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Actuators for the World's Most Extreme Environments

Actuation Lab

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.

Innovation Summary

Actuation Lab will enable industries who operate in harsh environments to drastically reduce their servicing and handling costs by employing the Callimorph® actuator in place of their traditional pistons. The Callimorph® is a single-part actuator which creates movement by morphing when fluid pressure is applied. Our actuator is designed to produce the same output as traditional fluid powered actuators, but with none of the associated servicing requirements and with a great reduction in weight.


By making use of an entirely composite construction, our actuators are extremely lightweight. A typical 230kg actuator can be replaced with a 40kg Callimorph®.


The removal of all metal construction prevents any corrosion occuring on the Callimorph® actuator.


By removing all sliding surfaces and seals, the Callimorph® negates the paths to failure observed in traditional piston actuators.

The Team

Actuation Lab was founded by three Engineers who spent 7 years working together at the University of Bristol developing high-performance composite structures. Actuation Lab’s growth is being supported by a committee of industry experts and Bristol’s SETsquared and QTEC business accelerators.

Dr Simon Bates - CEO

Simon worked extensively with the other core project team members to manufacture Callimorph® prototypes. He lead the customer discovery during the InnovateUK ICURe programme, allowing the development of a robust business strategy for Actuation Lab. He has spent the last 18 months learning lessons from a wide network of entrepreneurs and business leaders, to prepare himself to lead Actuation Lab as CEO.

Dr Michael Dicker - CTO

Michael has over 6 years’ experience in plant automation and process control for manufacturing and mining operations. Originally from Australia, he moved to the UK to complete a PhD exploring novel actuation systems. Michael holds a Levehulme fellowship at the University of Bristol and is the inventor of the Callimorph® actuator.

Dr Tom Llewellyn-Jones - Head of Manufacturing

Tom spent the last 7 years developing novel manufacturing techniques in advanced 3D-printing and composite structures. He also holds a PhD in Advanced Composite Materials. Tom also has hands on experience of sensing technologies, which will allow Actuation Lab to rapidly develop robust actuator sensing and control methods.

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