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Cedrat Technologies amplifies piezo-strain for space systems

27/10/2003 20 views 0 likes
ESA / About Us / Business with ESA / Small and Medium Sized Enterprises / SME Achievements

Cedrat Technologies is a high-tech French SME specialised in electrical and thermal engineering, and in innovative solutions for micro positioning and vibration damping with piezoelectric actuators.

"Our first piezo active actuators were developed for the French Space Agency (CNES), for micro-positioning and vibration damping of optics embedded on satellites. This was back in 1995, since then eight years have passed and piezo actuator technology has become our core business. Today we have a complete range of actuators and related driving electronics which are sold all over the world", says Frank Claeyssen, Technical Manager of Cedrat Technologies.

Non-space fields and technology transfer

Cedrat's piezos in helicopter control
Cedrat's piezos in helicopter control

Today the evolution in piezo technology has resulted in a complete industrial production at Cedrat Technologies which opens up new business opportunities in many non-space fields.

Injection and fluids control valves, tools positioning, active mechanical damping, optics control and electrical circuit breakers are some of the systems that could benefit from use of this new technology. A specific non-space field where the use of a piezo solution could revolutionise conventional techniques is in the flight control or shape control of helicopter blades.

ONERA, the French aerospace research centre, has developed and patented a mechanism based on amplified piezo actuators (APAs) to actuate a flap at the tip of a helicopter blade. The objective of this mechanism is to reduce the blade-vortex interaction (BVI) noise generated by the blade profile during flying.

The first test results are very promising and the Cedrat Technologies’ APAs mounted in different positions on a wing proved to be robust and well performing.

Eurocopter evaluates that if BVI noise reduction is made effective, it may increase sales by 50% for metropolitan transportation in the USA.

Another specific non-space field is the transfer of the APAs built for space to the automobile industry. ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme supported Cedrat Technologies in the development of a piezoelectric injector with CR Fiat in Italy, a very interesting field with an extraordinary potential.

However many applications of piezo cannot be disclosed. “When an industry decides to choose our piezo technology, the main reason is to get a technological advantage over their competitors,” says Thomas Maillard, Cedrat Technologies engineer