Solutions to industrial problems
As a result of his efforts, Campanile has succeeded in convincing diverse industrial partners from the medical technology and robotics fields of the advantages in using these novel systems based on innovative materials. In cooperation with these companies he has developed a range of solutions for instruments and tools which are made in one piece and therefore superior to the conventional devices they replace which use joints and hinges. The latter are complicated and expensive to produce and assemble, and also not cheap to maintain.
Compliant systems made of materials such as plastics, metal and composites are so designed that they transmit forces without using joints. They change shape because the material from which they are made undergoes elastic deformation, not through the use of rigid components which slide or roll over each other. This means that the new instruments suffer less wear and tear.
A robot gripper arm developed by Campaniles team consists of only 32 individual parts, is 60 per cent lighter than a conventional equivalent and costs about 98 per cent less to manufacture. These figures must make car designers and mechanical engineers ears prick up. To date they have made use of hardly any compliant structures, maintains Campanile.