Sensing Innovation from the World’s Largest Gas Sensor Manufacturer
Sep 15 2016 Read 4773 Times
IET talks to Marco Di Nubila about City Technology’s latest sensing innovations in advance of the Miconex show in Beijing, Sensor China and the Sensors and Instrumentation Show in the UK.
It’s been a busy year for City Technology, the company which pioneered the portable gas detection market in the 1970s and continues to offer the largest global portfolio of gas sensors on the market today. The R&D and marketing teams have been working on some interesting innovations which will see the introduction of smaller, more connected, wearable gas detection solutions, alongside further development of core sensing solutions and extended manufacturing capabilities to meet the increasing demands of gas detector manufacturers.
Marco said: “Gas detector manufacturers are recognising the need for smaller, more user friendly gas detection devices which provide critical safety protection but provide more data and are easier to maintain. Sensors play a critical role in enhancing detection performance. We are reducing the size of our electrochemical sensors, making them thinner in order to be used in smaller, lightweight gas detection devices. At the same time we are adding new design features to deliver the same market leading accuracy with low power and long life.”
Wearable Gas Sensing
Another key innovation is wearable gas sensing: Marco commented: “We have recently introduced miniature planar sensor technology into our development portfolio - a key enabler for connected, wearable gas sensing and air quality monitoring. The technology differs from our core electrochemical sensors in that it is lightweight and can be printed onto a range of materials. We are working on integration with Bluetooth to enable the user to draw on data from the sensor and monitor exposure to gases in the work environment. We see this as offering significant benefits particularly in environments where employees may be exposed to low concentrations of gases and pollutants over long periods of time.”
Gas detector manufacturers continue to demand improvements in sensor performance in line with tougher standards. Marco explained: “With our new sensor developments, we do an increased amount of performance testing upfront to make sure they meet the standards required by the instrument manufacturer such as ATEX, EN45544 and the Chinese mining standard GB15322. This makes the design in process faster. We also do environmental modelling to replicate performance in the field. This is critical in environments like mining and gives peace of mind to both manufacturers and end users.”
New Sensor Ranges
Over the last few years, City has introduced a range of new sensors which are seeing continued growth– the 4CM CO sensor designed for mining applications, long life oxygen sensors and enhanced emissions sensors for compliance and statutory markets. Marco explains: “All of these sensors offer improved performance, whether it’s the ability to operate over the full life of the instrument, or greater stability and accuracy in wider temperature ranges. We are getting some great results. Our gas detection customers are commenting on workers being able to maximise their field efficiency and reduce servicing and monitoring costs.”
Due to the size of its operations in the UK, China, Germany, along with automated manufacturing using six sigma techniques, City is able to fulfil large global sensor orders ensuring security of supply and repeatability of performance. Marco explains: “As the gas detection market continues to consolidate we are seeing increasingly complex contracts which demand flexibility. We are able to quickly and effectively respond to changes in requirements. Manufacturing automation for high volume lines is also critical for ensuring repeatable performance and quality for the end user. We manufacture millions of sensors every year so it is vital we continue to enhance our high standards in design and rigorous quality control.”
Sensing in the Connected World: Industrial and Beyond
It’s clear that gas sensors play a critical role in industrial markets. In the future, through the connected home and internet of things, gas sensors will be deployed in an increasingly wide range of applications such as air quality monitoring, residential and medical markets. Sensors already provide interface at the edge of the real world and the digital world - in industry, in business, in the home or in the environment. City Technology’s latest sensor innovations will play a key role as it continues to solutions that make gas detection more efficient, reliable and safe.
Marco Di Nubila is Marketing Leader for City Technology
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