PowerMEMS® includes the SilMach® MEMS solutions based on very high-resolution electrostatic motors. These silicon devices come in the form of electrodes equipped with interdigital combs, which, when they are electrically powered, make an alternating movement generated by electrostatic forces, the intensity of which is determined by the voltage applied to the electrodes. The stepwise movement generated by each electric pulse drives a kinetic chain in a rotary or linear fashion, or in a more complex movement.
The PowerMEMS® solutions were developed to drive mobile systems (watches, connected objects, etc.). In association with a built-in microelectronic chip (an ASIC, or Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) dedicated to the application, the PowerMEMS® solutions are capable of driving mechanisms in a linear (opening panels, blinds, hatches, etc.) or rotary (geared mechanisms, opening diaphragms, etc.) manner.
Watch-making is the main field of application. In 2008, SilMach produced the first prototype of an integrated quartz watch movement driven by a PowerMEMS® chip and a high-voltage ASIC connected to a watch battery. These micromotors are now simultaneously produced in hundreds of units on a silicon plate measuring 6 inches in diameter.
The unique design of the PowerMEMS® solutions reaches mechanical performances (torque, mechanical power, power-to-weight ratio, positioning resolution in step mode, etc.) that are significantly higher than the state of the art of any other technology!
Compact, non-magnetic, extremely light and simple, the PowerMEMS® motors have opened up unprecedented possibilities for drive mechanisms in very restricted environments. Moreover, laboratory tests have shown their exceptional performance in terms of robustness, endurance and lifespan, thanks to their exceptional tribological properties (they function without oil). The PowerMEMS® solutions are based on irreversible or reversible step motors and offer a broad range of operating frequencies (i.e. from a fraction of a Hz to several kHz).
Close-up on: Watch applications
The PowerMEMS® solutions can independently and directly drive the hands of a movement in both directions of rotation, and in an extremely small volume! By decorrelating the hands, the watch can show the time or perform auxiliary functions, such as the tracking of biometric activity.