Setting the Stage: Four Steps in Stage Selection

Selecting the right stage for your application can seem like a daunting task, especially with the variety available. An engineer might not want to spend too much time determining which stage to use when there are plenty of other design details they have to consider for their project. Fortunately, given the right roadmap, any task can be simplified.

1. Know What Accuracy You Require

If your accuracy requirements are above 1µm for a linear application, you might be better served looking at a linear actuator. Linear motorized stages are designed for repeatability at or below 1µm (and priced accordingly).

Similarly, rotary stages are meant for high accuracy and precision, and would not serve well in a high-speed application.

2. Know Where You are Going and What Vehicle You Plan to Use

Stages come in varieties that can move in every axis of motion. So, it goes without saying that the first process of elimination would be to start with what direction(s) you need your sensor, sample, or assembly to move. There are options for multi-axis movement as well if your application calls for it, and many MISUMI stages can be easily combined for your own variety of multi-axis movement.

Equally as important as knowing what direction(s) you need to move, is knowing how you want to get there. If you are using a motorized stage, for example, what motor type do you require? Stepper motors are very common for precision positioning applications and provide consistent torque at high speeds and fine step angles, some even have closed-loop control to prevent overstepping and increase coordination between multiple axes. Stepper motors also tend to be a less expensive choice.

Servo motors, on the other hand, are always closed loop for better multi-axis coordination and can run at higher speeds. They might have trouble producing enough torque at lower speeds and may require tuning, which can add difficulty when integrating into a larger system.

3. The Final Details

Your application will require a needed travel distance, applied load, and considerations on cost and space usage. These final details are key for narrowing down your search.

Travel distance is a very effective way to narrow down your search. If you need to travel 90mm, it is easy to cut out many lower travel options. Higher travel options can fit the bill, but too much travel can get unnecessary.

Load capacity is also very effective as going high is no issue, but going too high can be considered unnecessary, especially if cost is a consideration, and it always is.

It should also go without saying that stage dimensions play a role as well. Low profile stages exist in forms of low stage height and width if needed. The stage’s profile could also affect its cost.

4. The Easiest Way: Ask The Experts

No need to go through the stresses of selecting a stage, MISUMI’s dedicated engineers are at your disposal. If you want assistance in selecting the right stage for your application, you can contact stages@misumiusa.com and connect to a qualified engineer to assist with the process. The engineer will need to know basic information, such as:

  • What is the application?
  • How much space do you have?
  • What load will be applied to the stage?
  • How far does the sample/sensor/etc… need to travel?
  • How accurate do you need it to be?
  • How rigid do you need it to be?

This information (and probably more) will be necessary to help the engineer determine what stages would be best to recommend. Be sure to add details about cost and dimensional needs as well. If modifications are still necessary to come up with the stage needed for your application, customization options can be discussed. If you’re ready to select, visit MISUMI’s vast selection of stages and visit our Manual Stages Product Spotlight Page!

Happy Designing!

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