According to Actuator Zone site, this type of actuators uses the piezoelectric effect to convert electrical energy into mechanical displacement. Piezoelectric actuators are normally used in printers because of their conversion efficiency and high responsiveness. The actuator is able to control mechanical displacement in high precision positioning mechanisms. The most interesting thing is that it is able to do that at a very high speed. High volume printers with moderate cost ink printing cartridges use piezoelectric actuators. Quality printing requires low electromagnetic interferences, low power consumption, fast time response and fine precision and that is the reason why piezoelectric actuators are suitable for such an application.
Figure 1 and 2: Examples of Piezoelectric actuators in printing industry
A multilayer actuator is a repeatable displacement device that is a product of multilayer production techniques and piezoelectric material expertise combined to produce a low voltage and high efficiency actuator. The device can operate in a sub-micrometer range and is known to be very precise and that is why it is normally used in inkjet printers. The actuator consists of inner electrodes that are interdigitated and many thin layers of piezoelectric material. The other major benefits of multilayer actuators include customized designs, compactness, microseconds of response time, microns of expansion and low driving voltages. Examples of multilayer actuators include Bender, D31 and D33.
Figure 3 and 4: Examples of multilayer actuators in printing industry
These are micro-actuators that are mostly used in 3D printing. The actuator is made by incorporating magnetic nanoparticles with bio-compatible epoxy resin that is very light sensitive. The actuator is able to swim through liquids because of their helical shape. Modified shapes have been created by scientists for the actuator to be used in other advanced applications.
Figure 5and 6: Examples of magnetic actuators