Powerful and unique

Ultra compact actuators from memetis

Sensors have already impressively demonstrated the possibilities of miniaturization in recent years. However, we face major challenges when it comes to miniaturizing movement. Previous technologies are reaching their physical limits. memetis is actively addressing these limits.

Principles of our actuation

Intelligent materials - the so-called shape memory alloys (SMA) - are used in our actuators. These are metallic alloys which, after deformation, seem to "remember" their original shape and restore it independently. With this shape memory effect, great forces are released and great distances are covered. We use these properties specifically to manufacture high-performance actuators with unsurpassed working density in a compact format.

Press comment / "Crocodile" with shape memory
"Crocodile" with shape memory

In order to slim down the couplings on the latest model of the "crocodile", Märklin has left the tracks: Instead of an electromagnetic drive taking over the coupling of the cult locomotive, an actuator made of a shape memory alloy in 2D geometry is used. Memetis has taken over the structuring of the foil according to specifications such as force and position. [...] "On the basis of the shape memory effect, thermally active actuators with unsurpassed power density can be manufactured," explains Dr. Marcel Gültig, co-founder and chief technician of memetis. [More]

Industrie Anzeiger, February 26th, 2018

SMA actuators open up new fields of application

Continuing major challenges for further miniaturization in limited quantities show the limits of conventional actuator technologies. Various challenges can currently be observed in the field of MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems): Adaptability to new applications, continuous miniaturization and an increased degree of "intelligence" (i.e. complexity, range of functions). These challenges are completely addressed by memetis SMA miniature actuators and clearly distinguish the memetis offer from the competition.

Specific advantages of memetis actuators

The specific advantages of film-based SMA actuators are a simple, highly adaptable design, a robust operating principle (electrical resistance heating), silent operation and very high working densities compared to other actuator technologies. Shape memory alloys also offer advantages in terms of biocompatibility. By using foils instead of wires, the additional advantages are a large surface-to-volume ratio (short switching times independent of actuator force) and the feasibility of complex structures (combination of several or multi-dimensional actuators in a single component). As a result of current research, fatigue-free materials with significantly increased operating times (> 100 million switching cycles) are now available.

Smart Materials such as SMA allow targeted and intelligent actuators in corresponding systems by means of corresponding control electronics and software. This means that the actuators can be networked to a greater extent, and this is the aim.

Implementation of customer-specific applications

With memetis actuators, our customers receive a completely new type of actuation for integration into their own product range. This actuation usually brings various advantages, which, however, depend strongly on the context of the intended application. memetis offers its customers an actuation which is characterized by clear strengths.

  • Flat design and reduced dimensions
  • Large forces and displacement
  • Flexible actuator designs for complex motion
  • Silent actuation
  • Long lifetime
Linear actuator
Several millimetres displacement for in-plane movement.
Spiral actuator
Large forces for out-of-plane movements.
Bending actuator
Realisation of plane lifting movements.
Antagonistic linear actuator
Antagonistic movement for different switching positions.

Properties at a glance

Specific actuator properties for clear differentiation
01 /
Increased switching speed

Thanks to extremely thin foils, foil-based SMA miniature actuators from memetis clearly demonstrate the advantages of a large surface-to-volume ratio and achieve very short switching times.

02 /
Customizable design

The simple setup of memetis SMA miniature actuators enables simple and very stable designs that can be adapted to specific market and customer requirements. Complex structures, such as multidimensional actuators, are also part of memetis' range of services.

03 /
High power density

memetis foil-based SMA miniature actuators work with large forces in a small space - even the smallest actuators thus achieve performance characteristics of conventional actuators whose dimensions are larger by a factor of 2-5.

04 /
Competitive production

The novel memetis process and selected materials allow the production of competitive SMA miniature actuators. memetis actuators operate efficiently and reliably and thus help to save costs.

05 /
Biocompatible & low fatigue

The materials used by memetis are biocompatible and thus also suitable for use in medical technology or biotechnology. For particularly high requirements, fatigue-free materials with significantly increased operating times (over 10 million switching cycles) can be used.

06 /
Silent operation

Shape memory alloys (SMA) as used for memetis actuators enable silent operation. This enables application fields with increased noise sensitivity.

Wide range of applications

Nowadays, different types of actuation, i.e. autonomous movement through technical components, are to be implemented in a multitude of applications. But the mere implementation of motion does not meet the demands of today's industries. Movement must be implemented in the smallest possible space with the greatest possible force and distance. The application possibilities are far from exhausted.

Use cases and applications

Application-specific actuators based on technology platform

memetis actuators' fields of application are diverse.
The aim is to convey as concrete a picture of the possibilities as possible.
Let us discuss applications in your industry.

01 /
Shape memory actuator for Märklin Telex coupling
Linear actuation
  • Coupling closed - martensite (low temperature phase)

    The actuator (blue) is not heated and is fully deflected by the force of a return spring. The coupling is closed.

  • Coupling closed - martensite (low temperature phase)

    The actuator (blue) is not heated and is fully deflected by the force of a return spring. The coupling is closed.

  • Coupling closed - martensite (low temperature phase)

    The actuator (blue) is not heated and is fully deflected by the force of a return spring. The coupling is closed.

  • Coupling opens - Phase transformation

    The actuator is now increasingly heated. The alloy transforms into its memory form and builds up a counterforce to the return spring.

  • Coupling opens - Phase transformation

    The actuator is now increasingly heated. The alloy transforms into its memory form and builds up a counterforce to the return spring.

  • Coupling opens - Phase transformation

    The actuator is now increasingly heated. The alloy transforms into its memory form and builds up a counterforce to the return spring.

  • Coupling open - austenite (high temperature phase)

    Actuator (red) is now sufficiently heated and realizes sufficient power to fully open the coupling. A smooth coupling is now possible.

  • Coupling open - austenite (high temperature phase)

    Actuator (red) is now sufficiently heated and realizes sufficient power to fully open the coupling. A smooth coupling is now possible.

  • Coupling open - austenite (high temperature phase)

    Actuator (red) is now sufficiently heated and realizes sufficient power to fully open the coupling. A smooth coupling is now possible.

  • Coupling open - austenite (high temperature phase)

    Actuator (red) is now sufficiently heated and realizes sufficient power to fully open the coupling. A smooth coupling is now possible.

The long-established German company Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH is known worldwide for its model railways and is market leader in the European model railway industry. memetis supports this with its ultra-compact linear actuators for "even more authentic movement in the smallest space".

Initial situation

As the European market leader in the model railway industry, Märklin also pursues the goal of innovation leadership in relevant markets. The aim is to continuously increase the functionality of the detailed Märklin models while keeping an eye on authenticity. This enables an even better customer experience and a strong positioning in the market.

Challenge

The attractiveness of the Märklin models can be enhanced by additional physical functions, such as those offered by the new telex coupling. In most cases, only very limited installation space is available, which additionally competes with the complex model electronics or other drives. This requires an actuator solution that allows controllable movement with relatively large travel and forces at minimum dimensions.

Solution

memetis manufactures a linear actuator that meets the requirements of Märklin: Large forces and travel ranges with the smallest possible dimensions. In addition, more realistic movement and slim design are guaranteed.

Client comment / Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH

"We build the best model locomotives in large series and convey the prestige of the brand through value - this also means that we [...] shift the boundaries of miniaturization to achieve a higher degree of miniaturization. [...] This category also includes the slimming down of the telex coupling by a miniature actuator."

Wolfrad Bächle, Co-Managing Director of Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH

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