We’ve written before about the fluid power research projects coming out of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP). Ten research projects have recently been selected for funding. One such project is the Hybrid MEMS Proportional Fluid Control Valve project, led by Prof. Tom Chase at the University of Minnesota and presented on the August 3, 2016 CCEFP Webcast.
MEMS scale piezoelectric materials to create ultra-efficient miniature proportional pneumatic valves have been studied by CCEFP researchers for a number of years now, but the manufacturing challenges to overcome have proven to be quite daunting. The purpose of this project is to accelerate the commercialization potential of this innovative approach by leveraging both MEMS-based and conventional elements in a novel “hybrid” configuration. By doing so, the resulting valve stands to not only decrease the power required to drive comparable pneumatic valves by three orders of magnitude, but also create the fastest responding pneumatic valves known.
Watch for project updates as the project progresses.