The world of piezoelectrics is vast, there are a lot of manufacturers and product options available, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. To help you in your research, this article provides an overview of what makes our company unique and also offers a snapshot of our customer base that has benefited from our products and services.
In this Article
Our mission is to Partner with You to Engineer and Deliver High-Value Piezoelectric Solutions. This simple mission statement highlights several areas of focus for us moving forward.
Partnering with You
We recognize that every application and team is different, we can't force fit a handful of standard configurations for your use. We also know from experience that customization efforts work best when both parties are actively engaged and working together. This is why we built our website with an education focus first. We ultimately want our customers to understand piezoelectrics to succeed and find interesting applications to utilize the wonderful characteristics of piezo crystals - we're here to help in that journey!
Our highly technical team has many years of experience modeling and designing piezoelectric systems with an emphasis on function, not form and fit. We start designs by looking at the requirements and working towards the form and fit that meets those requirements of the customer. We have advanced analysis and modeling with FEA to confidently predict the performance of often complicated systems that piezo's electromechanical coupling introduces.
Not only are we an engineering and design firm, we also have many production capabilities and support a large number of OEM customers that require tens of thousands of units per year. Our production capabilities include bonding and laminating piezo sheets, but also include mechanical machining and assembly and electronics manufacturing.
High-Value Piezoelectric Solutions
There are many options for you in your design of a piezo-based system. Our focus is not on cheap, low quality, and very high quantity. Instead, we specialize in value-added designs that require an understanding of many systems (the piezo, supporting structure, electronic interface etc.) and not just the small sheet of piezo. Although we sell bare piezoelectric ceramic, our passion lies with applying this exciting material and designing that system.
Mission statements and values only go so far, most of you are engineers and you want to see objective measures! In addition to our team and know-how, we have two proprietary processes for laminating and protecting normally brittle piezoceramics.
- Bonding & Dicing - Ideal for prototyping, this process is utilized in the piezo product builder to bond piezo layers and then dice to size. This process bonds two piezo ceramics to a center shim (normally brass, but can also be stainless steel or carbon fiber). This bond results in very robust piezo multi-layer assembly that can be easily handled without easy cracking and breaking. Following bonding, we have a proprietary process for dicing the ceramic that enables quick customization while still not damaging the edges of the cut ceramic.
- Sealing / Lamination - The lamination process seals piezo ceramics within layers of flex circuits to provide electrical connection, mechanical mounting features, and hermetically sealing the ceramic from the environment. This results in an assembly that is also very easy to handle without damaging the normally brittle ceramic. For more on our lamination and its advantage, visit our advantage.
For over 30 years we have been in business designing and delivering piezo-based systems. We have produced hundreds of thousands of piezo packages and worked with over 2,000 companies. Our largest markets are industrial companies but also serve virtually every other market, from oil and gas to consumer electronics, to aerospace and defense. This broad range of customers spans between the largest companies in the world down to single-person consulting companies and everyone in between. Geographically, our sales are still dominated by the US which represents 70%; but we sell globally, and our international sales are continuing to grow.
Typical Application & User
The typical application is generally one of five over-arching areas:
- Energy Harvesting - Piezoelectric material convert mechanical energy into electrical and vice versa. This can be used to harvest vibration energy on the order of mW per piezo.
- Actuator for a Valve - Piezos offer proportional control so that valves can more finely regulate flow and do so with less power and a thinner form factor over solenoids.
- Unpowered Strain Sensor - Piezos are effective strain sensors without requiring any current or power. They can very finely provide positioning and strain feedback.
- Haptic Actuator - Using piezos for haptic communication is especially useful in applications where low-power, thin & light form factor, and/or non-magnetic capabilities are important.
- Air Flow - Piezos offer a much more reliable, thinner form factor and lower audible noise characteristics over traditional air flow systems such as rotary fans.
- Ultrasonics - Piezos can be used as ultrasonic actuators to agitate liquids for cleaning and testing as well as produce ultrasonic noise for positioning.
The typical customer is a mechanical or electrical engineer with limited experience directly with piezoelectrics. This is why we pride ourselves on providing helpful content to educate our visitors on how to design for piezoelectric systems. We also support about 1/3 of our customers who are very familiar with piezos but need us to make the prototypes and products they design.
Check out our community forum to get a sense of the different applications and types of users that utilize our products to meet their testing needs.