Protected: PI-Medical

Piezoceramic Drive Solutions for Medical Engineering

Auf der Roemerstr. 1, 76228 Karlsruhe,Other, Germany

Medical engineering and related life-science disciplines have a multi-faceted requirements profile for the motion drives employed. The spectrum goes from high-precision positioning systems to simple drive components which are compact, fast, reliable and energy-saving. Piezoceramic drives are perfect for both these applications.

Piezoceramic drives for medical engineering

Physik Instrumente (PI) successfully integrates appropriate solutions in a wide variety of medical applications. Since the piezoelectric ceramics are developed and manufactured in-house at PI Ceramic, PI can be very flexible in reacting to customers’ requirements. From the piezoceramic disk for generating ultrasound through to six-axis positioning systems for load positioning in strong magnetic fields, PI and PI Ceramic provide a broad spectrum of drives for medical engineering.

  • Clinical research and diagnostics
  • Microscopy and therapeutic applications
  • High-precision dosing
  • Moving test strips, pumps and nebulisers

Piezoceramic elements

Piezoelectric materials convert electrical energy directly into mechanical energy and vice versa. Their motion is based on crystalline displacements, so there is neither friction nor wear. Piezoceramic components can be used as ultrasonic generators, actuators or sensors. They therefore have a wide range of applications in medical engineering. These include micro-dosing pumps and nebulisers to generate homogenous aerosols, sensors for flow measurement, and air-bubble detectors. Even systems which are energy self-sufficient can be realised.

Piezo actuators

A piezo actuator is basically a large number of piezoceramic elements stacked together in order to achieve larger travel ranges. The motion is based on crystalline effects and so there are no rotating parts, neither is there any friction; piezo actuators are therefore practically maintenance-free and non-wearing.

To keep the operating voltages low, the individual layers in the so-called multilayer actuators are very thin. They are manufactured using co-fired technology which guarantees maximum reliability. The actuators are electrically insulated in a way which is humidity resistant and are used in medical engineering, e.g. in dosing applications, pumps and valves.

Piezoelectric drives for large travel ranges

Drives that are based on piezomotors combine the high stiffness and dynamics of pure piezo actuators with unlimited travel ranges. They also operate with high resolution in the nanometer range. This means they can always replace conventional motor-spindle combinations when these are not small, precise, fast, powerful or reliable enough. In medical engineering, this is the case when pipetting or in robotics, for example. Different versions cover a wide variety of application requirements.

High-accuracy piezo positioning systems

PI usually uses piezo actuators or piezoelectric linear drives in its positioning systems. Friction-free flexures provide maximum guiding accuracy, while capacitive sensors measure the position. They come from PI’s own product programme, as do the controllers and the control and operating software.

The perfectly matched components are one of the main reasons why the systems have a high positional accuracy in the nanometer range. In medical engineering they are mainly used for imaging and robotics applications. The dynamics and compact size of the piezo positioning systems can also benefit positioning and scanning applications where nanometer accuracy is not required.


Hexapod systems are based on six high-resolution actuators which act on a common platform. Their parallel kinematics design means they operate with higher dynamics and precision than independent axes constructed in series. The control not only allows repeatable precise motion to the target position, it also makes it possible to precisely specify the exact route. In medical engineering hexapods are mainly used for handling systems or for surgery and endoscopy. In therapeutics, they allow the patient to be placed in exactly the right position, for treatment of a tumor, for example.

PiezoMove Linear Actuator P-604 for Open-Loop Operation

The extremely cost-efficient and compact P-604 lever actuator supplements the portfolio of the PiezoMove series. The linear actuator achieves a travel range of 300µm and is exclusively designed for open-loop operation.

Nanometer-Precision Solutions for Surface Inspections

Surface inspections are nowadays indispensable in many areas. The trend is towards increasingly smaller structures, for example, when testing nanocoatings. Depending on the requirements, different methods are suitable; they range from interferometry and confocal microscopy to high-resolution camera systems, which allow three-dimensional inspections, and to nanoindentation which is used in material and hardness inspections.

Piezo Elements for a Multitude of Sensor Applications

Piezoelectric materials can produce an electric voltage when a force is applied to them (piezo effect), and they can change their dimensions when an electric field is applied (inverse piezo effect). They convert mechanical power into electrical power and vice versa; they are also referred to as transducers.

PI Ceramic Announces Piezo Actuators that Harvest Energy From Vibration

Radio sensors can monitor installations at locations which are difficult to get to and thus support automation. The energy supply is an important consideration in such applications. In order to dispense with the need for batteries and the associated servicing work, it is possible to use energy from the surrounding environment: energy harvesting.

PI Ceramic Publishes New Catalogue, Piezoelectric Actuators

PI Ceramic publishes its new product catalogue 'Piezoelectric Actuators - Components, Technologies, Operation'. The new edition contains all standard products in the area of piezo actuators, as well as detailed information on the principles of piezo technology.

PI-Medical Unveils Energy Harvesting Piezo Actuators

Does a machine vibrate? Does a plate or a pipe oscillate? In that case, the released energy could be used to locally supply an electronic component with energy and thus dispense with batteries! In this way, for example, wireless sensors can monitor entire plants even in difficult-to-access places, thereby supporting automation.

PI-Medical Releases New Compact Controller for Hexapods

Hexapods from PI are indispensable for high-precision positioning in six axes. The parallel-kinematics Hexapods are offered as a system, including a powerful digital controller and comprehensive software support.

PI Reveals Cost-Efficient Piezomotors, PIShift

PIShift drives are compact and cost-efficient piezo linear drives from PI (Physik Instrumente), the Karlsruhe specialist for positioning systems. The drives use the stick-slip effect and, due to the high operating frequency of more than 20 kHz, they are noiseless.

PI Expands Company Management

Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG, the manufacturer of high-precision positioning systems, appointed new managing directors in April 2012 as part of the company's succession planning.

PI Introduces New Low-Cost Three-Channel Controller

The E-563 control electronics provides maximum resolution in three channels for classic nanopositioning systems. Although the price of this system is less than half of that of a fully digital high-end variant, the user still gets important performance features of PI (Physik Instrumente) controlle

PI Launches New Website on Drive Solutions for Medical Engineering

Piezoelectric components and drives from PI Ceramic and Physik Instrumente (PI) are known for being employed in high-precision positioning systems. In addition, they are suitable for less accurate systems which nevertheless are small, fast, reliable and energy saving, and with that they fulfil th

New Mini-Hexapod from PI Provides Six-Axis Motion in Vacuums

In vacuum chambers there is very little installation space for applications. Since the object to be moved is not permanently accessible, a flexible placement of the load (e.g. a sample) is particularly important. The new M-811.STV Miniature Hexapod from Physik Instrumente (PI) offers th

PI-Medical will be Attending MEDTEC 2011

PI-Medical, manufacturer of piezoceramic drive solutions for the medical industry, will be attending MEDTEC 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany, which is being held from 22-24 March 2011. Visit us at our booth (4735) to find our more about our company's solutions and services.

Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG

Auf der Roemerstr. 1

76228 Karlsruhe



+49 721/4846-0 +49 721/4846-1019 Videos Catalogues and brochures

PI Japan Co., Ltd

Akebono-cho 2-38-5

Tachikawa-shi J-Tokyo 190



+81 (42) 526 7300 +81 (42) 526 7301

Physik Instrumente (PI Shanghai) Co., Ltd

Building No. 7-106 Longdong Avenue 3000

201203 Shanghai



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United States of America

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