Electronic Sensor Companies

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Electronic Sensor Companies 1

Nano Dimensions, and EWI are two companies that integrate electronic sensors into metal structures. The requested details for each company has been entered into the attached spreadsheet.

Nano Dimensions

  • Nano Dimension's DragonFly Pro System has the ability to print 3D sensors onto metal.
  • The company has also partnered with Chungbuk Technopark to streamline electronics development and work to further integrate electronics into existing features.
  • The company's annual revenue in 2018 was $5.1 million, and had a profit of $734 thousand.
  • In December 2019, Yoav Stern was appointed as the new CEO for Nano Dimensions.

EWI

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Electronic Sensor Companies 2

Two additional companies that integrate electronic sensors into metal structures are Luna Innovations and Opsens Solutions. Details regarding these companies have been provided in rows 6 and 7 of the attached spreadsheet. Below is a summary of the key findings.

Summary of Findings

  • In 2018, Luna Innovations partnered with Fabrisonic to create 3D printed smart structures.
  • The two companies will focus on integrating sensors into important 3D printed parts so that data from inside the components can be analyzed.
  • Luna Innovations had revenue of $42.9 million in 2018.
  • In 2019, Opsens Solutions won a tender from ElectroKinetic Solutions for supplying over 100 fiber optic sensors.
  • The sensors will be used in a new dewatering process.

Research Strategy

While we found most of the information, we could not find data regarding Opsens Solution's annual profit. We first looked at company resources such as annual reports and the company website. However, these sources only provided revenue information. We then looked at media platforms such as Forbes, Business Wire, and CNBC but these websites did not provide any information or news regarding Opsens Solutions. Therefore, we attempted to look at data aggregators such as Owler and Crunchbase. However, these sites only provided revenue information and funding details of the company. For these reasons, we concluded that the information is not available in the public domain.
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Electronic Sensor Trends

Trends in the electronic sensor space that specifically involve companies that integrate electronic sensors into metal structures include the emergence of additive manufacturing technologies, the growing range of aerospace and defense applications, and the advancement of efforts to make embedding technologies more accessible.

Emergence of Additive Manufacturing Technologies

  • Several additive manufacturing technologies have emerged that enable engineers to embed electronic sensors in metallic structures. Otherwise known as 3D printing technologies, these technologies create products by adding materials layer by layer. Proprietary additive manufacturing technologies that have recently surfaced point to this trend.
  • Fabrisonic, for example, has its ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) technology that utilizes ultrasonic vibrations in joining 3D-printed metal foils together.
  • Unlike other embedding technologies that involve melting and make use of energy heat sources such as e-beams or lasers, UAM makes use of high-frequency vibrations that scrub or join metal foils layer by layer. The low-temperature and solid-state characteristics of the joining process allow the direct integration of electronic components into dense metallic structures. The end result is a product that is more reliable and secure than one that was formed using conventional embedding technologies.
  • Fabrisonic's UAM technology also has the ability to join dissimilar metals and create gradient materials.
  • MesoScribe, another player in the space, has its Direct Write Thermal Spray (DWTS) technology called MesoPlasma, which has the ability to 3D print electronics such as sensors onto metal substrates.
  • Optomec, another company in the space, has its Aerosol Jet technology, which utilizes aerodynamic focusing to deposit electronic inks in metal substrates with high precision and accuracy. Sensors are among the conformal electronics the technology can print.
  • Advances in 3D metal printing have made it possible for new electronic sensor embedding technologies to emerge. The applications of 3D printing in embedded electronics used to be limited to embedding conductors or wires in a 3D-printed polymer, but innovations in the space have made 3D metal printing possible.

Growing Range of Aerospace and Defense Applications

  • The aerospace and defense industries are proving to be key markets for companies that embed electronic sensors in metal structures. The ways in which these sensors can be used in the aerospace and defense industries is apparently growing in number. Additionally, several players in the space are catering to the needs of the aerospace and defense industries.
  • Fabrisonic, for example, has teamed up with Luna Innovations to produce 3D printed smart structures for the Defense Logistics Agency and NASA. Luna Innovations' fiber optic sensors will be embedded in 3D printed metal parts using Fabrisonic's UAM technology.
  • The resulting smart structures can be used for high fidelity control, health monitoring, and other research purposes, but the primary purpose of these smart structures is to deliver data from critical internal components. Among the data to be delivered are heat flux, pressure, and temperature.
  • The Fabrisonic and Luna Innovations team has two contracts. The first contract involves the development of a smart baseplate for the Defense Logistics Agency, while the second contract involves the development of a smart pipe for NASA. The smart baseplate will be used in Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) systems, while the smart pipe will be used in fuel systems.
  • The aerospace and defense industries are also among the primary markets that MesoScribe serves.
  • Electronic sensors that are embedded in metal structures are more secure and reliable than those embedded in non-metal structures, so they naturally are the better option for companies in the aerospace and defense industries. They enable companies in these two industries to collect more precise and accurate data.

Advancement of Efforts to Make Embedding Technologies More Accessible

  • Efforts are being taken to make embedding technologies more accessible to organizations outside the aerospace and defense industries. The aerospace and defense industries are the high-impact markets for these technologies, but they are not necessarily the only industries to benefit from these technologies. Universities, for example, stand to gain from an improved access to these technologies.
  • One company that is taking steps to improve accessibility is Fabrisonic, which recently launched an affordable UAM machine, the SonicLayer 1200. The new machine can be considered Fabrisonic's entry-level machine. It is expected that the affordable cost of the machine will give universities and companies outside the aerospace and defense industries improved access to Fabrisonic's UAM technology.
  • With the launch of the new machine, smaller organizations can now gain the ability to embed sensors in fully dense metal structures.
  • Previous large-scale Fabrisonic systems have been out of reach for these organizations because they are expensive. Fabrisonic launched SonicLayer 1200 as a solution to this problem.

Research Strategy

To gain a better understanding of the market of interest, we first examined the websites of Fabrisonic and MesoScribe, the two companies that were provided as examples. By examining both websites, we learned that both Fabrisonic and MesoScribe embed or 3D print electronic sensors onto metal structures, and each company has its own proprietary additive manufacturing technology. Armed with this information, we then proceeded to identify the ongoing trends. We did this by (a) looking at the recent activities of Fabrisonic, MesoScribe, and similar companies such as Optomec, (b) researching about the latest innovations, advances, or developments in embedded sensors and 3D metal printing, and (c) examining the products, services, and technologies that were presented at relevant expos.
Sources
Sources