XY Tables

For linear positioning applications, XY tables are used to position a sample (slides, flow cells, well plates, etc.) being imaged or analyzed under a microscope allowing motion in two degrees of freedom in order to image the entire sample.

We offer many different travels and approaches to XY motion depending on your specific application.

Lean Manufacturing Cell

High Performance XY Tables

SmartStage XY Linear Table

Open Frame XY Tables

Motorized Open Frame XY Table

Monolithic High Load XY Tables

Monolithic High Load XY Table

Custom Designed XY Tables

Custom 3D Metrology XY Table

Compact High Performance XY Tables

Compact, high performance XY tables utilize stacked individual axes to create XY motion. Crossed roller bearing stages such as the SmartStage XY and MMX offer better stiffness and repeatability but have limited travel. Alternatively, the MMS series linear guide rail and carriage bearing assembly offers longer travels with slightly less repeatability.

SmartStage XY Positioning Table

SmartStage™ XY

The SmartStage XY linear positioning stage offers high precision and includes an embedded controller inside the table.

Travel50 - 200 mm
Accuracy< 16 μm
Repeatability0.8 μm
Payload10 kg

MMX Miniature Linear XY Stage


The MMX™ series miniature linear table delivers excellent mechanical and servo stiffness with a low profile design.

Travel25 - 150 mm
Accuracy< ± 3 μm
Repeatability< ± 0.4 μm
Payload10 kg

MMS Miniature Linear XY Stage


The MMS miniature linear XY table has a low profile, stackable, shuttle style design ideal when longer travel is required.

Travel200 - 400 mm
Accuracy< 15 μm
Repeatability2 μm
Payload12 kg

Open Frame XY Tables

Open frame XY tables have an open aperture that allows for illuminating a sample from one side with the camera, optics, and objective on the other side of the sample. This arrangement is referred to as non-epifluorescence imaging. A typical microscope would have the illumination source below the sample and the camera/detector above the sample, while an inverted microscope has the opposite arrangement with the camera and objective below the table. Having a clear aperture is helpful as it takes up less space than cantilevering the sample.

XYMR Microscope Table


The XYMR open frame microscope stage offers exceptional flatness, straightness, and accuracy. Ideal for cell counting and analysis.

Travel150 mm
Accuracy30 μm TIR
Repeatability< ± 1.5 μm
Payload10 kg

Large Open Frame Motorized XY Stage


The OFL™ series motorized XY microscope table provides increased travel and load bearing capacity in an open frame XY configuration. 

Travel200 - 635 mm
Accuracy80 μm TIR
Repeatability< ± 3 μm
Payload80 kg

DDM Motorized Microscope XY Table


The DDM™ series direct drive motorized microscope table provides quiet motion with the best accuracy and repeatability of the open frame series.  

Travel120 x 80 mm
Accuracy2 μm TIR
Repeatability< ± 0.25 μm
Payload1 kg

Monolithic High Load XY Tables

Monolithic style XY tables are used for larger loads and when there is a need to reduce height. The middle plate is both the table of the lower axis as well as the base of the upper axis. By using a monolithic integrated approach, a stiffer overall motion table design is achieved which allows for a lower overall stack height, which helps minimize Abbe errors getting introduced into the accuracy of the motion.

XYR XY Positioning Table


The XYR™ positioning stage is our most popular linear table and uses a lead screw for motion. The monolithic integrated XY center makes the table stiff and compact.

Travel50 - 300 mm
Accuracy15 μm
Repeatability< ± 3 μm
Payload175 kg

XYRB Motorized XY Table


The XYRB™ series incorporates a ball screw for more precise and repeatable positioning. The encoder option provides high precision.

Travel50 - 300 mm
Accuracy8 μm TIR
Repeatability< ± 1 μm
Payload175 kg

High Capacity Linear Table – XYA™


The XYA™ offers an enclosed table structure with embedded cables, motor, and controller for a cleaner appearance and less external cabling.

Travel100 - 200 mm
Accuracy50 μm TIR
Repeatability< ± 5 μm
Payload10 kg

Custom Design Capabilities

Dover Motion has more than 25 years of experience working with OEMs to optimize motion for objective focusing, and moving samples on a slides, well plates, or flow cells. Our engineers have developed unique motion control architectures for precision motion specifically tailored to the needs of OEMs developing microscope-based systems and instruments relying on optical imaging as the analytical detection technique. Dover Motion’s novel, patented, SmartStage embedded controls provides key packaging advantages, reduced cabling and cable management requirements, and incredible system value for our clients.

SmartStage Open Frame XY Table

Open Frame (XY) Tables

  • Fast Linear Motors
  • Built in controller
  • High Resolution encoder feedback

Read More

Gene Sequencing Imaging Sub-Assembly

XY + Tip Tilt Tables

  • Long travel high speed load / unload table
  • Precision stepping axis
  • Tip / Tilt to compensate for slide variation

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Microscope Demo

Well Plate XYZ Tables

  • Optimized for price/performance
  • Linear Motor high speed stepping axis
  • Screw based indexing and Z lift axes
  • Standard well plate carrier

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See How We Are Disrupting Motion Control

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Additional Resources

Objective Focusing Calculations Explained
4 Steps to Optimize the Optics

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About XY Tables

While a number of positioning actuator applications can be addressed with single-axis translation stages, the majority of customer payloads require motion in two axes, for which we use an XY translation stage, also called an XY table. In its simplest configuration, an XY stage can be assembled by simply bolting two single-axis stages together. In that case, care must be taken to ensure that the axes are truly orthogonal.

What is a Monolithic XY Table?
The preferred implementation is to make a true XY table in which the orthogonality is precision-machined into its component parts. In this type of XY translation table design, the top of the lower axis serves as the base for the upper axis, in a simple and compact three-piece design. This approach typically reduces the overall height of the XY table resulting in less Abbe error. In addition, most of our actuators can be mounted in an XYZ configuration for vertical applications.
What type of mechanical guideways are in the XY Tables?
XY linear tables can be designed with a wide range of guideways including:

  • Ball and pressure plate provide lower cost, but less stiffness
  • Crossed roller guideways offer high stiffness and precision straightness across travel
  • Recirculating profile rails are best for longer travels
  • Air bearings provide the highest precision flatness and straightness
What type of mechanical actuation is used in the XY tables?
Dover Motion offers various actuation options including:

  • Rotary stepper motor or rotary servo motor driving a lead screw and friction nut for low cost applications
  • Rotary stepper motor or rotary servo motor driving a ball screws for better repeatability
  • Rotary motor driven belts and pulleys where speed and cost is more important than precision
  • Linear motors for the best reliability (non-contact with no wearing elements) and for high precision repeatability

XY linear stages with air bearings and linear motors provide some of the highest levels of performance available. The only assembly more precise is called a planar gantry design.

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