Systems based on SMA and shape memory components

Are you looking for more than semi-finished products or components? When taking components within a system into account, looking at the various interactions between the parts becomes crucial. We are happy to take on this tedious work on your behalf: Using entire systems and ready-made actuators based on SMA, forget about dealing with countless details and interactions. We will simply provide you with a functional system.

These systems in part are produced for you in tandem with our project partners: Therefore, a wide range of SMA-based actuator systems now lie at your choice. These in particular are

  • adjusting systems,
  • clamping systems, or also
  • damping systems.

What all systems have in common is that all that is required from you is defining your desired function. This way, you don't need to worry about how the task itself is specifically implemented from the perspective of alloy and component design. We’ll take on this task for you.

 What is installed in the systems

From other sections you may have seen the plethora of components with ever more flexible options regarding actuator systems. In the case of the actuator system, the suitable component is chosen for you, based on the functions and application areas that you may have already seen in the previous sections. As described, besides standard alloys it is also possible to implement your customer-specific requirements. This way, actuator systems are available in a temperature range between -20°C to over 350°C [-4°F to 663°F], being the activation temperature of the actuator. These are briefly summarised below.

Wires with actuator properties

Wire material which can be used in your system covers all the alloys offered. From binary NiTi alloys to wires optimised against fatigue or high-strength ternary and quaternary alloys – each with their different properties.

Sheet and strip metal with actuator properties

SMA sheet elements are used in your system primarily as compact bending actuators. Systems with SMA sheet actuators are suitable for the purpose of providing high actuating forces where moderate actuating paths are required within small installation spaces. These systems are uniquely produced on a customer-specific basis from standard or special alloys. They are designed specifically for carrying out your required task within your specific application, taking working loads and functional behaviour into account.

Springs with actuator properties

Actuator springs are suitable for the use in a wide variety of systems. Particularly noteworthy are those systems in which high actuating paths are required with moderate forces but at the same time are confined to small space. Here also will you receive systems which work with customer-specific actuator springs, consisting of standard or specially tailored alloys. These systems also operate according to your pre-defined load and function, in order to carry out exactly the task which your system is designated to perform.

 Advantages of systems with low levels of contamination / high levels of chemical purity

In addition to the aforementioned aspects, all alloys from Ingpuls exhibit a particularly high purity. This aspect plays a great role for improving the properties of your system. This implies that at Ingpuls, you will receive systems based on shape memory alloys which are significantly superior to those based on the standard material usually offered on the market – in particular with regard to the actuator properties and the service life of your system.

Control of the actuator systems based on SMA

In some actuator systems, the SMA actuator elements contained within may be activated by resistance heating. In order to control this process, our base module EMS can be employed as an electronic management system. Depending on the requirements of your respective application, it is adapted both regarding hardware and software. Adjustments may concern the architecture of the board or the interfaces of the electronics, if necessary. This allows you to integrate the EMS seamlessly into superordinate systems and assemblies. The system further ensures that the power is supplied as required, guaranteeing that the actuator system is only used up to its maximum temperature. This dramatically increases the achievable lifespan of your system.

The electronic management system (EMS) is used in order to enable a comfortable and safe use of your SMA-based system. But the EMS ensures not only protection from overheating: The EMS provides the control, regulation and integrated system diagnosis of your actuator system. So the EMS ensures not merely an adaptive and demand-based power supply: The EMS allows you to perform position control of the actuating systems, with the option of digital, discrete or continuous control. In addition, the EMS module greatly reduces your effort for integration your system into your overall technical solution.

 What you can achieve with an SMA-based actuating system

Using an SMA-based actuating system which utilises the EMS, you are able to move to discrete positions or switch continuously. This implies that you can not only implement on/off inputs but also can achieve any desired position. Thereby, various sensor functions are covered.

What is important for you now: By correctly defining the system’s boundaries your requirements are implemented within a “system” blackbox. This implies that you don’t need to deal with the exact details of the SMA system but instead can focus solely on its required function.

 Why and how you can find get in touch with SMA systems

The experience from the history of the queries to our company shows us: It is only once you have built a basic understanding of SMA that your ideas about your possibilities with SMA systems begin to form. Therefore, more and more customers tend to purchase complete systems based on SMA. These perform the task you defined without you having to understand any aspect of the design and the components used.

For understanding the basics, you don't have to deal with the pinnacle of SMA systems’ development. For your first step – and for understanding the technology – you might be interested in using our introductory set for SMA technology. It contains 10 different SMA components. This allows you to collect first practical experiences in handling SMA. The introductory set contains wires, springs, sheet strips and moulded parts made from superelastic NiTi (Af<20°) and actuator material (As>50°C). You will get to know the various features of the shape memory effect as well its different functional principles through playful interaction. This will enhance the maturity of your enquiry and will open your eyes to an entirely new world of possibilities.

If you are able to understand the basic properties of components based on SMA, you will also be prone to discovering the complexity which is hidden in any system based on SMA. You will understand that already during the design of components it is necessary to take a large number of interactions into account. A system then quickly reaches a multidimensional level of complexity. Therefore, customers who purchase SMA based systems at Ingpuls by and large prefer to leave the development of the systems entirely up to us. Applying such an SMA based system, all you do is purchasing the solution to your problem, including electronic control and regulation parameters, without having to define every single step yourself. It is somewhat like buying an iPhone: You don't have to deal with semiconductor technology only to make sure you will be able to make calls later.

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 Installation of your system and further scope of performance

Usually you may be approaching us because you are searching for a solution to a task or wish to significantly improve your existing solution. As you have already noted from the previous paragraphs, at Ingpuls you will benefit from being provided with a real solution by addresses your individual requirements. So not only do can you receive individual alloys, components or systems: You will receive the pre-assembled modules of your systems, or even your entire and readily assembled actuator system at your doorstep.

Your benefit is the ability to purchase complete and ready-to-use systems based on SMA. These will meet your requirements for your desired installation space and achieve your required actuating forces and paths, while they can be controlled and regulated within the architecture of your system. And this is exactly the reason why you won’t be able to find a standard catalogue for our SMA systems.

Your added value apart from the SMA technical advantages

At Ingpuls, you can avail from a large number of options to implement your customer-specific actuator system based on SMA. Your added value then is that you can focus on your required specification of your system’s functions. At the same time you will automatically benefit from our deep understanding of shape memory alloys, making it possible to provide you with tailor-made solutions: Frome the wholistic control of the SMA value and process chain through to the installation of SMA-based systems. This way, your SMA components will actually perform the task which you previously defined in your requirements. This – among many others – allows you to save costs, weight, noise emissions, complexity etc.

Letting us know about your requirements for your SMA system

Especially for systems based on SMA, it is necessary to comprehensively understand the requirements. Even when you may think that the role of Ingpuls lies in performing the alloy development and the component design the SMA parts installed in your system: There are many more interactions to consider, making it necessary to precisely understand all of your requirements. For example, with SMA, the operating condition or situation of installation have a greater influence on the functional integrity of your system than usual. Therefore it is highly recommended to complete and transmit your requirements in a pre-defined manner.

For documenting and forwarding your requirements, please make use our standardised query process. This ensures that:

  • You will significantly reduce the response time to your inquiry
  • You will receive a qualified answer in all cases: Even if it turns out that your requirements may not be ideally met by using SMA
  • You can ensure the integrity of your data
  • You will empower us with finding a solution which really corresponds to your entire requirements

Typically, the option of a non-disclosure agreement will be mentioned as soon as you contact us. It is at this stage that you will simultaneously receive a questionnaire for your technical requirements.

We hope that our sections have helped you to find out about semi-finished products, components and systems based on NiTi-SMA. We also support our customers in the phases of development and devising testing schemes. Learn more about your options in product development, prototyping, validation and testing (Development).