Micromega Dynamics: more details on typical applications
The active damping of a truss structure using piezoelectric actuators was demonstrated as early as 1989. This project raised the interest of the European Space Agency (ESA) and led to several collaborations with European aerospace companies and research labs.
Although Micromega Dynamics was founded in the spring, 1999, it has already been able to perform a remarkable job within new and promising application areas.
The latest successful job was the ARCOP Project completed for ESTEC in March 2001 in collaboration with CEDRAT RECHERCHE, a French SME, specialists in design and implementation of space qualified amplified piezo actuators (APAs).
The ARCOP Project focused on the concept of using new active tendon mechanism for a free-floating space truss. They showed in an active tendon control experiment the result of active damping using APAs. This test structure will be on display in ESTEC during the Industry Space Days, 9-10 May 2001.
In addition, the ARCOP study showed that the use of APA of CEDRAT in the active truss of ULB simplifies drastically the hardware implementation of active tendon control system while preserving the control performance of the previous design.
The result is very clearly shown in the impulse response graph to the left. Without control the impulse results in a classical vibration dyeing slowly (red), while with control the vibration is damped much faster (blue).
ESA together with Micromega is defining a further research activity to verify the control performance experimentally at higher bandwidth and with lower amplitudes.
Micromega Dynamics provide services and support whenever problems or potential issues related to vibration or very high accuracy positioning have been identified. The key idea is either to help their customers in troubleshooting existing situations or to work together in order to integrate damping or positioning devices into their new design.
Amongst other very interesting activities performed by Micromega can be mentioned their work within the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union in semi-active isolation of railway tracks and their work with ESA on long range (5mm) per high-resolution (1nm) optical delay lines based on the magnetic bearing technologies. Other work is being performed in the area of improving the comfort of workers related to the vibration environment.
The active damping technology has many potential applications including within:
- Interferometry: optical delay lines, fast steering mirrors
- Electronic industry: high accuracy, high stiffness positioning device
- Robotics: active damping of flexible appendages, increase of positioning speed/accuracy
- Machine tools: cutting or clamping tool stabilisation
- Optics: vibration isolation, image stabilisation
- Agriculture: stabilisation of spraying truss
- Manufacturing: increase of speed, reduction of noise
- Transport: improvement of comfort, reduction of noise
- Oil: drilling tool stabilisation
Micromega Dynamics is performing research with other clients from outside space business in different areas and plan to address the above potential applications in several specific fields.