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BMG announces the Mantis Robotic Trim Press Handler from NAS Nalle Automation Systems, the industry’s first robotic automated system that reliably handles the flow of parts ejected from any trim press. This compact, intuitive, and configurable system enables full automation of the entire thermoforming process — from resin to palletized product — for medium to high-volume production lines using either non-servo continuous flow or servo-driven long eject trim presses.

Previously, parts ejected from non-servo trim presses needed to be manually separated and counted, a labour-intensive, error-prone, and inconsistent process that limits the automation of downstream packaging functions. NAS solved this problem with the patent-pending Trim Press Receiver (TPR) which uses a unique separating mechanism to count and contain stacks of product, followed by a raking mechanism to take the product into the receiver for transfer by the robot. 

“Consistent and reliable separation of product on a continuously flowing, non-servo eject trim press was the key to the development of Mantis”, according to Kurt Huelsman, President of NAS. “The design of the receiver coupled with NAS’s robotic automation capabilities brings a safe, productive and cost-effective solution to a historically very manual process.”

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The TPR presents the parts to a six-axis robot equipped with product matching End of Arm Tooling that in turn automatically transfers the product to a Shuttle Station, which integrates with downstream packaging functions that may include wrapping, boxing, case packing, sealing, and palletizing. Incorporating the robot allows the Mantis system to be very compact and configurable, making installation possible where the available floor space is limited or obstructed.

The Mantis Robotic Trim Press Handler is compatible with all trim presses, including BMG brands Brown and Lyle. The fully automated system can reduce labor requirements by up to 75% and the modular robotic design allows for tool changeovers in under an hour. 

Visit www.bmg-solutions.com/machine/nas-mantis-robotic-trim-press-handler/ for more information. 

About BMG

BMG in Beaverton, MI, is a global leader in thermoforming, tooling and automation solutions with best-in-class quality and innovative product lines. It designs and manufactures a complete line of continuous thermoforming equipment, tooling, material handling and packaging automation, robotics, and related services including system upgrades, prototyping, process optimization, and technical support. Its equipment has been “Made in North America” for nearly 70 years, with systems operating in over 80 countries serving customers worldwide. Visit www.BMG-Solutions.com for more information.

Monday, 05 December 2022 11:18

Excellence at Southside Treatment Plant

A new treatment plant with a cost-effective biological treatment process has won the coveted State Excellence Award from Alabama’s Water Environment Association (AWEA).

The Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) from Lakeside Equipment Corporation was specified by the plant’s designers, CDG, Inc for its robustness, ease of operation and scalability for future needs.

The Award-winning treatment plant at Southside AlabamaThe Award-winning treatment plant at Southside Alabama

The Southside, AL plant, for which the SBR was supplied by The Eshelman Company Inc., consists of a headworks, mechanical screen system, and lift station pumps to get raw sewage into alternating tanks for aeration and settling. UV disinfection and an automatic effluent pumping system deliver treated water to the receiving stream.

The building of the new facility has proved crucial in enabling Southside to continue to grow its economy after its old sewage lagoon system, despite decades of excellent management, had finally reached its capacity. Now, with its increased capability, Southside has been able to welcome the prospect of building new homes and seeing investment from new businesses with open arms.

Described by David Fry, Assistant Superintendent for Southside Water Works and Sewer Board, as ‘a great environment to work in’, the project saw CDG, Inc appoint Schmidt Environmental Construction, Inc as part of the award-winning team. The $4.3M project won praise from the AWEA judges as a first-class example of a long-lasting investment for the wastewater industry.

CertainTeed Roofing in Oxford, North Carolina, broke ground in November on the construction of a new state-of-the-art glass mat plant. The facility will be used for the highly efficient production of glass mat, a key component in the manufacture of roofing shingles. With a total investment of $167 million, this is CertainTeed Roofing's largest investment to date in a U.S. site. The company has contracted Voith to supply the production machine as well as automation and digitalization solutions from Voith´s Papermaking 4.0 portfolio. The plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2024.

  • As the leading full-line supplier for glass mat plants, Voith supplies the stock preparation, approach flow system, HydroFormer, binder section and the FiberDry drying concept
  • Automation and digitalization solutions from the Papermaking 4.0 portfolio are installed in the plant to increase machine availability, production efficiency and sustainability
  • CertainTeed Roofing uses the line to produce glass mat for the manufacture of asphalt roofing shingles

"Building this plant in Oxford is an important step in continuing to provide industry-leading service to our customers," says Carmen Bodden, Vice President of CertainTeed Roofing. "Our goal with this plant is to set new industry standards – utilizing state-of-the-art energy and water conservation technologies and innovative automation technology."  

"We are very pleased to take this important corporate step together with Voith," emphasizes Pedro Romero, General Manager Glass Mat at CertainTeed Roofing. "Voith's long-standing expertise and experience in glass mat machines will be the foundation for achieving our corporate goals with the new glass mat plant in North Carolina. Voith offers the most comprehensive full-line portfolio on the market with highly efficient cutting edge technologies and records excellent references in both the paper and nonwovens industries."

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As the leading full-line supplier, Voith supplies not only the stock preparation, but also the approach flow system and HydroFormer, as well as the binder section including binder preparation. The FiberDry from Voith is used for drying and curing the glass mat web impregnated in resin. To reduce primary energy demand, Voith implements a heat recovery system that enables energy savings of up to 10 percent. For the most efficient production possible, CertainTeed Roofing will also rely on the automation and digitalization solutions of Voith's Papermaking 4.0 portfolio. The Voith IIoT platform dataPARC cloud serves as the basis. The quality control system (QCS) OnQuality provides complete control over production processes and product quality by giving operators full transparency. In addition, the condition monitoring system OnCare.Health continuously analyzes machine data to reduce planned and unplanned downtime.

New Voith Paper Nonwovens business unit
Voith Paper is further expanding its activities in the nonwovens sector with a new business unit established in April. The business unit combines product management, sales, project management and design for the nonwovens business. "In the business unit, we are bundling our competencies in the area of wetlaid nonwovens to be an even stronger partner for our nonwovens customers in the future," explains Dr. Linus Friedrich, Head of Business Unit Nonwovens. He continues: "Our customer CertainTeed Roofing will benefit from a state-of-the-art solution and Voith Paper's many years of experience in the area of glass mat machines."

About CertainTeed  
Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has helped shape the building products industry for more than 115 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm’s slogan “Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed,” inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is a leading North American brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, solar, fence, railing, trim, insulation, drywall and ceilings. www.certainteed.com

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has around 20,000 employees, sales of € 4.3 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Paper is part of the Voith Group. As the full-line supplier to the paper industry, it provides the largest range of technologies, services and products on the market and offers paper manufacturers holistic solutions from one source. The company’s continuous stream of innovations facilitates resource-conserving production and helps customers minimize their carbon footprint. With its leading automation products and digitalization solutions from the Papermaking 4.0 portfolio, Voith offers its customers state-of-the-art digital technologies to improve plant availability and efficiency for all sections of the production process.

PA Consulting and PulPac are calling upon pharma, consumer health and FMCG industries to join the Blister Pack Collective to bring the world’s first Dry Molded Fiber tablet pack to market - minimising the use of plastics for over-the-counter and prescription drugs and vitamins.

With 100,000 tonnes of plastic produced globally for medicine packaging every year, PulPac, the Swedish R&D and IP company behind Dry Molded Fiber, and PA Consulting (PA), the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, have launched a Blister Pack Collective to use PulPac’s technology to provide a recyclable and sustainable fiber alternative with minimal use of plastic to traditional non-recyclable PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) blister packs.

Dry Molded Fiber uses renewable pulp and cellulose resources to produce low-cost, high-performance fibre-based packaging. The proprietary manufacturing process uses less CO2 and almost no water to create highly versatile tablet arrays that match the design and tablet count of commodity PVC, providing a like-for-like, scalable solution for pharma and consumer healthcare companies to use.

Philip Fawcus, Dry Molded Fiber Technical Lead and Sustainable Materials Expert at PA Consulting, commented: “PulPac’s Dry Molded Fiber technology combined with the ingenious PA team has allowed the shapes, functions and features of current plastic blister packs to be translated into cellulose – a huge step for the industry as they seek sustainable packaging options.”

PulPac's revolutionary fiberforming technology, Dry Molded Fiber, presents a competitive packaging alternative for brands seeking to do the shift away from single-use plastics. PulPac's revolutionary fiberforming technology, Dry Molded Fiber, presents a competitive packaging alternative for brands seeking to do the shift away from single-use plastics.

With an initial proof of concept to demonstrate viability, industry collaboration is now required to accelerate development.

Sanna Fager, Chief Commercial Officer at PulPac, commented: “The innovative tablet blister packs designed by the PA team demonstrates a viable fiber-based concept of a circular solution in cellulose that can solve a global challenge. Leveraging the benefits of our Dry Molded Fiber technology – instead of single-use PVC – these packs would be circular in paper-streams and still be functional, scalable, but most importantly affordable. Industry players that seek to be a force for sustainable change in the packaging industry are very welcome to join the collective in support of this transition to sustainability with rapid adoption and global impact.”

Jamie Stone, Dry Molded Fiber Design Lead and Sustainability Design Expert at PA Consulting, said: “It will take innovation and collaboration to tackle the climate crisis, and our partnership with PulPac epitomises this. Using our collective strengths, we have found a solution to tackle one of the huge plastic waste issues across industries reliant on tablet blister packs. We now need industry to join us and help accelerate the development of this ingenious solution and help remove tonnes of problem plastic waste from the planet.”

Organisations interested in pioneering the world’s first fiber-based blister pack and accelerating the industry transition from PVC should sign up here.

About PulPac
PulPac provides the packaging industry with a groundbreaking manufacturing technology for low-cost, high-performance fiber-based packaging and single-use products. By pioneering the technology of cellulose molding PulPac enables their customers to replace single-use plastics with a sustainable and cost competitive alternative globally. For additional information about PulPac, please visit www.pulpac.com or follow us on social media.

About PA
We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future. As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity. Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results. An innovation and transformation consultancy, we are over 4000 specialists in consumer and manufacturing, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government and public services, health and life sciences, and transport. Our people are strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers and technologists. We operate globally from offices across the UK, US, Netherlands and Nordics. Discover more at paconsulting.com and connect with PA on LinkedIn and Twitter

Dry Molded Fiber
Dry Molded Fiber, invented and patented by PulPac, is a manufacturing technology designed for the circular economy – using renewable pulp and cellulose resources to produce low cost, high performance, fiber-based packaging, and single-use products. Dry Molded Fiber gives up to 80% lower CO2 footprint at similar cost as plastic. It is up to ten times as efficient as conventional fiber molding invented over 100 years ago. The dry process also saves massive amounts of valuable water resources. In addition, energy savings are significant - as the molded products need no drying.

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions (WMFTS) highlights its range of Qdos chemical metering pumps for chemical processing and OEM applications. 

  • Pumps are ideal for chemical processing and OEM applications

The Qdos range features a simple drop-in installation that eliminates the ancillary equipment required by diaphragm pump alternatives while maintaining accurate, linear, and repeatable metering for all chemical processing conditions. 

Qdos peristaltic chemical metering pumps have flow rates ranging from 0.001 to 32 USGPH at up to 100 psi with +/- 1% accuracy. An intuitive menu offers advanced control features including fluid level monitoring, line priming, fluid recovery, leak detection, and flow calibration.

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Qdos pumps are available with either 110V AC or 12-24V DC. The 12-24V DC power option increases the range of Qdos applications involving remote applications where 110V AC power supply is not available. 

Qdos pumps offer long maintenance intervals, and have no valves or seals to clog, leak or corrode. Furthermore, the pumps feature no-tools maintenance with quick and easy pump head replacement, reducing the impact of process downtime and lowering the total cost of ownership.

Built for simplicity in installation, operation, and maintenance the Qdos range of pumps are adaptable to fit all chemical processing and OEM applications.

To learn more about Qdos, visit: https://www.wmfts.com/en-us/watson-marlow-pumps/cased-pumps/qdos-metering-pump/

About Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions is an award-winning, global leader in fluid management technology and for over 60 years has engineered components and systems for customers in the food processing and handling, pharmaceutical and industrial markets. The company is part of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, a FTSE 100 company. Learn more at www.wmfts.com

KROHNE, a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of solutions in industrial process instrumentation, highlights its market-leading instrumentation portfolio for managing produced water. Throughout the water management process, from collection to transportation and injection, KROHNE’s OPTIFLUX electromagnetic flowmeters cut costs while providing peak levels of performance for operators.

  • Reduce pump costs throughout the process of produced water management

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KROHNE's products facilitate accurate, reliable measurement, provide instrument diagnostics, and reduce cost to help operators overcome challenges that arise while managing produced water during oil and gas production. OPTIFLUX electromagnetic flowmeters avoid moving parts entirely to avoid wear and measurement inaccuracy due to drifting. These flowmeters are full bore and do not require flow conditioners or strainers. OPTIFLUX flowmeters work free-of-charge alongside KROHNE’s OPTICHECK verification software, which provides easy on site meter verification without requiring the meter to be removed from service. This combination of instrumentation and software provides real time diagnostic information, flow rates and totals, and conductivity information, which are all made available via Modbus.

OPTIFLUX electromagnetic flowmeters are available in multiple models. The OPTIFLUX 2050 is designed for basic water and wastewater applications such as flow and conductivity measurement. It has multiple outputs and a choice of liners including hard rubber. The OPTIFLUX 4300 serves advanced process and custody transfer (CT) applications. A market leader for water injection applications, this model has achieved pressure ratings up to 2500 pounds. It supports all types of connections, from RF and FF to RTJ and Clamp, and more. With robust, fully welded construction, this model is approved for hazardous areas and well suited for demanding environments due to its corrosion resistant materials.

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KROHNE’s product portfolio has a long standing track record in industries such as oil and gas and water and wastewater treatment. Its factory inventory of standard meter configurations are available for fast delivery, and its team stands ready at all hours to provide technical support over mail or phone free of charge.

Contact us for special pricing information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About KROHNE

KROHNE is a worldwide technological leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of accurate, reliable and cost-effective measuring instruments for the process industries. KROHNE focuses on forming partnerships with its customers to provide them with the most reliable and innovative solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about KROHNE’s complete line of measuring instrumentation for the process industries, contact KROHNE at 1-800-FLOWING (978-535-6060 in MA); fax: (978) 535-1720, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.us.krohne.com

Technology replaces error-prone manual record keeping and monitors energy and utilities parameters, improving efficiency and productivity.

Emerson has just announced the release of its new Clean In Place (CIP) Utilities and Automated Reporting Analytics package delivered via PACEdge™ and Movicon™ platforms on an industrial edge control device. The software aids in digitally transforming manual and semi-automated systems by optimizing utilities consumption, benchmarking against known cycles and generating automated reports that can be used to reduce energy consumption and improve productivity in a single system or throughout a facility.

The CIP Utilities & Automated Reporting Analytics package combines Emerson’s deep application expertise and industry knowledge with advanced technology to convert process and utilities data into actionable insights for the food and beverage industries and other environments that use clean- and steam-in-place operations.

Equipped with the data and analytics provided by the software, plant managers, operators and maintenance personnel can view the information on a dashboard and share the insights with sustainability officers and other stakeholders to optimize their CIP cycles. The software package can be customized and layered into an existing system, or Emerson can provide a turn-key solution of hardware, instrumentation, valves and analytics.

The CIP Utilities & Automated Reporting Analytics allows plant managers, operators and maintenance personnel to convert process and utilities data into actionable insights for industries and environments that use clean- and steam-in-place operations.The CIP Utilities & Automated Reporting Analytics allows plant managers, operators and maintenance personnel to convert process and utilities data into actionable insights for industries and environments that use clean- and steam-in-place operations.

Central to food and beverage production, clean-in-place systems clean and sanitize internal piping, tanks and machines between product batches to help facilities meet government regulations and guarantee product quality and safety. CIP skids that don’t have sensors and analytics software in place require manual reporting, which can be time-consuming and susceptible to errors, especially when data is transferred by hand into reports. These skids may also run at unnecessarily long preset cycles and use more time and resources than required for effective cleaning.

Digitally transformed and optimized CIP processes, in comparison, only use the time, media, water, energy and labor required for effective cleaning, significantly reducing waste and increasing production time.

“Food and beverage manufacturers typically spend about 30% of utility costs on clean-in-place operations. They also lose time between changeovers and spend between 20 to 40 thousand dollars in labor costs for manual reporting,” said Amit Patel, director digital transformation for discrete and industrial at Emerson. “Emerson’s new CIP Utilities and Automated Reporting Analytics software package collects and analyzes data in real time and presents it as a report, equipping plant managers, CIP operators, maintenance personnel and sustainability officers with the actionable insights to optimize wash cycle settings, including duration and media use, for maximum efficiency and productivity.”

The CIP Utilities & Automated Reporting Analytics software package can help CIP operators better understand and forecast energy use, water consumption and resource needs. Generated reports can be used to satisfy regulation compliance, plan system maintenance, schedule downtime and order media supplies, and deeper analytics can be used to identify insights and trends that support predictive maintenance schedules and facilitate standardization of CIP processes across production facilities.

The agnostic software is compatible with any CIP equipment, which empowers manufacturers to control the digitization of their systems no matter what stage of the digital transformation journey they are in and to integrate any or all Emerson components and customize the solution for their needs.

Additional resources:
● Join the Emerson Exchange 365 Community
● Connect with Emerson’s Automation Solutions business via Twitter Facebook LinkedIn YouTube

About Emerson
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.

Innodisk, a leading global provider of industrial-grade flash storage, DRAM memory and embedded peripherals, has announced its latest step into the AI market, with the launch of EXMU-X261, an FPGA Machine Vision Platform. Powered by AMD’s Xilinx Kria K26 SOM, which was designed to enable smart city and smart factory applications, Innodisk’s FPGA Machine Vision Platform is set to lead the way for industrial system integrators looking to develop machine vision applications.

Automated defect inspection, a key machine vision application, is an essential technology in modern manufacturing. Automated visual inspection guarantees that the product works as expected and meets specifications. In these cases, it is vital that a fast and highly accurate inspection system is used. Without AI, operators must manually inspect each product, taking an average of three seconds per item. Now, with the help of AI solutions such as Innodisk’s FPGA Machine Vision Platform, product inspection in factories can be automated, and the end result is not only faster and cheaper, but can be completely free of human error.

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Innodisk’s FPGA Machine Vision Platform comes with 1GbE LAN, 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, 2 M.2 slots, and a series of other expansion and connectivity options. Thanks to the platform’s 0° to 70 °C operational temperature support, and optional industrial temperature support from -40° to +85°C, EXMU-X261 is tough enough for the harshest of industrial environments. In addition, EXMU-X261 features support for Innodisk’s InnoAgent out-of-band remote management module, allowing the platform to be remotely managed from anywhere, even during a system crash or an in-band network failure. This is important for any automated system, as it allows for it to be completely unmanned, which further reduces manpower and maintenance costs.

Customers can take advantage of AMD’s Xilinx Kria K26 SOM’s ability to quickly get applications to market thanks to EXMU-X261’s full support for Innodisk’s AI Suite SDK. The suite includes an FPGA Model Zoo, as well as Innodisk’s in-house software solutions, such as iCAP (Innodisk Cloud Administration Platform), and iVIT (Innodisk Vision Intelligence Toolkit). iVIT for example, provides a deep learning environment for efficient development and deployment of “no-code-operation” solutions.

Valmet will supply a flue gas condensing process to Vantaa Energy’s new high-temperature incineration plant in Vantaa, Finland. The plant is designed to process household and industry waste that is classified as hazardous and not suitable for recycling.

The order is included in Valmet’s orders received of the fourth quarter 2022. Its value will not be disclosed, but such an order is typically worth over EUR 15 million. The project will start in 2022 and the plant is scheduled for completion in 2025.

The flue gas condensing equipment recovers heat from the incineration process. The waste heat produced will be utilized in the heating of properties in Vantaa. The waste heat obtained from the plant will reduce the need for using natural gas and fossil fuels and supports the transition to clean energy production.

“The high-temperature incineration plant treating non-recyclable hazardous waste continues Vantaa Energy’s investment programme to phase out the use of fossil fuels in the company’s energy production as soon as possible and to continue towards carbon-negative energy production in 2030. Energy utilization of waste and carbon capture and processing into new products play a key role in our strategy. For Vantaa Energy the high safety level of the technology and design solutions used, implementation of the investment projects according to stringent targets and the high degree of availability of the plants are extremely important. We are delighted to have Valmet as our partner in the high temperature incineration plant project,” says Vantaa Energy’s CEO Jukka Toivonen.

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“The project is an excellent example of Valmet’s ambition to provide sustainable emission reduction solutions to our customers, and we are happy to share the journey toward a carbon negative future with Vantaa Energy,” says Lari-Matti Kuvaja, Manager, Sales & Technology, Environmental Systems, Pulp and Energy, Valmet.

Technical information about the delivery

The delivery will include a complete flue gas cleaning process consisting of an evaporative cooler, a baghouse filter with conditioned dry sorption (semi-dry), a condensing flue gas scrubber with heat recovery and condensate treatment, and a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) for removal of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

About the customer

Vantaa Energy Ltd is one of Finland’s largest city energy companies, producing heat, electricity and energy efficiency services. The company enables a smooth everyday life for its customers by producing constantly developing services in a climate-friendly way. The energy sector plays a significant role in the mitigation of climate change. Vantaa Energy Ltd wants to be part of the solution by being a growing circular economy energy company that invests in finding carbon-neutral energy solutions. The company will phase out fossil fuels by 2026 and is progressing towards carbon negativity by 2030.

Valmet is a leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. With our automation systems and flow control solutions we serve an even wider base of process industries. Our 17,500 professionals around the world work close to our customers and are committed to moving our customers’ performance forward – every day.

The company has over 220 years of industrial history and a strong track record in continuous improvement and renewal. In 2022, a major milestone was achieved when the flow control company Neles was merged into Valmet. The combined company’s net sales in 2021 were approximately EUR 4.5 billion based on the respective company figures.

Valmet’s shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and the head office is in Espoo, Finland.   

Follow us on valmet.com

Ever wondered how a touch-sensitive screen works? The answer is capacitive sensing, which can detect the presence of your finger through the protective glass sheet and doesn’t require any pressure. However, this perhaps under-appreciated technology is not limited to touch-sensitive displays: it is increasingly being utilized for many other established and emerging applications, ranging from automotive controls to leak sensing and even eye tracking.

How Does Capacitive Sensing Work?

Understanding the operating mechanism of capacitive sensors is key to understanding the applications to which they are well suited. Briefly, the sensors work via capacitive coupling to detect objects that have dielectric properties substantially different from air – fingers, being mainly water, work well. Since electric fields can travel through dielectric materials such as air or glass, there is no requirement for electrical contact. However, depending on sensitivity and readout methodology, the object being sensed often needs to be close to the patterned conductive layer, which is why it’s often difficult to use touchscreens or other capacitive controls while wearing gloves.

Opaque Touch Sensing

Although capacitive sensing is widely associated with touch-sensitive displays, it is also increasingly used on opaque surfaces. These include car steering wheel controls and touch panels – the conductive material used to make the capacitive sensor is sometimes a transparent metal mesh so that the controls can be backlit. Capacitive touch sensing is also an essential feature of in-mold electronics, in which conductive traces and LEDs are first printed/mounted on a flat substrate, then thermoformed, and finally, injection molded.

Moving from conventional mechanical switches to capacitive switches brings multiple benefits: fewer components, a reduction in materials used, an interface that can be wiped clean (since there are no grooves between buttons), and a sleek modern aesthetic. However, some drivers have expressed concerns that capacitive sensors are less tactile and hence more difficult to use while driving – integrating haptic feedback is a possible solution.

Technological and commercial readiness of capacitive sensing technologies and applications. Source: IDTechEx

Leak Sensing

As anyone who has tried to operate their smartphone in the rain will attest, capacitive sensors are extremely sensitive to water due to its high dielectric constant. While this might be undesirable on a touch-sensitive display, it does enable capacitive sensors to be used for leak detection.

By utilizing low-cost materials such as carbon inks printed onto plastic using conventional methods, it is possible to produce rolls of printed/flexible sensors for just a few dollars. These can then be placed around plumbing, under kitchen appliances, and even along pipes – a small control unit housing a circuit board with a micro-controller and batteries measures the changing capacitance. If a leak occurs, a change in capacitance is detected, and a signal is sent to an app to provide a notification. This capability is proving compelling to insurance companies since limited capital investment would substantially limit the property damage caused by any leak.

Eye-Tracking

Perhaps the most surprising emerging application of capacitive sensors is an early-stage technology that provides eye-tracking for virtual/augmented reality glasses. Based on multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) embedded within paper to produce a conductive material with a very large surface area and hence high sensitivity to changes in the dielectric environment. Utilizing three sensors enables projected capacitance, in which the relative response of each sensor enables the location of the change in dielectric properties of the target object to be determined via triangulation. Compared to competing approaches such as machine vision, capacitive sensing promises a much shorter processing time and hence a more responsive system.

Emerging Printed & Flexible Sensor Technologies

IDTechEx’s report “Printed and Flexible Sensors 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Markets” assesses the technologies and market landscape across 9 distinct printed sensor technologies: piezoresistive sensors, piezoelectric sensors, printed photodetectors, temperature sensors, strain sensors, capacitive touch sensors, gas sensors, biological sensors, wearable electrodes. The report draws on detailed profiles of over 50 companies, the majority based on interviews, to evaluate each of these printed sensor categories in considerable detail, evaluating the different technologies and the challenges to adoption. IDTechEx develop 10-year market forecasts for each technology and application sector, resulting in 33 individual forecast segments delineated by revenue and printed sensor area.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

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