New Scale signs partner agreement with EPCOS for next-generation piezoelectric micro motor development
Companies combine EPCOS' excellence in piezo ceramic manufacturing with New Scale's innovation in micro motor and motion system design and production
Victor, NY – Dec. 15, 2008 - New Scale Technologies, Inc. (www.newscaletech.com), creator of ingeniously small motion systems, today announced a technology partnership with EPCOS AG (www.epcos.com), a EUR 1.48 billion global manufacturer of electronic products including piezoelectric ceramics. The cooperation agreement will further the development of innovative ultrasonic motors, leveraging EPCOS’ expertise in manufacturing of multilayer piezoelectric ceramic elements and New Scale’s excellence in creating miniature piezoelectric micro motors, micro actuator modules and motion systems.
Reduced-voltage breakthrough for the SQUIGGLE motor
The partnership has resulted in a reduced-voltage version of New Scale’s smallest linear SQUIGGLE® motor, incorporating four multilayer piezo plates from EPCOS in New Scale’s patented direct-drive motor design. This next-generation motor is powered directly by a battery voltage of less than 3 V, about one tenth of the voltage requirement of the current motor.
At 1.82 x 1.82 x 6 mm with 0.5 µm resolution, the reduced-voltage motor has the same size, resolution and power draw of New Scale’s current-generation SQL-1.8 SQUIGGLE motor. However, the lower voltage operation of the EPCOS material eliminates the need for a voltage boost and therefore enables New Scale to shrink the size of the motor drive circuit by 75%.
“Achieving the absolute smallest complete motion system is huge for makers of ultra-miniature products such as mobile phone cameras,” said David Henderson, CEO and CTO of New Scale Technologies. “The reduced voltage requirement made possible by EPCOS’ multilayer piezo technology is a major breakthrough in overall system miniaturization.”
New Scale’s current SQL-1.8 SQUIGGLE micro motor is driven by the NSD-1102 motor driver ASIC and an external boost circuit, for a total drive circuit area of approximately 6 x 9 mm. New Scale is developing a drive ASIC for the reduced-voltage motor that is expected to measure less than 3 x 3 mm.
The new reduced-voltage SQUIGGLE motor and ASIC driver will be available in Q3 2009 to selected system development partners. The company is initially targeting the phone camera market. New Scale works with its partners to incorporate its SQUIGGLE motors, drive ASICs and position sensors into complete motion systems for customer-specific applications such as autofocus and optical zoom.
Further miniaturization with the Ultra-Thin Actuator Family of piezo motors
Additional cooperative development projects for New Scale and EPCOS include a new family of ultra-thin motors even smaller than the SQUIGGLE motor. The first prototypes in New Scales’ new Ultra-Thin Actuator Family (UTAF) of custom piezo motors measure less than 1 mm thick. “We achieve this dramatic size reduction by integrating multiple actuator functions and independent electrical connections into a single co-fired ceramic component,” explains Dr. Justinus Slakhorst, CTO of the Ceramic Components Division at EPCOS.
EPCOS is the global market leader in piezo actuators for automotive fuel injection systems, and expects the cooperation with New Scale to extend their presence into other growing markets. For New Scale, EPCOS’ global significance in products for mobile communications and expertise in piezo technology make them a natural partner in the development of next-generation piezo motors, modules and systems.
Creating motion without gears
Ultrasonic piezo motors use vibrations and friction to generate continuous movement without gears. Piezo actuators are used to generate these ultrasonic vibrations with amplitudes of a few micrometers. New Scale Technologies’ SQUIGGLE motor is a patented ultrasonic motor design that uses a vibrating nut to rotate and drive a threaded pin forward and back. Precision-matched multilayer piezo plates, which are bonded to the sides of the nut and electrically driven at the mechanical resonant frequency, produce hula-hoop-like vibrations. The SQUIGGLE motor is 50 percent smaller than other piezo motors, while producing ten times the force and achieving ten times better position resolution. SQUIGGLE motors also feature a very high shock resistance. Because of their miniaturized dimensions, the SQUIGGLE motors enable camera modules to be built that are as thin as 6.5 mm.
Wide range of applications
Autofocus and optical zoom cameras are just two examples of the many possible applications for SQUIGGLE and UTAF motors. They can be used wherever miniature size, low voltage and high precision are the defining parameters, such as drug pumps and micro fuel cells, toys, precision alignment systems, and many more.
EPCOS AG is a leading manufacturer of electronic components, modules and systems headquartered in Munich. With its broad portfolio, EPCOS offers a comprehensive range of products from a single source and focuses on fast-growing and technologically demanding markets, particularly in the areas of information and communication technology, automotive electronics, industrial electronics and consumer electronics. The EPCOS Group has design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Europe, Asia, and in North and South America.
Electronic components are found in every electrical and electronic product and are indispensable for their flawless operation. Products from EPCOS store electrical energy, filter frequencies, and protect against overvoltage and overcurrent.
In fiscal 2008 (October 1, 2007, to September 30, 2008), EPCOS posted sales of EUR 1.48 billion. At the end of the fiscal year, the company employed about 21,200 people worldwide.
About New Scale Technologies
New Scale Technologies (www.newscaletech.com), headquartered in Victor, New York/USA, creates disruptively small motion systems based on the patented piezoelectric SQUIGGLE® motor, the world’s smallest linear motor and TRACKER™ position sensor. New Scale Technologies creates complete motion systems integrating motor and sensor technology with supporting electronics (ASICs) developed with partner austriamicrosystems (www.austriamicrosystems.com).
New Scale’s micro motors, encoders and micro-actuator modules enable design engineers to create smaller products including mobile phone cameras, electronic locks and intelligent fasteners, nano-scale fluid control including lab-on-a-chip systems, medical devices including miniature drug pumps and endoscopes, optics and imaging systems, automotive modules, lasers, aerospace and defense systems, cryogenic and MRI-compatible instruments, and consumer electronics including micro fuel cells.