Efficient, Integrated, Freeform Flexible Hydraulic Actuator Project Moves Toward Lower Energy Consumption

The fluid power research projects coming out of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) have continued to progress, and all ten of the newly funded projects were presented at the CCEFP Industry-University Summit in April 2017. The Efficient, Integrated, Freeform Flexible Hydraulic Actuator project was presented by Jonathon Slightam, a research assistant at Marquette University. The progress made on the project is in line with the original project goal to increase system control and power while decreasing weight.

Project Premise: This project is set to advance current hydraulic actuator technology by focusing on the use of flexible fluidic actuators and the additive manufacturing methods needed to produce them. It will differentiate itself from existing actuation technologies most prominently through the dramatic reduction in component and system weight that comes with producing this new actuation technology via advanced manufacturing methods, opening up many new applications to fluid power solutions.

Recent Progress and Next Steps: Test preparation, modeling, and the development and fabrication of the test stand have been completed. The actuator model has also shown success when using a pneumatic approach. Next steps for the project include:

  • Fabrication of prototypes using new design concepts for artificial muscles.
  • Testing the hydraulic artificial muscles for power density, specific force, and force density, as well as static and dynamic behavior.
  • Implementation of the hydraulic hand tool.

See the presentation slides from the summit below:

Watch for project updates as the project progresses.

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