CML uses shape memory alloy (SMA) in the form of a wire to move, control and precisely position objects. When used in conjunction with proprietary electronic circuits and software, it functions as a miniature motor (actuator). SMA has a unique characteristic. When the material is deformed it returns to its original shape when heated – a shape memory effect.
SMA was developed in 1962 by the United States Naval Ordnance Laboratory. One meeting the team passed around a sample folded up like an accordion, and to everyone’s surprise, it jumped to its previous shape when heated up. Since then SMA has been used for a wide variety of applications including medical, aviation, automotive and robotic systems. CML has developed technology to precisely control SMA so that it is applicable to mass market consumer electronic goods.
With its multidisciplinary engineering skillset, and design and simulation tools, CML’s team has mastered the control of SMA for precision applications. With an extensive portfolio of unique designs and control algorithms, CML SMA technology has been developed to control and position objects with the highest level of precision. This makes it particularly suited to device components requiring high levels of precision and force in a miniature form factor, such as cameras, haptics, facial recognition and augmented reality.
CML's products are highly suited for automated production processes, providing a high yield and high-volume output. Significant barriers to entry are in place, with an extensive portfolio of patents protecting CML’s position within the actuator ecosystem.
To create a truly multidisciplinary team, CML has combined world-class engineers from a broad variety of backgrounds. Key areas of expertise include mechanical, electronic, software, and control engineering, materials science, design of experiments, system modelling and simulation. The aggregation of these skills allows CML to successfully work with the global giants of the consumer electronics industry and their preferred supply chains. Design and development activities encompass mechanical actuators, electronics, custom ASICs, algorithms, firmware, manufacturing processes and test equipment.
Although much of CML's technology is developed at its headquarters, CML's teams regularly support customers and their supply chains around the world, particularly in China. This can be as varied as a design review at an R&D centre, assembly facility equipment installation, performance and reliability testing, or a supplier audit.
CML’s goal is to take intellectual property from its technical facilities in Cambridge to global production sites and into the hands of consumers.
CML's SMA actuators are particularly suited to four technology applications that require high levels of precision and force, in a compact and lightweight design.Learn about SMA actuators
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