sensors and encoders during measurements. Any vibrations, drift, or fluctuations in the motion system can affect the accuracy of the readings. The chosen motion system should provide the necessary stability and precision to prevent such issues, ensuring that the sensors and encoders maintain their required accuracy.

The motion system’s resolution also directly impacts the measurements obtained by the sensors and encoders. If the motion system’s resolution is lower than that of the sensors and encoders, the overall accuracy of the metrology tool will be limited by the motion system. Therefore, it is essential to have a motion system with equal or higher resolution to fully utilize the capabilities of high-quality sensors and encoders.

In many 3D metrology applications, multiple sensors and encoders need to work in tandem, requiring precise synchronization between their movements. A high-quality motion system ensures that the various components can be accurately synchronized, allowing the metrology tool to provide reliable and consistent measurements.

The speed and responsiveness of the motion system are also critical factors in achieving the required accuracy. The motion system should move the sensors and encoders quickly and smoothly, without introducing errors or delays in the measurements. This enables the metrology tool to maintain its accuracy even when measuring large or complex objects.

As metrology tools evolve and improve, the demand for higher accuracy and precision will continue to grow. By using a motion system that is an order of magnitude better than the current sensors and encoders, manufacturers can ensure that their metrology tools are future-proof and capable of accommodating new technologies and advancements. “For such applications, ALIO provides near air-bearing performance crossed roller bearing XY Nano Metrology stages with up to 450mm travel range,” explains Hennessey. “These stages use DC Servo linear motors with unmatched motion performance with 3-Sigma, 6-D (linear, straightness, flatness, pitch, yaw and roll) and bi-directional repeatability of less than +/- 250nm. In other words, the volumetric bi-directional repeatability of any XY point is within a sphere of 500nm or less.”

Near air-bearing performance crossed roller bearing XY Nano Metrology®stages are well suited as motion control solutions from compact 2D systems to large Field of View (FOV) 3D metrology tools due to their high precision, accuracy, repeatability, stability, large travel range, low maintenance, compact design, and adaptability. These characteristics make them an ideal choice for various industrial and scientific applications where high-performance motion control is required.

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