Actuators for the World's Most Extreme Environments
Actuators are the components that make machines move. Actuation Lab invented the Callimorph actuator to meet the needs of the industries who operate in the world's most extreme environments. This new family of actuator is designed to be the most resilient, powerful and lightweight technology available.
Hydraulic and pneumatic pistons are used to move machines and mechanisms in every industry, worldwide. However, because their design has remained fundamentally unchanged for centuries, they have a number of fundamental flaws. They contain wear components that must be serviced and nobody has yet found a way of reliably manufacturing them from anything other than metal. So despite their widespread use, pistons are an expensive-to-maintain technology that is heavy and vulnerable in corrosive environments.
Talk some stuff about lightweightness.
Talk some stuff about corrosion resistance.
Talk some stuff about being servicing free.
Simon is a Mechanical Engineer from Bristol University. He completed his PhD on creating structural parts from low-cost 3D printing in 2017. Simon also co-founded and runs a successful digital manufacturing consultancy, Clifton Digital Manufacturing.
Michael is an Australian mechanical engineer, with 6 years experience working in plant automation for manufacturing and mining firms. He moved to the UK in 2012 to do a composite materials PhD at the University of Bristol, here he researched novel actuating systems. He currently holds a Leverhulme Trust early career fellowship where he explores the energetics of artificial muscles.
Tom is a Physics graduate, who completed his PhD on the development of novel additive manufacturing technologies in 2018. Tom now holds an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship at the University of Bristol. Tom specialises in the development of bespoke toolpaths for optimal actuator performance.
Piston technology is out of the Ark! We can’t go on with this tech forever. If you could be classed as maintenance free than that is a great sales pitch for industry.
The excessive weight and size of current actuators is a pertinent issue in the industry. Lightweight Aluminium actuators come with an associated spark risk and therefore cannot be used in Oil & Gas installations.
We see value in employing composites in our valve actuator range to provide lightweight corrosion resistant solutions. I certainly see how Actuation Lab’s technology could be applied to produce an improved valve actuator.
Marine growth and corrosion are the problems in offshore hydraulics. Stick a cylinder underwater and after 12 months it won’t look like a cylinder. Even the best coatings don’t last.
The real problem is that dirt and sea-life builds up on subsea actuators and the seals lock on and degrade. Nobody has really found a solution yet.