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Air Bladder Actuator Alternatives

Updated: May 11, 2022

If you’re looking for an actuator that has a short stroke, wide area, and consistent force motion, then you are likely looking for a bladder-type inflatable actuator or an air bladder actuator. These actuators are very specific to their niche, but when they are needed, they provide motion that is more cost-effective than the other systems.

Air Bladder Actuator Alternatives

Inflatable bladder-type actuators are becoming the standard for soft brakes on belt conveyors, workholders, and parts positioners. They are also used for expanding mandrels, clamps, and bonding bladders.

However, air bladders aren’t the only ones of their kind. If you’re looking for the soft, compliant, select performance you get from inflatable bladder-type actuators with better control, you may want to invest in HASEL actuators from Artimus Robotics.

HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing Electrostatic) actuator technology from Artimus Robotics utilizes soft materials, such as thin plastic films and liquids, to achieve soft compliance. These materials allow for easy integration, and the actuators can adapt and conform to their environment.

These actuators are also electrically controlled, and they provide direct conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy. This eliminates the need for valves and gears, once again increasing the ease of implementation.

HASEL actuators challenge air bladder actuators by offering muscle-like performance, high speeds, and soft precision while still having the benefits of a traditional air bladder actuator.

HASEL actuators may be the solution for your project if you are looking for an actuator made with soft materials and designed to fit into any environment that offers speed and precision. Not only are HASEL actuators pliable, but they also provide direct conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy, eliminating extra materials in your build.

The following video shows an example of an electric alternative to a conveyor air bladder in an accumulation conveyor.

About Artimus Robotics Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact

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