Hexapod Control, Hexapod Simulation Software for Stewart Platforms
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Hexapod Controller

Control of 6 Axis Parallel Kinematics Positioners (Hexapod Control)
All PI 6-Axis Hexapod Stewart Platforms positioning systems come with high-performance digital motion controllers and software. Simulation tools to verify workspace and loads on individual legs dependent on mounting orientation is also included.

Two more motion axes are also available, for example to run actuators, rotation stages or other linear positioners.

Randomized Pivot Point
PI's Hexapod controllers allow the user to control the pivot point by software with one simple command. That point can be anywhere inside or outside the space of the hexapod positioner. The cartesian coordinates of any position and any orientation can be entered directly and the vectorized motion controller makes sure the specified target will be reached travelling along a smooth path.

State-of-the-Art Interfaces for Hexapod Controllers
  • TCP/IP Ethernet Industry standard (Allows remote access via the internet)
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor
  • Manual Control Pad
  • RS-232 (25m short connection)
  • RS-422 (optional, for up to 1.4 km long distance)
  • Analog Input (optional)
  • Optical Input (optional)
  • GPIB with measurement equipment (optional)

Hexaopd Simulation Software

Software Components / External Control

  • Windows and Linux Library files / DLLs
  • LabView VI’s full set
  • PIMikroMove™ program integration
  • Additional scan routines
  • Additional auto alignment routines (e.g. photonics alingment & test equipment)
  • Worldwide remote control via ethernet
  • Flight Simulator Interface with Demo Software

Command Set / Operating Systems / Libraries
The native command set comprises about 40 commands and is is compatible to PI's General Command Set and includes extremely fast scan and align routines for different alignment tasks. All Hexapod controllers come with a complete software package for Windows and Linux operating systems. Alternatively, they can be run in stand-alone mode by means of an external keyboard and monitor

Custom software can communicate by ASCII strings, or, more conveniently, through included library files (Windows DLLs, Linux libraries) or LabVIEW drivers. Most controllers can be upgraded with optical boards for alignment of IR and Visible light sources.

PIMikroMove™ Software

  • See and control all connected controllers and mechanical axes in one window
  • HostMacros: create command sequences for connected controllers and run them on the host PC, can be called recursivly
  • Position Pad: control 2 axes with mouse and joystick
  • 3D visualisation of connected hexapod geometry
  • Analog input visualisation


  • Allows controlling one or more PI Hexapod controllers connected to a host PC
  • Is available for the following operating systems:
  • Windows 2000, XP and Vista
  • Linux operating systems
  • Sample program with open source code
  • Supports all functions available in firmware
  • Very convenient for programming in C, C++, VB, C#…

LabVIEW Drivers

  • Including GUI programs such as terminal applications, configuration software, full scanning routines with graphical representation etc.
  • Online help window for each VI
  • Compatible with PI's General Command LabVIEW Driver Set

Tripod Parallel Positioner
Graphical representation of a tripod positioner and its work space.

 More Information on PI Software Tools

Hexapod Controller
6 Axis Hexapod Controller
Two standard hexapod controller versions are available: Compact controller and 19” rack, 2 additional Motor Axis (e.g. for linear actuators), 6 additional slots for options. Monitor and keypad on request.

Control / Software
Hexapod Software
PI Hexapods come with ample software support, including a software simulation tool to verify workspace and loads on individual struts dependent on mounting orientation.

Hexapod Control Software
Included software allows easy scan and automated alignment of fiber optics components, etc.

Hexapod 6D Control Software
Hexapod control and 3D visualisation of connected hexapod geometry with included PIMikroMove™ Software.

Hexapod Simulation Software
Simulation software allows the graphical off-line configuration and simulation of the hexapod in the customer environment. It offers full functionality for creation, modeling, simulation, rendering and playback of hexapod configurations to predict and avoid interference with possible obstacles in the work space.

User Defined Pivot Point
PI Hexapod controllers allow the user to set a pivot point anywhere in space. It is important to have a fixed pivot point as the center of rotation especially in photonics alignment & packaging applications. Furthermore, the cartesian coordinates of any position and any orientation can be entered directly and the specified target will be reached after travel along a smooth path.
Hexapod Coordinate System Controller Hexapod Asis
Hexapod Coordinates  Platform in INI position (XYZ axes
shown displaced to reduce clutter)

 Platform at a position (x, y, z) and
U=1-; U axis is always parallel to X.
Hexapod Axis 2 Hexapod Axis 6
 Platform at INI position

 Platform position of (x, y, z), U=10
and V=10; note direction of the V
axis, always parallel to plane of
 Platform in INI position

 Platform position (x, y, z). U=10
V=-10and W=10; note direction of
the W axis, always normal to platform.

Hexapod Options & Accessories

Optical Metrology Boards / Power Meters
The controllers for the F-206, M-840 and M-850 Hexapod systems can be equipped/retrofitted with the following photometer cards: F-206.VVU (2-channel, visual) and F-206.iiU (2-channel, IR).

PIMotion&Vision™—Integration of Vision System and Motion Control
PIMotion&Vision™ offers an integrated solution for difficult tasks such as automated positioning of optics, semi-conductor wafers, microsystems technology MEMS fabrication or alignment and scanning of samples under a microscope. The advantage is one consistent software interface for both motion and vision, based on National Instruments LabVIEW + IMAQ Vision, offering a general coordinate system and flexible modules like AutoFocus, FindCorner, AlignEdges for easy handling of a complex system.

Interactive 6-Axis Manual Control Pad Upgrade
The F-206.MC6 manual control pad facilitates system setup and testing procedures. It consists of a board that plugs into the Hexapod controller and a control pad with six digital "potentiometer" knobs (one for each degree of freedom).

The manual pad works seamlessly with the Hexapod software, and allows programmable step sizes of 0.1 µm to 500 µm (linear) and 0.0001 to 0.5deg (angular) per step. Computer commanded steps can be intermixed with manual positioning input maintaining the true position inside the position registers of the Hexapod controller. The control pad comes with a 3 m cable. A 3 m extension cable is available as part number C-815.MC6.

F-206.NCU Rapid NanoAlign Upgrade
For applications where alignment with nanometer-range resolution is required, or where rapid mapping of the entire cross-section of a component in as short a time as possible is desired, the F-206.NCU Rapid NanoAlign upgrade is recommended. It consists of the P-611.3SF XYZ piezo-drive NanoCube® and the E-760 controller board which is installed in the F-206 controller.

Hexapod Manual Controller
The F-206.MCU manual control pad facilitates system setup and
testing procedures. It permits independent motion in all degrees
of freedom with programmable step size.

Hexapod Platform Magnetic Option
F-206.NCU Rapid NanoAlign Upgrade consists of the P-611
NanoCube® piezo nanopositioner and the E-760 controller card.

Optical Power Meter for Hexapod

Most controllers can be upgraded with optical boards for alignment of IR and Visible light sources.
Optical Power Meter for Hexapod

Optical Power Meter for Hexapod

Optical Power Meter. High-Speed
Integrating Sphere Optical Power Meter

Custom Hexapod Controllers
In addition to the standard hexapod controllers / software packages, PI has also designed a number of controllers for customer specific applications.

Hexapod Controller Hexapod Controller Hexapod Controller
For NEXLINE®- Non-Magnetic Piezo Motor Hexapod Ultra-High Vacuum Hexapod Controller, real time operating system, 20MB trace memory 100Mb/s Ethernet Custom Compact Hexapod Controller (DC Servo), Case: 10.5x3.5x10”

High Load Hexapod Controller Controller for Ultra-High Load Hexapod (1 ton+), AC- motor driver support, brake support, incremental sensor and absolute incremental sensor on second interface Hexapod-Controller
High-Altitude Hexapod Controller, requires no fan, compact flash operating system, rack mounting flanges

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