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Large Motion Systems

DSM has experience designing and installing large motion systems. While much of what we do can not be shared, one great example we can share is shown below.

Contact us today to discuss your application.


Vertical Motion Simulator

The Vertical Linear Accelerator (VLA) was developed for the Naval Medical Research Laboratory to meet two main clinical needs:

  1. to identify and transition suitable future visual-vestibular testing devices
  2. to identify and transition airsickness tests and desensitization protocols

The VLA motion simulation system travels 12 feet (3.66m) total and hasthe capability to reach 1 G (2G total force with gravity) acceleration and a maximum velocity of 14 ft/s. In order to maximize the value of the device to the Naval Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL) and the greater research community, the goal of the machine development is to make the device as smooth and as quiet as possible.  This is accomplished in part by the use of brushless linear motors and air bearings as the primary mover and guidance components.  The VLA will include an integrated dynamic visual acuity (DVA) tester and capability to run arbitrary waveforms.  Also included is the use of a triple redundant safety scheme utilizing long travel impact bumpers, rail brakes and regenerative dynamic braking.

Final Design Features:

  • 12ft. displacement
  • 2Hz frequency response
  • 1G peak acceleration
  • 182kg payload
  • ± 3mm position error
  • Arbitrary waveform capability
  • Triple redundant safety scheme.
  • Very smooth, accurate, quiet motion
  • Brushless linear motors and air bearings used to drive and constrain the platform
  • Integration of control cabinet with drivers, dynamic braking, and supplemental I/O

Abnormal visual-vestibular responses among aviation personnel may predispose them to spatial disorientation, loss of dynamic visual acuity, or airsickness.  Past pilot referrals to the NAMRL from the Naval Aerospace and Naval Operational Medicine Institutes (NAMI/NOMI) have revealed that certain pilots may be predisposed to experiencing spatial disorientation, but whose deficiencies were only detected via specialized experimental acceleration equipment and tests.

View more information on aeromedical simulators here.

Air Bearing Motion Platforms

Precision air bearing motion platform
Air Bearing Motion Platform

Dynamic Structures and Materials offers custom air bearing stage design and integration for a wide array of rotary and linear applications.   DSM is experienced at both stage design and integration of air bearings with drive components to meet the most demanding levels of precision.   The pictured system is a combination of a linear and rotary stage using air bearings in both axes.   DSM's experience with air bearings also includes dovetail slides for high-load linear motion and air bushings for linear scanning stages.

Air bearings are an excellent solution for applications requiring high levels of precision and performance.   Air bearings exhibit frictionless motion and high resolution position control.   They do not suffer from wear, have high stiffness, can achieve high speeds and have better damping characteristics than rolling element bearings.   Their form of motion is very accurate with low synchronous and asynchronous error.


  • Sub-micron positioning capability
  • Micron and sub-micron accuracy forms of motion
  • Excellent damping characteristics
  • High speeds are attainable
  • Zero bearing noise
  • Zero static friction and minimal wear

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