Zaber designs and manufactures precision positioning devices and systems that are affordable, integrated, and easy to set-up and use. There are thousands of applications for their products across various markets, including photonics and optics, life sciences, microscopy, and industrial automation.

In 2001, Zaber released the world’s first precision linear actuator that had a built-in motor, controller, and driver – the T-LA28 Series linear actuator. Since introducing the T-LA, the company has released over 150 series of products, with options for built-in motors, controllers and encoders. Their products are distributed worldwide and they continue to advance their design and manufacturing capabilities which allow them to build, test and ship most of our products within 1-5 business days.

Zaber’s tagline is “Simplifying Motion Control”, which they try to apply to all customer interactions. The number one way that the company is simplifying motion control is that they sell an integrated solution. Integration is about adding value for customers by designing products that include multiple parts of the solution in a single instrument. For motion control products, this can mean combining the mechanics along with a motor, encoder, limit sensor, driver, and controller. Controlling the devices is often one of the most challenging and complex pieces of the puzzle, so Zaber also offers an intuitive and user-friendly command set, comprehensive APIs and examples for programming, and free software for basic control.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

ZABER: We serve a number of industries across the globe, including photonics and optics and lab automation, which often require high accuracy and precision. Much of our development activity revolves around designing products for those markets while maintaining a focus on automating sub-micron positioning to make it quick, easy, and affordable.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

ZABER: This year’s focus is on gantries and microscopes.

We recently released an online gantry configuration tool along with three new gantry systems. A Zaber gantry kit comes with everything you need to build a customized XY or XYZ gantry system. These gantry systems feature coordinated multi-axis motion, plug-and-play operation, easy integration with end-effector options, and built-in IO and E-Stop capabilities. For the DIY customer, you can design an XY or XYZ gantry stage with our gantry configurator, or customers can contact our Applications Engineering Team to help you select the most suitable multi-axis system for your project.

We have also released the MVR microscopes, which are motorized inverted microscopes that are designed to lower the barriers to automated microscopy. Combining Zaber’s precision motion control and world class optics, the MVR microscopes deliver unparalleled performance and value. The modular design allows easy swapping of key modules such as the episcopic and transmitted illuminators, camera and even the tube lens, should you need to switch optical systems.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

ZABER: Zaber has an extensive line of computer-controlled motorized linear stages, actuators, rotary stages, mirror mounts, goniometers, multi-axis systems, microscopes, and controllers, all aimed at automating positioning applications. Our products are meant to be affordable and easy to set-up. Most products come with options for a built-in controller and driver, motor (either stepper motor or linear motor) and encoder (motor/rotary encoder or linear encoder).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

ZABER: With the exception of life sciences and laboratory automation, a market that has done reasonably well during the Pandemic, most other markets look like they’ll be entering a recovery stage.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

ZABER: One trend in motion control we are seeing is toward digitalization. Simulation and digital twinning are hot topics now. Offering this kind of simulation in advance of a purchase helps lower the risk and cost of automation, as users are able to ensure that they are choosing the right system for what they need and that the APIs and command sets will integrate well with their infrastructure and existing software platforms. Zaber will be launching a virtual device feature in the near future that will allow this kind of simulation with our devices.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

ZABER: The most innovative products are those that reduce a customer’s need to be an expert in motion control. Between the customer and the positioning task, there are many intermediate decisions that they may face: software, controller, motor type, and mechanical specifications are just a few. The more of these that Zaber can simplify and integrate, the more we are supporting our customers to achieve their goals.

There are several ways that Zaber’s products are innovative when it comes to saving customers both time and money. For example, with our emphasis on integration, each component we build into the device is a decision or series of decisions that the customer doesn’t need to make, saving them time so they can instead focus on applying their expertise where it will add the most value to their project.

In addition, many of Zaber’s devices can share both data and power through a daisy-chain, which is the most efficient way to reduce cabling. For more details on daisy-chaining, read our technical article, “Daisy-chaining Data and Power to Reduce Cabling“.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

ZABER: The Pandemic has had a devastating impact. It’s still hard to imagine a Post-Pandemic world. As much as we miss seeing our customers and close contacts in-person at trade shows and business meetings, we, at Zaber, are all just hoping for better times ahead for everyone.