IST Precision has developed a considerable portfolio of flexure designs used as standalone systems as well as integration into complex systems. Flexures provide compact precision frictionless motion that can achieve high speeds (with appropriate actuators) with very fine resolutions and exceptionally high accuracies (nanometers). For example, our expertise in flexure development has enabled us to provide unique metrology solutions for customers achieving high throughput in a footprint not possible using other technologies.
IST Precision has developed precision sensors to detect piezoelectric charge, strain, resonance, and optical wavelength to provide force and displacement sensing. Our sensors can be used as a photodetector, force probe, displacements sensor, and/or a strain gage. Our expertise enables us to develop sensors that exceed the state-of-the-art. For example, we utilize our expertise in flexure design combined with our custom sensors to develop a small force sensor to measure micro-newtons, design a sensor that is the size of a human hair that was used as a microscale force probe, and to detect picometer displacements to enable the development of a high-speed coordinate measuring machine probe. Over the years, we have developed deep knowledge in manufacturing technologies, analog circuit design, and digital algorithms that are required for our custom sensors. We also understand and have taken advantage of the benefits of commercial manufacturing technologies such as chemical etching, EDM, and laser ablation processes to realize custom compact sensor designs.
We have a full suite of FEA simulation software to enable static, dynamic, thermal, and nonlinear analysis. Our engineers have a solid understanding of first-order principles and use this to compare against our simulations. The simulations have been used to assess resonance modes in structures, develop dynamic absorbers, assess elastic behavior due to cyclical stress loading, model nonlinear elastic behavior due to the interaction of plastic parts, conduct thermal analysis of microheaters, and characterize the dynamic response of systems undergoing base excitations. These tools, combined with our technical backgrounds and expertise, provide a high confidence level that our designs will achieve the required performance levels. This ensures projects remain within deadlines and project budgets are not overrun due to multiple design iterations from unexpected performance levels.
Our engineers have many years of experience in precision electronic design. Precision electrical signals can be challenging to achieve and expertise is required in understanding ground loops, low thermal drifts and optimizing board routing to minimize cross talk. We have years of experience in both analog and digital circuit architecture design to enable very precise electrical signals to be generated and detected at a very high accuracy. We are equipped to design 1 layer to 15 layer boards, well versed in ADC and DAC, microprocessors, flash, and many forms of analog design. Examples have included multi-channel phase lock loop circuits, high-speed digital controllers for motion control, and quadrature detectors.
We have expertise in general modal analysis of complex systems such as machine tools and other instrumentation structures. We use impact hammers, accelerometers, and frequency spectrum software to characterize modal stiffness, mode shapes, and modal mass of the system. Based upon this we can help the customer isolate modal frequencies which could be causing dissatisfying results of your system. Our diagnostic tools used at the customer’s site will provide tremendous insight into a system’s resonance frequencies. We can then help to provide suggestions and design changes to the system in order to enhance the stiffness in strategic areas which will lead to improved performance levels.
Our motion control background includes flexure based nanopositioning, air bearing slides, feed screws, steppers, and precision encoders to name a few. We have developed stages with displacement ranges from 10 micrometers to hundreds of millimeters of travel. Each customer has unique requirements in positioning accuracy, bandwidth, payloads, off-axis errors, and number of axes. Our knowledge in this area extends across boundaries in the most advanced precision motion to more routine motion such as pneumatic actuators. In addition, we use both third party controller algorithms as well as develop our own. Examples of our work include standard PID algorithms, input shaping, digital filters, high-speed digital communication through various architecture ports such as HDMI and USB.
We have a broad background in manufacturing for nanoscale, microscale, and large scaled parts. Our mechanical engineers have backgrounds as trained machinists which is necessary for optimal engineering design. Many of our designs continually push the boundaries of manufacturing due to challenging specifications and we look to advanced manufacturing practices to enable an excellent part to be realized for prototypes and final design. Some of the processes we use in our designs include chemical etching, wire EDM, high-speed machining, and laser processes. We leverage this background knowledge and our experience as machinists to provide an optimal solution for your project.
We have expertise in several forms of programming including C, C#, C++, G code, NI graphical code, and VHDL. Platforms such as MATLAB, LabVIEW, Xilinx, and Arduino. We have developed code for touch screens, digital filters, demodulation, high-speed controllers, phase lock loops, high-speed HDMI communication, and high-speed calibration tables to name a few. Having a solid foundation in both programming, mechanical and electrical systems we can accelerate projects very quickly and efficiently.