Autosplice’s New Shape Memory Alloy Latch Actuator Assembly

By Cable Assembly Supplier | September 09, 2013

Autosplice New Shape Memory Alloy Latch Actuator Assembly

Autosplice has introduced an innovative new latching assembly based around an actuator that uses Nitinol (Nickel Titanium) shape memory wire to drive the latching and unlatching functions. The compact, energy-saving latch assembly is designed for use in space-constrained applications that require small size and low power along with repetitive and reliable latching/unlatching operations.

The unique design optimizes energy efficiency through a special over-center approach that combines a spring/lever arm with the shape memory actuator. This multiplier effect enables the latch to deliver 0.120” (3mm) of throw at the plunger while only using applied energy to create the first 0.070” of travel.

Input power requirement is 2.55 to 3VDC at 200msec pulse, with power consumption of approximately 0.28 watt-seconds and drive force of 50 grams. The latching device also offers noiseless operation and a very small heat signature in comparison to other actuation solutions.

The overall small package size (1.42” x 0.76” x 0.43”) is ideal for tight design-in areas and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Prime application arenas include electrified door locks and security access systems, especially for large installations with many doors where latch size, power consumption, and reliability are critical. The small overall latch size also supports usage in other space-constrained applications, such as medication cabinets, lock boxes, and other small secure enclosures. The end-effecter can be designed specifically to accommodate different application requirements.

Nitinol is a family of intermetallic materials that contain a nickel/titanium alloy, with other elements added to adjust or “tune” the material properties. Nitinol exhibits a combination of unique characteristics, including “shape memory” and “super elasticity,” that enable Nitinol wire to actuate when electrically heated, thereby dynamically changing the internal structure at certain temperatures. As the wire cools, it returns to its original structure or shape.

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