In this systematic survey, an overview of non-conventional actuators particularly used in soft-robotics is presented. The review is performed by using well-defined performance criteria with a direction to identify the exemplary and potential applications. In addition to this, initial guidelines to compare the performance and applicability of these novel actuators are provided. The meta-analysis is restricted to five main types of actuators: shape memory alloys (SMAs), fluidic elastomer actuators (FEAs), shape morphing polymers (SMPs), dielectric electro-activated polymers (DEAPs), and magnetic/electro-magnetic actuators (E/MAs). In exploring and comparing the capabilities of these actuators, the focus was on eight different aspects: compliance, topology-geometry, scalability-complexity, energy efficiency, operation range, modality, controllability, and technological readiness level (TRL). The overview presented here provides a state-of-the-art summary of the advancements and can help researchers to select the most convenient soft actuators using the comprehensive comparison of the suggested quantitative and qualitative criteria.
Magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMA) are a promising material for actuation purposes as they provide relatively large strains and relatively high operation frequencies. In this paper three concepts of such actuators are introduced. The first part will describe a so called spring actuator, where the MSM element is working against a restore pre‐stress spring. The second concept uses two MSM elements working antagonistically to substitute the pre‐stress spring. A small sized actuator for valve or switching applications is shown in the third concept. Advantages and disadvantages are highlighted and show the potential of the comparatively new active material.
This paper presents a concept for a micro‐assembly station and shows different possibilities for increasing the positioning accuracy. The main part of the station consists of a spatial parallel structure with three translational degrees of freedom. An additional rotational axis is integrated into the working platform. This structure is constructed with low friction joints, which are nearly free of backlash. The construction of these high precision joints is presented and the characteristics of the robot such as workspace and resolution are discussed. After this an approach for increasing the accuracy of parallel robots by integrating flexure hinges into the structure is described.
One potential use of ferroelectrics is as active material in electrocaloric cooling systems. These systems promise a more energy efficient cooling process than vapor compression, thermoelectric or other current cooling systems. Currently different design types of electrocaloric cooling devices are in the focus of research. In this paper, we present an electrocaloric cooling device demonstrator working as “Active Electrocaloric Regenerator” (AER) and employing relaxor ferroelectric elements as active material. The device design is such that it allows the integration of different material systems and regenerator designs as well as a broad variation of operational parameters
The rising number of lithium ion batteries from electric vehicles makes an economically advantageous and technically mature disassembly system for the end-of-life batteries inevitable. The disassembly system needs to cope with the size, the design and the remaining state of charge of the respective battery system. The complex design resulting from the number and type of connection elements challenges an automated disassembly. The realisation of an automated disassembly presupposes the consideration of elements from Design for Disassembly throughout the battery system development. In this paper a scenario-based development of disassembly systems is presented with varying possible design aspects as well as different amounts of end of life battery systems. These scenarios point out the resulting implications on battery disassembly systems in short, medium and long term. Using a morphological box the best option for each disassembly scenario is identified and framed in a disassembly system design. The disassembly systems are explained and the core elements are introduced. Newly developed and innovative disassembly tools, such as a robot that allows a hybrid human-robot-working-space and an advanced battery cell gripper are introduced. The gripper system for the battery cells enables with an integrated sensor an instant monitoring of the battery cell condition. The proposed disassembly element is verified in an experimental test series with automotive pouch cell batteries.
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