Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS)
Industry is just starting to consider all of the ways that MEMS devices might be included in their 21st Century toolbox. The ability to design and build mechanical devices the size of microchips offers a startling array of new possibilities as finished machines and as components of larger mechanisms. In pursuit of these new frontiers of design and manufacturing, FlexSys, Inc. is uniquely positioned. Our expertise has pioneered the research and development of many of the most practical and robust MEMS devices to date, including power systems, linear actuators, motion amplifiers, precision positioning devices and compliant mechanisms that don’t require assembly.
At the MEMS scale it is possible to power devices that can operate with minuscule power inputs for billions of cycles without failure. Electrostatic and thermal actuators at this scale are able to translate crystalline oscillations into usable drivers. With advanced MEMS machining processes it is even possible to create geared transmissions for rotational motion.
Amplifying Motion or Force
Compliant mechanisms can produce significant amplification of small deflections as much as 65x of the original displacement. These can be achieved in very compact, high frequency systems and greatly extend the applicability of smart-material actuators that are otherwise typically limited to small strains and correspondingly small (10 µm – 1000 µm) deflections.
No Assembly Required
It's not practical to simply scale down a macro-scale machine to the MEMS level. It would be impossible to assemble the pieces involved and with tolerances in the 1µm range such a device would be comparable to one made from Tinker Toys. At the MEMS scale, design for zero assembly is therefore more a necessity than a novelty. FlexSys is highly experienced in designing complex mechanisms that require no assembly at any scale. Such compliant monoform machines need no bearings or lubrication and we have demonstrated a wide range of them that can be built with the same tools and materials as integrated circuits.
It is possible to construct devices that can move within a 3-dimensional work envelope. These devices can deploy themselves and function at hundreds of cycles per second by using electrostatic actuators positioned out of phase to each other. Due to their jointless, backlash-free movement they can be used for precision positioning devices for many applications.