ALIO Industries is synonymous with best-in-class nanometer-level motion control solutions, and is well known as the only motion control technology supplier that offers true nanometer-level accuracy and repeatability.

Back in 2001, ALIO started by creating solutions to meet demand from U.S. based technology providers and manufacturers for nano-precision robotics. From that day to this the company has consistently pushed the boundaries in the achievement of ultimate precision in motion control.

It is within this context that ALIO Industries has just announced another innovative nanomater-level precision positioning solution, its new Asymmetric XY stages.

ALIO CEO Bill Hennesey picks up the story. “Over many years, ALIO has been developing precision positioning solutions for applications that do not require identical travel lengths on both the X and the Y axes. All the company’s XY solutions are standard monolithic ones, as regardless of the requirement for X and Y travel lengths to be different, the alternative — stacked stages — will always compromise performance.”

“Take a look at what some alternative suppliers do. Frequently they will offer an XY stack  comprised of a single axis crossed roller stage which results in poor static and especially poor dynamic performance related to tuning challenges. In these stacked configurations, the lack of lower axis torsional stiffness and the bending moments of the upper axis greatly limit the dynamic responsiveness of the stage. It’s kind of like trying to find stable footing on a diving board that is sitting on a tightrope!”

Before the recent launch of its Asymmetric XY stages, when confronted with the need to work with applications that required the accommodation of X and Y axis travel that were not the same, ALIO would sometimes limit travel on the upper axis of its monolith XY stages. This would save on the overall moving footprint, but the square body of the stage would still be larger and heavier than it would need to be based on the required travel for the application.

Hennessey continues, “ALIO’s Asymmetric stages provide a solution with identical performance, lower moving mass, and a smaller static and dynamic footprint compared to their square-body designed, monolithic-series counterparts. They also offer a lower working height than traditional XY stacks and without the tuning limitations of stacked assemblies. They provide customers with the exact X and Y travel ranges needed for their applications without the cost of excess travel that is not required and will never be used.”

Three Standard versions with asymmetric body designs / travel lengths are now available with customized versions offered for OEM Programs.

The company offers an array of best-in-class precision motion control solutions which it sees as enabling technologies, used by its customers to make products previously deemed impossible. By working with ALIO, customers are able to manufacture innovative, bleeding-edge products that ensure leadership positions in their respective industries. The recently introduced Asymmetric stages fit well within the overall stable of ALIO’s nanometer-level motion control solutions, and removes some limitations that manufacturers have had to put up with when they require different X and Y axes travel.

Market-leading nanometer-level motion control solutions provider, ALIO Industries, caused some waves at the SPIE Photonics West event held in San Francisco at the beginning of February with a display of innovative and unique products.

ALIO showcased several industry-unique precision positioning products and high throughput scanning solutions for laser micro-processing, this year exhibiting alongside recently launched affiliate company 6D Laser LLC.

ALIO is renowned throughout industry for the development of its patented Hybrid Hexapod® and its True Nano® XY positioning stages.

The Hybrid Hexapod® was developed by ALIO to address the critical weaknesses of conventional legacy hexapod designs, as well as the weaknesses of stacked serial stages, and to achieve nanometer -level accuracy, repeatability, and high-integrity flatness and straightness during motion.  It utilizes a tripod parallel kinematics structure to deliver Z plane and tip/tilt motion, integrated with a monolithic serial kinematic structure for XY motion.  A rotary stage integrated into the top of the tripod (or underneath it depending on application needs) provides 360-degree continuous yaw rotation.  In this hybrid design, individual axes can be customized to provide travel ranges from millimeters to over one meter, while maintaining nanometer-levels of precision. 

At Photonics West, ALIO Industries showed live demonstrations of the world’s first and only Hybrid Hexapod® with +/- 30 degrees tip and tilt travel — the new HH-30 Hybrid Hexapod® — which offers more than an order-of-magnitude better precision than alternative hexapod technologies, more travel range in all degrees-of-freedom (DOF) , and significantly higher velocity. The new HH-30 and the world’s most precise compact 6 DOF positioner, the “Mini” Hybrid Hexapod® were front and center at the show, and ALIO was encouraged to see that attendees were increasingly well-informed and recognized that when looking for repeatable nanometer-level precision, ALIO’s solutions are unique.

ALIO’s True Nano® XY positioning stages exhibit unequalled 6-D Nano Precision®. With nanometer-level straightness and flatness, users can be certain that point precision is True Nano®. ALIO’s XY stage family comes with enclosed- or open-center versions from 50-450 mm travel, and standard axis bi-directional repeatability is less than 40 nanometers with optional 10 nanometers bi-directional repeatability for demanding metrology or manufacturing requirements. ALIO uniquely provides its True Nano® XY Stages with NIST traceable data guarnteeing nano precision, not just the marketing data sheet optimism typical with alternative technologies.

At Photonics West, ALIO showcased its new Asymmetric-SeriesTM True Nano® XY positioning stages which represent another unique offering in the industry. When travel ranges for the X and Y axes are not the same, rather than relying on performance-compromising stacked configurations, ALIO’s space-optimizing Asymmetric-Series stages exhibit the same extremely rigid and stable structures that are at the heart of the company’s popular monolithic XY series.

Perhaps one of the key developments from ALIO at Photonics West were technology solutions for precision laser micro-processing, launched under affiliate company 6-D Laser.

6-D Laser has as its central mission to address the limitations of existing laser processing systems which are largely due to sub-optimal positioning systems used by systems integrators. The company tackles this problem by integrating ultra-fast laser material processing with the 6-D nanometer-level precision motion control solutions provided by ALIO Industries through the Hybrid Hexapod®.

6-D Laser has vertically integrated all of the sub-systems required for precision laser micro-processing, and has done this by forming strategic partnerships with key component and subsystem suppliers that are required to achieve the goals of demanding precision applications, including Amplitude Laser, SCANLAB, and ACS Motion Control.

Introducing an integrated ultrafast laser micromachining system that combines the positioning capabilities of the Hybrid Hexapod®, with high-speed optical scanning leads to a system that can process hard, transparent materials with wide-range taper angle control for the creation of high aspect ratio features in thick substrates, without limitations on the feature or field size.

At Photonics West 6D Laser demonstrations included its Polygon Scanner System, and its Unlimited Field-of-View (FOV) Micromachining System. In respect of the Polygon Scanner Systems, 6D Laser has partnered with Next Scan Technology to provide fully integrated planar laser processing systems that combine ALIO’s precision motion stages with high-throughput polygon scanners. For its Unlimited FOV Micromachining System 6D Laser has partnered with SCANLAB to provide fully integrated XLSCAN systems that combine ALIO’s precision motion stages with ACS’s motion control systems.

Laser micro processing has driven innovation and manufacturing efficiency in various industry sectors. 6-D Laser’s micro-processing solutions win through as they can make ultra-precise micro features, are agnostic to which material is being processed, and are highly repeatable. As such, they are now seen as the go-to solutions compared with traditional non-laser driven micro-processing technologies in the consumer electronics, semi-conductor, medical device, solar cell, and optical sectors.