Assistive devices, such as bionic limbs, exoskeletons, rehabilitation and other service robots need ‘muscle-equivalent’ motion control.
This need crosses over into established sectors heavily dependent on mobile systems, such as aerospace, med-tech and agriculture.
WaveDrives new actuation technology, incorporated in the SILA linear actuators, has been developed to address these needs.
High band-width, slow but forceful motion with fast response times and back-drivability for safety - is key to developing the user-friendly, performance enhancing products needed by our ageing population and for human-centered manufacturing.
High efficiency across the full dynamic range is essential to reduce power requirements and deliver consistent performance, particularly for mobile applications.
Actuation and motion control systems are a critical component of many life-saving medical devices. Safety, reliability, accuracy, quiet operation and the ability to fit within constraints imposed by co-operating medical systems are pre-eminent concerns. Off-power back-drivability can only be achieved at high efficiency and will be an advantage for tele-haptic operations.
Quieter operation is vital for prosthetics, other wearable actuated devices and in medical, domestic and workplace scenarios.
For example, the requirements for an active knee prosthesis include quiet operation, high power to weight, fit within the leg envelope, free swing, energy harvesting, low maintenance/ high reliability and affordability.
Higher reliability and minimal maintenance is pre-requisite in safety critical, difficult and dangerous applications and key to acceptability in devices for human interaction.
Compared to hydraulic and pneumatic systems, electric actuators can be controlled more precisely, present significantly reduced environmental and workplace hazards, and minimal maintenance related downtime. The highly competitive global economy and pressure on more sustainable use of resources continue to drive demand for electric actuation offering even greater power density, efficiency, reliability and reductions in through-life cost.