Artificial Muscle Inc. has begun marketing standard electroactive polymer actuators that it says are lighter, smaller and less expensive than conventional electromagnetic motor-based linear actuators.
Charlie Duncheon, Artificial Muscle's acting CEO, says electroactive polymers work much like human muscles, expanding and contracting silently based on variable voltage input levels.
He notes that today's automobiles contain more than 100 actuators for use in door locks, seat positioners and myriad other applications, and he estimates that the number of actuators could more than double in the near future based on x-by-wire technology and the need for greater fuel efficiency.
The firm's Universal Muscle Actuator (UMA) products can eliminate traditional electromechanical parts and have the potential to replace conventional linear actuators, component positioners, valve actuators, diaphragm pumps, generators, motors, sensors and speakers. The UMA line includes eight models of single- and double-diaphragm configurations with and without an integrated power supply. A proportional valve and a fluid pump are also available.