ALIO Industries’ brands indicate imperatives in nanometer-level motion control

ALIO Industries provides optimal motion control solutions for its customers by constantly focussing on nanometer-level precision and repeatability. There is much debate about the validity of claims made in the area of motion control when it comes to extreme accuracy, and the differences between claims of nanometer-level precision and repeatability and its actual attainment are a hot topic today.

Ultimately erroneous claims lead to customer dissatisfaction and failure of often critical industrial applications, and it is because of this that ALIO Industries is at pains to prove its nanometer-level motion control credentials, and also to move the conversation on to facilitate the better understanding of how the motion control world needs to accommodate and understand true nano-precision.

To help in this endeavour, ALIO Industries has been busy redefining the language that the most accurate of motion control systems should use, and has backed this up by registering brand names that it alone can use to demonstrate the company’s unique status in the sector.

Bill Hennessey, CEO at ALIO Industries explains, “First off, we have registered the phrases True Nano Positioning® and True Nano®. Nano has become the new buzz word in the motion and manufacturing sectors in recent years. Most stage companies have recently started to claim “nano” as a marketing hook for their products. ALIO has focused on building nano precision stages for nearly 20 years and we felt it necessary to protect our long-term IP and commitment with trademarks. Companies offer nanometer-resolution or large nano errors with uni-directional planar numbers which are actually micron errors on true stage performance. Resolution means absolutely nothing in the True Nano® world.”

ALIO Industries has also registered the phrase 6-D Nano Precision®. ALIO designs, builds and tests stages in all 6 degrees of freedom, believing a nano precision stage most importantly must have sub-micron straightness and flatness as well. Some motion companies claim nano repeatability and accuracy (which are a planar numbers) knowing the customer application needs ultra-precise straightness and flatness to succeed. Customers’ assumptions of nano precision are mostly based on 2 D planar precision without focus on 6-D. ALIO wanted to define a term that represented the higher levels that its products could attain, and therefore set itself apart from companies that make unproven data sheet claims of accuracy.

Walter Silvesky, VP Sales continues, “Another area that we consistently drive the message is in the area of how accuracy should be validated in the nanometer-level world. So saying, we registered the phrases 6-D Point Precision® and Point Precision®. These trademarks are an extension of the “True” and “6-D” references to performance specifications to a point in space, not the planar methodology current standards use. ALIO’s focus on nano precision position of stages at a point in space is the basis of the new ASME standard for measuring motion systems that NIST is collaborating with. This new standard and ALIO’s long-term focus on nano precision motion systems plus our trademarks strongly position us for all future ultra-precision or nano precision motion systems. Point Precision® and 6-D Point Precision® both define bi-directional repeatability of all 6 degrees of freedom (linear, straightness, flatness, pitch, yaw and roll) to a single point of precision in space for a single motion stage. In ALIO’s case we push this singular stage approach even further with our monolithic XY stages which have combined 6-D point precision at the nanometer precision level of the both axes combined.”

ALIO Industries also owns the trademarks Nano Metrology® and Nano Z®. Nano Metrology® was registered in deference to the evolution and novel designs of metrology sensors which created a need for better stages to move the sample or sensor. ALIO introduced the novel idea of nanometer precision of straightness of travel to reduce the uncertainty of measurement, and has the ability to measure at the nanometer level of uncertainty which include motion and sensor combined error quotients.

The Nano Z® trademark was born out of work that ALIO undertook in the semiconductor industry on a planar XY air bearing and an air bearing Z stage for wafer manufacturing and metrology. The Z lift stage design was so novel that ALIO trademarked its name, and it reinforces the company’s ability to move in Z, vertical, or lift a part with nanometer precision.

Hennessey concludes, “With the recent trademarking of the now well-known and ground-breaking Hybrid Hexapod® which is two orders of magnitude more precise than legacy hexapods, ALIO Industries exhibits an ability to think ahead in its developments in the nanometer-level motion control sector. The company is consistently redefining the language, understanding of, and standardization of nanometer-level motion control solutions to ensure that OEMs attain the levels of accuracy required for project success.”

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