Electromechanical systems that are systems and apparatuses that are used to transform electrical energy into mechanical movement, as well as the other way around. Typical examples of electromechanical systems are solenoids and electric motors, and they may be found in a variety of industries and applications to provide actuation or movement. Such systems may cater to a number of applications, providing for devices such as electromechanical panel controls or electromechanical switches. In general, there are four major types of electromechanical systems, and these include motors and gearboxes, DC generators, shape memory alloy actuators, and linear actuators.
Electric motors and gearboxes are some of the most common types of electromechanical devices, providing for rotary actuation through their operation. Gearboxes are used to sync the primary power input from a motor to the output value that is needed for an application. To assemble a gearbox, gears are placed within a frame or casing and output torque is provided by the mesh of gears. Electric motors may come in various types, including DC brush motors, brushless motors, and stepper motors. Each of these types operates within a lower voltage range, typically falling between 6 to 24 volts. Electric motors and gearboxes may serve a variety of applications, including photocopiers, ATV wipers, packaging equipment, and much more.
The DC generator is a type of electromechanical system that utilizes mechanical energy in order to produce electricity for powering. Common DC generators that are used across industries include water turbines, internal combustion engines, gas and steam turbines, hand cranks, and more. DC generators produce direct current electricity, and this energy is used to power electrical power grids. DC generators operate on a working principle that is based on Faraday’s laws of electromagnetic induction. With a conductor placed within an unstable magnetic field, electromotive forces are induced within the conductor. When the conductor is within a closed lane, the induced current within the conductor will then be transported into this lane.
Shape memory alloy actuators, also known as smart wire actuators, are electromechanical actuators that use shape memory alloys (SMA) for their construction. While more standard materials remain constant throughout use, smart materials may change in response to external factors such as light and temperature. A common example of this is the eyeglasses transition lens which begins to tint in response to light exposure. SMA materials, on the other hand, can “remember” shape properties, such that they can return or form to a shape when placed in a specific condition such as a specific temperature. Common examples of SMA use include hydraulic tubing seals, electrical connectors, fire alarm system triggers, waste bins, coffee machines, and other apparatuses that adjust based on specific external conditions.
A linear actuator is a device that may be used to transform rotary motion into linear movement that pushes or pulls. This operation is typically fulfilled by having a nut that rotates a screw thread, or a ball screw when used for commercial applications. Rather than being continuous in operation, linear actuators are typically intermittent so that they can provide their function when needed, such as in the case of a window operating mechanism. To operate a linear actuator through electromechanical means, motors are most often used and are connected to the lead screw.
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