Motion control products are the backbone in many automated products, a big chunk of which are domestic applications such as shelf lifts or lawn care equipment. This market segment presents promising opportunities for business owners and DIY enthusiasts, as people start to research and choose more technologically advanced and automated products. With this new trend in mind, this article focuses on the emerging market of automated baby cribs, and how it is expanding and diversifying. More specifically, this discussion will highlight the scope for linear actuator-based automation in the automatic baby crib market.
Automated Baby Care: An Emerging Market
Childcare is a round-the-clock, consistent job, often using every bit of energy that parents, guardians, and childminders have. Disturbed sleep schedules, 24/7 monitoring, caring and entertaining: it is a true test with little rest or relief! The trending industry of automated baby care has introduced a much-needed element of comfort and respite in the field of childcare.
We have shortlisted some product ideas where linear actuators can be, and are, utilized.
Swinging Cribs for Babies
Cribs are one of the first products bought when parents go baby shopping. It is also a required staple in daycares and child-minding services; preventing small infants from falling out, keeping them in a safe zone where they can be watched over, and have plenty of space to sleep and play.
Swinging cribs are quite popular, allowing the child to be rocked and soothed through movement. An initial major flaw in a baby swinging crib is that it needed to be rocked manually, proving quite tiring and time-consuming. However, by incorporating a low speed, controlled linear actuator in their cribs, swinging crib manufacturers can easily automate their products and provide a far more convenient user experience.
The actuator is mounted on the crib’s base for fixed support and the other end is attached to the ‘rocking portion’ of the crib. In collaboration with the motion controller, the electric swing crib then rocks the bed with smooth movements. The controller can be used for a variety of custom options also, for example, speed and stroke adjustments, a bigger force for larger weights, timer applications, and so on.
Adjustable Baby Cribs
Another widely reported problem with baby cribs is that infants can outgrow them quickly, meaning they must be replaced or regularly adjusted. This issue can also be solved with a little automation! Linear actuators can be integrated in the crib structure to make it height adjustable. The bars on the sides can be moved up or down automatically according to the baby’s physique to ensure they cannot get out of the crib, adjusting as they grow.
Furthermore, the bed’s tilt can also be adjusted via linear actuators to make it more comfortable for the baby. During playtime, the bed may be tilted up so the baby can sit up against it, and it can be tilted down when the baby wants to sleep.
We understand that normal cribs do offer such adjustability to some extent, however, the inclusion of a motion product can make them much sturdier and also provide a far quicker process when adjusting. The joints in a wooden crib often loosen up after a few months while a linear actuator, on the other hand, provides strength to the structure and is designed to withstand static and impact loads. Even if children jump on their beds or skip over the crib’s bars, they will hold.
Baby Swinging Cradles
A crib is undoubtedly an indispensable baby care item, but it does lack one key quality: portability. Baby cradles and bassinets are specially designed to provide the same level of comfort to babies while being portable as well. The same automation techniques can be applied to create an automated baby cradle or a baby swinging bassinet. These products can be manufactured with remarkable ease and without any serious alteration to existing designs. A non-automated bassinet or cradle usually consists of a swinging bed hung in a solid, grounded frame that is made to withstand the baby’s weight. To automate its swinging movement, a linear actuator can conveniently be installed in between the swing and the frame, with the frame acting as its fixed supporting end.
Such an arrangement would warrant two minor changes to the design. The first one would be the addition of mounting ends on the frame and the swing, and your frame’s structure might also need some re-structuring for better balancing in order to bear the extra load introduced by the linear actuator. We would like to add here that both of these do not require major investments and the ROI is guaranteed owing to this industry’s successful trend!
Our Pick of Actuators for Crib Automation
Progressive Actuators has a range of linear actuators that could be a part of your product line. To make your job easier, we would like to suggest a few of our products that would suit this application:
The PA-08 is the ideal linear actuator for swings, be it in a crib, cradle, or bassinet. It is rated for dynamic loads of up to 110 lbs. and can travel at above 1”/second, which are well-suited specifications for rocking a baby to sleep. The ACME screw in its drive mechanism is precision-engineered to be silent during operation so there is no additional noise in the environment. With its customizable mounting ends, it can be mounted on your products as you wish.
If you are inclined towards creating automated cribs with adjustable height and bars, as well as foldable cribs, you will need a more powerful actuator. For this application, we suggest the impressive PA-18 from our catalogue. It can produce up to 900 lbs. of dynamic force and retains a sturdy, rugged body that can withstand impact loadings (which is important since babies often tug at/crossover the bars and jump on their beds when no one’s looking). The stroke length of this product is also advantageous for the intended application. With up to 60” of available movement, it can fold/unfold a full-sized crib and raise its sidebars above the baby’s head.
Get Started on Your Baby Care Automation Solution Kit
We hope the points raised in this article will encourage you to organize a brainstorming session with your team on how to produce the best automated baby crib. Progressive Actuators is a manufacturer and supplier of top-quality linear actuator technologies that can help you out. You can choose from various power ratings, speed ratings, noise, and protection grades, as well as health code-compliant products. Apart from this, our plug-and-play control boxes and rugged mounting solutions are also a must-have if you are planning on developing a fully functional automation kit.
Our engineering team would be happy to provide consultancy regarding our products and their suitability for your applications. Please feel free to contact us anytime!