Dover Motion Created a New XY Stage for 3D Metrology to Meet Client’s Unique Needs

The client’s performance goals were met with an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly stage.

At a Glance

  • A company was developing a new 3D optical metrology system but no off the shelf solutions provided the user friendly packaging they desired.
  • The Dover Motion team worked closely with the customer to understand their project and create a new design that met their goals and was also aesthetically pleasing and safe for end users.
  • We created a new kind of XY stage that placed the motors, all the wiring, and control boards within the stage for a small footprint and sleek appearance.
  • This new kind of monolithic XY stage for 3D metrology was so successful that it has become a Dover standard product.

In Need of a Stronger and Smaller Motor

A company was developing a new 3D optical metrology system and was finding that conventional XY stages wouldn’t fit their needs due to their stringent size and ease-of-use requirements.

They were learning the hard way that conventional XY stepper motor stages have 2 bulky stepper motors that protrude from each side, and each motor has 2 moving cables. This construction makes the stage larger than it has to be, requires several external cables, and is not as strong or stable at the ends of the travel ranges. It also exposes dangerous pinch points to the end users where the tables slide.

The company engaged Dover Motion to develop a new type of stage for their 3D metrology system which was more compact, stronger, safer, and aesthetically pleasing with no exposed wiring.


Making It All Fit

The Dover Motion team worked closely with the client to understand their application needs and identify a complete set of optimal design goals.

The stepper motors, lead screws, and all of the wiring needed to fit within a minimally sized footprint with a single, unobtrusive cable connection. Ideally, the motor controller circuitry would be included along with the motor wiring within the table structure and would be invisible to the end user.

The table had to be robust and extremely stiff to provide the stability required for the client’s high-magnification optical application. It also had to be sleek and aesthetically pleasing, as well as safe for the end user during operation.

A Sleek and Compact Design

Dover Motion used compact stepper motors with integrated lead screws to minimize the stage’s overall size. Placing the motors within the stage structure enabled all of the wiring to be concealed and exit at the bottom of the stage.

We worked closely with the client to find a way to embed their control and stepper drive board within the stage, further simplifying the design of the instrument. The resulting new stage structure provided the stiffness required for the application.

Covers were designed so that there were no exposed motors, lead screws, wires, or pinch points during operation. The entire stage returns to an aesthetically pleasing black anodized block when in the centered position.

Dover Motion’s thorough understanding of the client’s needs also led to the inclusion of a grid pattern machined into the upper table for ease of set up and part placement under the metrology head, and the addition of tapped holes on the table to provide additional fixture attachment points.

A New Kind of XY Stage

Through understanding the client’s needs and engineering the right design for their application, Dover Motion created an entirely new type of monolithic XY stage for 3D metrology.

Embedding the motors minimized the footprint, eliminated all four external cables, and allowed for a single underside cable exit. The new design’s stiffness provides the stability that is required for high precision optical imaging, and the integrated covers make this sleek, compact, and aesthetically pleasing stage the safest one on the market.

This 100-by-100-millimeter-travel monolithic stage has become a standard Dover product, the XYA™ series, and has been in production since 2012. Its success has led to the development of 2 additional sizes with travel of 200-by-200 millimeters, and 200-by-325 millimeters. For applications that require higher precision, the 200-by-200-millimeter model is available with an optional linear encoder for less than 10-micron linear accuracy and 2-micron bi-directional repeatability. And as with all Dover products, the XYA series stages can be further configured to meet the specific needs of a given project.


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