Custom Linear Stages and Linear Motion
Dover Motion offers a range of standard linear motion systems, though our core strength is collaborating with our clients to configure the right motion solution for their unique application. Learn more about how we can work together on your next project.
What are linear stages?
Linear stages provide precise automated positioning and are typically available as either single axis or as an XY stage. In order to achieve linear motion, each axis of a linear stage must constrain the six degrees of freedom (X, Y, Z, roll, pitch, and yaw) of the payload to only one— translation along a straight line. This is accomplished with a set of linear bearing guideways which are attached to a base structural member that provides a stiff support.
The linear bearing guideways can be implemented in a number of ways, including:
- Ball and crossed roller bearings
- Recirculating bearings
- Cam followers or vee wheels
- Air bearings
How do linear stages work?
Once the payload has been constrained to a single degree of freedom, the linear motion system’s next mission is to actuate the payload and provide precise incremental linear motion along the guideway.
Linear actuator methods include:
- Friction screws with anti-backlash nuts
- Ball screws
- Belt and pulley
- Rack and pinion
- Piezo actuators
- Linear motors
Using a linear motor is generally considered to be the most precise actuation technology.
A linear translation stage with a linear motor requires a linear feedback device as well as a servo drive and control to close a position feedback loop. With a high-resolution linear encoder, linear actuators can provide position control down to the nanometer level. A typical application for precision linear actuators is to control the focus of a microscope objective in a digital imaging system.