This section provides an overview for piezo drivers as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 22 piezo driver manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked piezo driver companies as of December, 2023: 1.Boréas Technologies Inc., 2.Profusion Ltd, 3.Digi-Key Electronics.
A piezo driver is a power supply and control device that stably operates and controls a piezo element.
A piezoelectric element is a device that converts mechanical displacement into a voltage value or an applied voltage into mechanical motion by utilizing the piezoelectric and inverse piezoelectric effects and is also called a piezoelectric element. Particularly in the case of conversion to mechanical operation, it is possible to control very small sub-micron levels at high speed.
Piezo drivers play the role of power source and control devices in controlling the precise motion of such piezoelectric devices.
Piezo drivers are widely used in microscopes and machine tools for precision machining that require microscopic motion control. In optical microscope applications, piezo drivers can be used to drive X-Y stages and objective lenses to achieve accurate positioning at high speed.
For example, it is very suitable for high-speed three-dimensional imaging of dynamic phenomena in living cells. Piezo drivers are also often used in lathes and other machine tools for precision work that requires submicron-level accuracy.
To fully exploit the performance of actuator devices using piezo elements, the performance of the piezo drivers responsible for controlling their operation is critical.
The principle of a piezo driver is that it has a power supply for driving the piezo element and a control circuit that accurately handles minute potentials (to take advantage of the piezoelectric and inverse piezoelectric effects). The piezo element itself has the characteristics of a capacitor, and the power supply side (piezo drivers side) that drives the capacitor as it charges and discharges must have the characteristics of an amplifier-type power supply that can draw in and discharge output current.
Piezo devices respond to minute voltage changes. If a voltage change in the circuit is detected in a steady state with no input, the piezo element will be driven even though no action is being taken, causing a malfunction.
The voltage supply for piezo drivers must be sufficiently stable. To ensure stability as a power supply, a shunt regulator or similar device is incorporated to monitor the voltage applied to the piezo element and constantly apply feedback.
By minimizing malfunctions and drift noise in this way, the driver can stably supply enough current to fill the capacitance of the piezo element and complete its drive in only a few microseconds in response to a sudden increase in the control voltage as input.
Under the recent trend toward energy conservation as represented by the SDGs, audio amplifiers are utilizing PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control to improve efficiency, and some manufacturers are also applying PWM control to piezo drivers.
Unlike dedicated audio amplifiers, the development of unique low-current, high-voltage PWM control-type amplifiers suitable for piezo elements has led to the commercialization of compact, high-efficiency piezo drivers.
Piezoelectric elements themselves have been used in the acoustic field for some time, but their use has been limited to piezoelectric speakers and the like. In recent years, however, piezo drivers have been used in high-end earphones for high-resolution playback. When voltage is applied to piezo drivers, the piezo element generates pressure. Using this characteristic, when a music signal is applied to the piezo drivers as a voltage, the diaphragm vibrates accordingly. In other words, the voltage is converted into sound.
The advantage of using piezo drivers in earphones is that there is no signal conversion process, as is the case with dynamic-type earphones, in which a coil is used to convert the music signal into magnetic force to vibrate the diaphragm. In addition, since the piezo drivers vibrate the diaphragm directly, they operate at extremely high speeds, resulting in very high-frequency reproduction capability. This makes it ideal for reproducing the rich ultra-high frequency information of high-resolution sound sources.
However, to take advantage of the performance of piezo drivers, earphones with piezo drivers also use other high-end drivers for low and mid frequencies, and the products are expensive. The mechanism of piezo driver speakers is almost the same as that of piezo driver earphones. However, one manufacturer's piezo speaker has a very thin and flexible structure that allows it to vibrate a variety of objects to produce sound.
They also have a wider sound range than previous piezoelectric speakers, especially enhanced output in the bass range, which has been a particular weakness of piezoelectric speakers. Recent LCD TVs have a very thin chassis, and existing speakers can no longer be installed. The above film-type thin piezo driver speaker is suitable for such thin TVs, and higher sound quality is expected in the future.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Analog Technologies, Inc., founded in 1997 and located in San Jose, California, is a manufacturer of analog and digital electronic hardware modules. The company’s diverse range of products includes laser controls, thermosystem components, LED lighting and instruments, AC and DC divers, and thermistors. . These products have broad applications in diverse industries, such as laser systems, temperature control, LED lighting, motor control, and temperature sensing. Analog Technologies' modules are used for precision, control, and efficiency in electronic and electrical systems across applications.
Micronix USA is an American manufacturer of micro and nano positioning components based in Fountain Valley, California, and founded in 2006. The company produces Piezo positioners, modular linear stages, motion controllers, and accessories. It is capable of customizing its products to operate in specific conditions such as in vacuums and non-magnetic environments as well as creating complete custom components based on customer needs. The company’s products are suitable for life science, spectroscopy, microscopy, optical, and laboratory research markets.
Incorporated in 1965, Analog Devices, Inc. designs, manufactures, tests, and markets integrated circuits (ICs), software, and subsystems that leverage analog, mixed-signal, and digital signal processing technologies. The company provides data converter products, power management and reference products for power conversion, driver monitoring, sequencing, and energy management applications in the automotive, communications, industrial, and high-end consumer markets. In addition, the company provides digital signal processing and system products for high-speed numeric calculations. It serves clients in the industrial, automotive, consumer, instrumentation, aerospace, and communications markets.
Physik Instrumente aka PI, founded 50 years ago, is a private company that creates and produces automation systems, including hexapods, air bearings, and piezo drives that are used in life-sciences, photonics, and aerospace industries and research institutes. Their products are manufactured in North America, Europe, and Asia. Physik Instrumente is ITAR registered. The company's head office is located in Auburn, America. And its manufacturing and other facilities are located in New England.
Dynamic Structures & Materials, Inc. is a precision motion products and services provider based in Franklin, Tennessee since 1998. The firm makes actuators, motors, drivers and other products. It also offers services in precision machining, LabVIEW Consulting, Testing, and more. The company is ISO 9001:201 certified, and specializes in electronics for custom high precision motion control systems and positioning applications. It worked on projects in several industries with commercial, government agencies, national laboratories, and academic institutions.
Newport is a division of MKS Instruments, Inc. that was incorporated in 1961 and headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts. The company is a manufacturing company that serves the specialty industrial, advanced electronics, and semiconductor industries. The company markets its products through Spectra-Physics, MKS Instruments, Richardson Grating, and other brands. Their product categories include motion, optomechanics, optics, and vacuum instruments. Product categories include lasers, MKS vacuum & gas solutions, laser diode controls, and tables & isolation systems.
Cedrat Technologies, based in Meylan, France, is a manufacturer of mechatronics in the machinery industry. Cedrat Technologies manufactures smart actuators, smart sensors, mechatronic systems, and detection systems. These products are applied for different multidisciplinary uses such as health monitoring, acoustics, eletric generation and transformation, vibration control and polymers among many others. Cedrat Technologies also provide customized solutions aside from their standard products. The company also provides technological training courses for engineers and technicians with modules revolving around mechanotrics.
Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc., established in 1959, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a manufacturer of semiconductors and electronic components. The company specializes in producing integrated circuits, discrete semiconductors, optoelectronic devices, which caters to industries such as telecommunications, automotive, and consumer electronics. The company holds ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 certifications, ensuring quality in their products which are used for various applications, including wireless communication, automotive systems, and industrial automation, providing crucial electronic components for advanced technologies in various industrial and commercial sectors.
Jiayuanda Technology Co., Ltd. has been a manufacturer of ultrasonic equipment since 2007 and is based in Shenzhen, China. The company designs ultrasonic fabric and welding machines which includes ultrasonic lace machine, ultrasonic laminating, soldering, sewing machines, etc. along with ultrasonic extraction devices which consist of a wide range of equipment for processes like cell crushing, emulsification, herb extraction, and more. They also provide various ultrasonic welding applications, transducers, generators, sieving systems, and cleaning machines which are used in medical, food, plastic, rubber, metal and other industries.
Matsusada Precision Inc is located in Shiga, Japan, and was established in 1978, known as the developer, manufacturer, and global supplier of power supply products and imaging products. The power supply products include high voltage amplifiers, AC, DC, and regenerative DC power supplies as well as optical sensors, which have their use in research centers, aerospace, analytical instruments, electronics, and almost all industries that use power to operate. The imaging products are associated with businesses that use X-ray inspection as a service such as life sciences and electronics Environmental improvement equipment is also supplied, but only in Japan.
Texas Instruments Incorporated was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Texas Instruments is a producer of high tech equipment for industrial, automotive, personal electronics, communications equipment industries. Texas Instruments designs, manufactures, and sells semiconductors to electronics designers and manufacturers in the United States and internationally. Texas Instruments operates in two segments: analog and embedded processing. The Analog segment offers power products, including battery-management solutions, DC/DC switching regulators, power switches, linear regulators, voltage references, and lighting products. The Embedded Processing segment offers microcontrollers that are used in fields such as electronic equipment and digital signal processors for mathematical computations.
SIGMAKOKI Co., Ltd. (SK) is a Japanese manufacturer and distributor of optical technology products founded in 1977. Headquartered in Tokyo, the company offers a wide range of optical equipment including optics and optical coatings, laser and optical application system components, objective lenses, and biomedical products such as core units for microscopy. It primarily serves research institutes, as well as clients in the aerospace, semiconductor, and medical device manufacturing sectors. SK products have various applications including in laser processing, R&D, spectroscopic measurement, and optical communication.
SK-Advanced Group, founded in 2003 and based in South Korea, is a propylene production and sales company. SK-Advanced Group provides customers with global components & solutions for the laser, Optomechanical, Optical, Electro-Optical, and light source fields. The company delivers propylene and sells HP steam and hydrogen to domestic and international customers via shipping and pipeline facilities. Its shareholders include SK Gas, PIC and Advanced. The customer list for SK-Advanced Group includes worldwide companies like Philips, Johnson & Johnson, Orbotec, Medtronic, Nova, and more.
PiezoDrive is a developer and manufacturer of piezoelectric actuators, motion control, sensing, and power electronics, incorporated in 2014 and headquartered in New South Wales, Australia. The company specializes in the design and construction of piezoelectric drives and systems. It offers linear amplifier modules, low-noise linear amplifiers, piezoelectric stack actuators, and high-precision ultrasonic actuators. It also provides custom piezoelectric drives and amplifiers to customers. The company has a worldwide network of distributors, including in the USA, China, Germany, India, and South Korea. It serves various industries, including industrial automation, precision manufacturing, medical, and automotive.
THK PRECISION CO., LTD., established in 2002 and based in Tokyo, Japan, is a manufacturer of positioning devices and force sensors, integral to nanoscale technology applications. Its product lineup includes Piezo Stage designed for positioning within a small range, offering high resolution (up to 1 nm) and swift response, Piezo Motor Stage enables nano-level positioning over considerable motion ranges with superior position reproducibility, Linear Motor Stage ensures stable, seamless positioning at variable speeds even with heavy loads, and Force Sensors for accurate measurement of varying loads. The company maintains ISO 9001 certification across its global production facilities.
Digi-Key Electronics, founded in 1972 and located in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA, is a distributor of automation products and electronic components. The company offers over 14.9 million electronic components from more than 2,300 manufacturers around the world. These include connectors, capacitors, integrated circuits, audio cable assemblies, micropoenes, and fiber optics equipment. The company also supports procurement professionals and design engineers through the design process, providing them with digital equipment, tools, and solutions needed to make their work easier.
Hikari, Inc., established in 1998 and based in Tokyo, Japan, is a manufacturer and distributor of optoelectronics components and measurement equipment. The company offers cutting-edge optical solutions catering to the industrial, telecommunications, and medical sectors. Its product line includes lasers, sensors, and optical components for R&D and OEM applications. Its expertise extends to 5G communications, medical imaging, and laser technology advancements. The company imports and distributes advanced optical equipment and components from Germany, the USA, and Switzerland.