Miniaturization Design of Piezoelectric Vibration-Driven Pneumatic Unconstrained Valves
Sumadi Jien*, Shinichi Hirai*, and Kenshin Honda**
*Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, 1-1-1 Noji Higashi, Kusatsu 525-8577, Japan
**R&D Department, Toray Engineering Co., Ltd., 1-1-1 Sonoyama, Otsu, Shiga 520-0842, Japan
The growing demand for an increased power-toweight ratio in a wearable robot’s components has helped drive trends in miniaturization in component production. This is because such “assist-bots” must maximize their usefulness as they minimize weight restrictions on the users wearing them. These trends have been hindered by the lack of ultra precision assembly and the limited availability of mini solenoid valves. An unconstrained valve driven by a PiezoElectric Actuator (PEA) is thus proposed for its simplicity and high miniaturization potential. In this paper, the realization ofminiaturized unconstrained valves is discussed, which covers the valve design towards miniaturization and implementation in robotics. A LC tuner improves PEA efficiency, increasing the output flow of small unconstrained valves.
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