Parker’s piezoceramic amplifier innovation to deliver more useful force
Parker Hannifin has developed a patented technology for amplifying the movement of a piezoceramic stack actuator. The invention delivers useful values of force versus stroke with proportional control, by incorporating mechanisms for thermal compensation to maintain consistent performance in varying conditions.
“We have a framework built around a ceramic stack, which ends up giving you a long ‘lever,’ that generates quite useful strokes,” explained Nic Copley, vice-president of technology and innovation in the Automation Group.
The resultant actuators can be configured in many geometries and sizes and can be applied to all manner of control products ranging from precision liquid and gas pumps to digital and proportional gas and air control valves, pressure controllers and transducers. “Applications are targeted at microfluidics where you want to control, very precisely, the fluid you want to deliver,” he said. “We’ve also seen success in medical applications.” He says the products are characterized by low power, proportionality, thermal stability, fast response, high life, reliability, low mechanical and electrical noise. It’s still in development.