© Disruptive Technologies Electronics Production | November 27, 2020
Small Norwegian wireless sensor manufactured in Germany
Norwegian technology startup, Disruptive Technologies, has developed a sensor that send encrypted measurement data and can be stuck pretty much anywhere. The tiny sensor has now moved from prototype into serial production at Zollner.
The Bavarian EMS provider manufactures the sensor for Disruptive Technologies with which the Norwegian startup wants to contribute to more effective networking in the Internet of Things (IoT). To do this the Zollner first needed to make the prototype reproducible. For the conversion of the prototype into a marketable product that can be produced in large-scale serial production, Zollner worked for two years on a completely custom-designed production line and constantly improved on it. The company says that it adapted existing and known technologies to the new requirements and applied new and novel technologies as well. The line is capable of manufacturing eleven million sensors a year and can be expanded to meet the 35 million pieces they are striving toward, a press release reads. Disruptive Technologies developed its tiny sensor to be mounted with adhesive to just about anything and is the core piece of a solution to make the collection and evaluation of data easier. The sensor can measure, for example, the temperature and relative humidity. Its data is then transmitted to a Cloud Connector, which is also manufactured by Zollner. This is a link station, which securely forwards encrypted data into the cloud. There they remain permanently available in real time and serve as a basis for optimal resource management. The common applications for this sensor solution are, among others, cold storage monitoring to prevent food waste, monitoring transformer stations to increase supply security or monitoring temperatures in water pipes, which prevents the development of legionella bacteria. But there is also use for the sensor in factories and warehouses. Partially automated production line for large-scale serial production Many challenges needed to be overcome by Zollner Elektronik AG in the production of these mini sensors. The available volume for the electronics is extremely small, considering the fact that the sensor is as “big” as a keyboard key and as thick as a coin. A tiny battery is attached to a very thin circuit board. Additionally, the whole assembly needed to be completely encapsulated to fulfill the IP68 standard and others. The goal was to make the product absolutely waterproof and dust-proof and cover the industrial temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees Celsius. The manufacturing line employs techniques like wire bonding, laser cutting, vacuum forming, resin casting and massive robotization. “It was a tremendous task to convert the requirements of the customer into a production system for high-volume manufacturing. We integrated numerous new technologies into the production line so we could achieve the desired result. A lot of existing know-how flowed into the system, while at the same time we were gaining even more, new knowledge,” says Bernhard Kiefl, head of the responsible Business Division at Zollner Elektronik, in the press release.