(April 27th 2023, Arvada, CO, USA) 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. Contact ALIO today to see how the company is keeping up with the demands of the metrology sector for ever more precise and unerringly accurate motion control solutions.

(April 18th 2023, Arvada, CO, USA) Accurate motion control is crucial in manufacturing medical and clinical devices like diagnostic imaging machines and video endoscopes. Even the slightest deviation from specifications can make a device less effective or even hazardous. To ensure the highest quality and safety standards, manufacturers must invest in precise and dependable motion control technology. This guarantees optimal results for patients using their products.

ALIO provides the AngularesTM Hybrid Hexapod® for such applications, which accommodates large XY movement to shift the instrument from process step to process step, there being 6 axis movement at every process step without the need of manually moving the instrument or using an additional robot to handle components. The AngularesTM exhibits low friction, low particle generation, is easy to access and clean, and maintains the highest precision. Highly flexible programming enables 4K (and beyond) image quality even using the tiniest and angled endoscopes thanks to the unique ranges of the system.

Bill Hennessey, President of ALIO says, “The 60-degree tip/tilt travel of the AngularesTM Hybrid Hexapod® is by far the most angular travel range available from any 6-Degree-Of-Freedom (6-DOF) positioner on the market and offers the same unmatched positioning performance found in any of ALIO’s full-line of Hybrid Hexapod systems. The AngularesTM features precision crossed roller bearing guides, optical incremental or absolute encoder feedback on all axes, linear motor and/or servo ball screw drives, unlimited programmable tool center point locations and coordinate offsets, and zero backlash on all axes. The design makes the AngularesTM capable of unlimited XY travel, Z travel for 62 mm which can be increased to 208 mm using other tripod models, tip/tilt travel of 60 degrees (+/- 30 degrees) with continuous 360 degree Theta-Z, XYZ bidirectional repeatability of less than +/- 0.6 arc-seconds, velocity up to 100 mm/second XY and Z, and less than 10 nanometers linear and 0.1 arc-seconds angular minimum incremental motion.”

The AngularesTM is part of the Hybrid Hexapod family of motion control systems produced by ALIO, the Hybrid Hexapod itself being developed to address the inherent performance limitations of conventional hexapods. ALIO’s patented 6-DOF design seamlessly blends and takes advantage of the strengths of serial and parallel kinematic structures while avoiding their weaknesses. The Hybrid Hexapod offers far greater functional versatility, nanometer-level accuracy, repeatability, and superior 6-DOF trajectories than is possible with any traditional hexapod or stacked stage configuration.

Hennessey continues, “Standard hexapods satisfactorily service applications where micron motion tolerances are required, but as the demand for nanometer requirements expands, standard hexapods struggle. This is because there are performance limitations inherent in all ‘conventional’ hexapod designs.  They operate within 3-dimensional space, and have errors in all 6 DOF.  However, hexapod motion systems have typically only been characterized by performance data of a single degree of freedom.  This practice leaves error sources unaccounted for in several degrees of freedom, especially in the areas of flatness and straightness, which are critical precision needs at the nanometer-level  required in many medical and clinical devices.”

The unique design of the Hybrid Hexapod® is comprised of a parallel kinematic tripod to deliver Z plane and tip/tilt motion. This tripod is integrated with a monolithic serial kinematic stage for XY planar motion. A rotary stage integrated into the top of the tripod (or beneath depending on application needs) provides 360- degree continuous  (Theta-Z) rotation.  In this hybrid design, individual axes can be customized to provide XY travel ranges from millimeters to virtually unlimited ranges while maintaining nanometer-levels of precision. Novel forward and inverse controller kinematics provide an unlimited number of programmable tool center point locations plus unmatched path precision and performance.

The 60 degree tip/tilt travel of the AngularesTM Hybrid Hexapod®, by far the most angular travel range available from any 6-DOF positioner on the market, in addition to providing an ideal motion control system for an array of medical and clinical device applications is also perfectly suited for aspheric and freeform optical metrology, silicon photonics packaging and probing, laser micro processing (non-planar substrates and taper control), wafer metrology, camera module alignment and assembly, sensor/image stabilization testing, and optical element and fiber alignment.

(March 28th, 2023, Arvada, CO, USA) Genome sequencing is a powerful tool that can help unlock many secrets about both the natural world and the human body. As the demand for faster, more accurate genome sequencing increases, so does the need for ultra-precise motion control systems which are critical for ensuring that the sequencing process is as efficient and accurate as possible.

Ultra-precise motion control systems provide the high levels of accuracy and speed required for genome sequencing applications. By using these systems, genome sequencing can be performed more quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before. This is essential for ensuring that the results of genome sequencing are as accurate and reliable as possible.

Bill Hennessey says, “Motion control systems are driving the field of genome sequencing, which is bedevilled by high cost and low throughput issues, and the problem of handling massive data sets. Automation is a particularly challenging element in the complex instrumentation used, but has played a vital role in genome sequencing, from the development of automated DNA sequencing machines to the use of robotic systems for sample preparation. Automation has helped to speed up the process of genome sequencing and has made it possible to sequence larger genomes more accurately and cost-effectively.

ALIO promotes increased throughput, reduced run time, and lower costs per run coupled with high quality and repeatable imaging by creating a smoother, continuous scan process using a monolithic XY stage and a low friction vertical Z-stage for focusing.

Z focusing can compensate for both variation in the sample and the flatness variation of the XY stage. The ideal technology for achieving the optimum move and settle time is a linear motor stage with a magnetic counterbalance. The linear motor allows for maximum acceleration and deceleration and provides exceptional position stability.

For genome sequencing, where even minor variations in the stage velocity or drift of the trigger clock can cause poor imaging, ALIO is renowned for providing market-leading motion control solutions. 

Hennessey continues, “At ALIO we are aware that motion control systems are critical enabling technologies for genome sequencing applications because they allow for precise and accurate movements of the sequencing equipment. This is essential for ensuring that the sequencing process is performed correctly and producing accurate results. They provide accuracy and precision to the process by ensuring that samples are handled correctly and efficiently. Additionally, larger travel ranges allow more samples in the system at one time, and this means the system requires less opening, which reduces the chance of contamination and reduces down times.  By utilizing ALIO’s advanced motion control technologies, researchers can achieve significant cost savings while delivering reliable results with greater precision than ever before.”

The future of genome sequencing is incredibly exciting and to a large extent is driven by ever-more sophisticated DNA sequencing technologies. ALIO remains focused on ensuring that the motion control systems it develops for genome sequencing are consistently rapid, accurate and affordable. In this way, the company is proud to help scientists unlock previously hidden secrets about the genetic code of life on Earth, the biology of disease, and the development of new treatments and diagnostic tests.