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Advantages of Piezoelectric Actuators

June 5, 2019
comparison of actuator characteristicsby Mamiya
Comparison of actuator characteristics (Mamiya, 2006, P. 83)

Piezoelectric actuators are used in a variety of precision motion control applications. Two examples are industrial automation and high-frequency switches. Piezo device versatility and advantages create opportunities for replacement of conventional electromagnetic solenoid and electric motor actuators.

Electromagnetic actuators may have greater total displacement, yet Mamiya (2006) points out, piezo actuators are “advantageous from other aspects, including that of [their] displacement accuracy” (p. 83). Other piezo advantages are “generated force and response speed and energy efficiency as well as from the aspect of ease of proportional control and absence of electromagnetic noise” (p. 83).

Smooth, backlash-free motion over a range of microns to millimeters

With a direct drive design, DSM’s piezoelectric actuators provide motion without backlash. Displacements of 25 μm to 10,000 μm are available with DSM’s mechanically amplified actuators. Piezo actuators are capable of precise motion on the nanometer level. More information is available in this article.

High force per unit area

Piezo actuator force and stroke scale linearly with size. Typical blocking pressure levels are 34 to 48 MPa (5,000 to 7,000 psi) for DSM’s actuators.

Easily optimized for specialized applications

Piezo actuators can be optimized for specialized applications including cryogenic, non-magnetic, high stiffness, and ultra-high vacuum. Piezo actuators are favorable choices for these applications because of the characteristics listed below.

  • Actuators consist of material compatible with cryogenic environments
  • Piezoelectric effects do not interfere with magnetic fields
  • DSM’s flexure-based designs require no lubrication which minimizes outgassing
  • Low or zero power hold capability


Mamiya, Yoichi. (2006). Applications of Piezoelectric Actuator. NEC Technical Journal, 1(5), 82-86. Retrieved from https://www.nec.com/en/global/techrep/journal/year/index.html.

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