Smart Sensing Technologies -The Future of Manufacturing

Increasing demand for automated, self-regulating, machinery has led to a micro industry of businesses investing heavily to provide the very latest smart technologies. As machines get smarter and consumer requirements become ever more complicated, investment in innovation has become key to business growth.

The traditional weighing technology industry is one such area that has, in recent years, had to invest and evolve. Business has remained stable for traditional weighing technologies, but in recent years there has been a change from tradition to innovation, fueled by process automation and control.

Automation and the increase in smart machinery has propelled the humble load/force sensor into a key component for self-regulating machines. These types of sensors have traditionally been big, bulky, products that have stood the test of time and continue to be used in day to day applications. Smart machinery, however, requires that these types of sensor evolve to become smaller and smarter, whilst remaining accurate and robust.

The development cycle of small, specialist sensors has been driven largely by customer demand, with miniature sensor ranges now being offered and continually developed by most of the big players in the market.

In the past year, UK based Flintec have seen a steady increase in the number of inquiries being received from industries that wouldn’t traditionally be customers. One such industry is that of 3D printer manufacturers who are developing new, more efficient ways of automating the 3D printing process. 3D printing comprises of multiple processes and materials to achieve the desired outcome. Manufactures have continually developed the printing method, and are now investigating ways to improve efficiencies by monitoring how raw materials are used.

By understanding how these materials are used, end users will be able to better monitor and adapt the printing process to their individual needs, improving productivity and eliminating waste. To achieve this, Flintec are working to develop a dynamic weighing system that will use miniature smart sensors to provide data during and after the printing process.

Projects and discussions are also underway at Flintec with some of the world’s biggest companies to provide force measuring technologies for the latest automation processes being developed, with smart weighing technologies providing the critical link between process and automation.

The drive to develop the latest smart technologies and processes has greatly benefited the traditional weighing industry.  It has promoted innovation and evolution in an industry, that has for decades, relied upon conventional technologies.

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