Piezo LEGS® – a walking drive technology

PiezoMotor-Piezo-LEGS-LR17-Large_02Imagine a piezoelectric motor that moves like an ant but with legs about 1,000-fold stronger. Despite being constructed in one solid piece, it actually walks – step-by-step, one pair of legs at a time. But what’s really unique about Piezo LEGS® motors is their ability to synchronize the movement of each pair of legs – again, just like an ant.


One-piece construction

Conventional electric motors usually require several assembled parts such as rotor, stator, ball-bearings etc. to make them work. With Piezo LEGS® motors, multiple bimorph piezo actuators are co-sintered to a single body with four movable legs made out of ceramic ‘muscles’. They operate directly with no need for gears or mechanical transmission like a walking drive technology. What’s more, the material is virtually impossible to wear out. Despite their small format, the motors possess enormous power. Each leg can, in fact, lift 10,000-times their own weight.

Nanometer steps and direct drive

Voltage applied to the piezoceramic muscles controls the synchronized movement of each pair of legs, enabling them to move forward and backward. The unique design of Piezo LEGS® makes the motor walk in a precise linear motion, taking steps typically no bigger than a couple of micrometers, steps that can also be controlled to the single nanometer range. And by taking several thousand steps per second, Piezo LEGS® motors can reach travelling speeds of several centimeters per second. Their motion dynamics are fascinating; performing with nanometer precision and then suddenly moving several million nanometers (centimeters) per second.

Piezo LEGS principle 2013

Designed for large volume production

Simple design makes Piezo LEGS® motors easy to produce in large quantities with a high degree of precision. We can also adapt motor properties and performance to suit your application or product, which saves you both time and money. The length of a motor element is typically in the range 5 to 20 mm. Its functional properties and performance are easily adapted to different demands and applications. Check out our standard product range or contact us to discuss customizing to meet your specific demands.

Simplify your design

Perhaps the biggest advantage of Piezo LEGS® motors is that they help you design cost-effective and reliable linear or rotary motion systems. Simplicity is key. Each additional part increases system complexity and the risk of play and backlash. Costs also increase, directly in manufacturing and later in maintenance.

Piezo LEGS® motors overcome such drawbacks, generating more than enough force for direct drive without lead screws, gears or bearings.

Quick and precise motion at low cost

It’s the combination of power, speed, precision and compact format that makes Piezo LEGS® motors so hard to beat, especially if you add another key demand – low cost.

Extremely high resolution (single nanometer) and motion control

Having one pair of legs engaged at all times allows permanent and complete control of the motion. By controlling the movement pattern of the legs more precisely, we can also adapt and optimize motor properties to different types of applications.

One really great advantage is the opportunity to combine quick movements with very small and precise ones. By just partly bending a pair of legs (rather than taking a complete step), motors can move with a precision in the order of one millionth of a millimeter, i.e. one nanometer.

Tailor-made to your specifications

One of the great advantages of Piezo LEGS® technology is its easy adaptability to different demands and applications. Furthermore, we assist you throughout the design process.

Also keep in mind robust design and resistance to wear-and-tear. Remember too that battery voltage can drive the motors, that you can use motors in a vacuum and that motion is free from backlash. Then you’ll realize the great possibilities that the Piezo LEGS® technology offers.