How can high performance damping be designed first-time-right?

Mechatronic systems more and more have tight requirements with respect to the accuracy of positioning. Vibrations therefore can become an issue. Applying damping is an effective way to improve the dynamics of a system. This can be done either in an active or a passive manner. MI-Partners has developed an effective, passive damping method based on polymer damping. This new method offers low-cost damper development and first-time-right damper design. It will improve the internal damping ratio to 50% compared to most common damping technologies used for machine damping. Manufacturers of high-end mechatronic systems, high-precision measurement equipment and high-accuracy production equipment can improve their performance using these new dampers. But other industries can benefit as well.

There are many ways to damp suspension and vibrations within a dynamic system. What factors influence the choice for a damping technology? The damping performance is of course critical, often depending on stiffness and damping values. The initial development costs and the price per damper are also important. Most rubbers, like for instance natural rubber, do not have enough damping. This calls for customer-specific damper design. Due to the lack of predictability of such a design, development cost used to be high. MI-Partners now tackled this challenge with their new design method for viscoelastic dampers. Result: first-time-right, high performance damper development against competitive costs.

Using active damping in a dynamic system is expensive. This is mainly caused by the price of the components used. Using passive, viscoelastic damping is simple, robust and cost-effective. But designing a passive, polymer based damper used to be a trial-and-error development. MI-Partners now offers a model for first-time-right damper design, using FEM models and extensive knowledge of material characterization. First-time-right design is important as it prevents test production series, resulting in extra cost for engineering and for molds used. The new method results in system level modeling with high predictability, verification of the damper’s dynamic properties upfront and extreme high damping value by passive means. This approach also offers a reproducibility in damper characteristics of ± 10% in production. The first series of the polymer dampers were delivered by MI-Partners six years ago. The life time of these dampers is for most high-end application not an issue of concern. However, performance without degradation and maintenance-free design are. For high-end applications, the dampers can be made cleanroom compatible. Conclusion: In a dynamic system, passive damping seems like the logical way to go.

Effective passive damping for many applications

From its market focus MI-Partners uses the new damping method for high-end, mechatronic system design for customers like ASML, Phenom World and NXP. But the dampers could be beneficial to other industries as well. Its damping properties offer ideal isolation of rotating modules within a system. MI-Partners can offer standardized dampers with a high damping performance at competitive costs. The dampers are also suitable for retrofit, when vibration problems are a service issue within the existing installed base.