I always thought that the glass body lined air cylinder with the soft carbon piston was a great patent. Stiction in the Airpel cylinders I used was extrordinarily better than traditional actuator seals.
There is a ~75-year-old patent on this subject...my Dad's (Wallace M. Jones, Westinghouse Corp), regarding stick-slip reduction of piston O-rings. This allows the O-ring to rotate 1/4 turn in its groove. This was used in radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns.
I would be surprised if this problem was not solved by others decades ago. The USPTO should be an important tool for every design engineer.
Excellent article. It's always great to see engineering refinements that end up tackling difficult issues such as reducing friction, lowering energy consumption and reducing in traditional products like pneumatic cylinders. These improvements have a very positive effect on new product designs.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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