Silicon Micromachined Flow Sensor with integrated temperature compensation
Achieves 1% accuracy at 0 to 5 m/s
Technologies used

Silicon micromachining

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Instruments and appliances for measurement, checking and testing
Muco Industrie B.V. is a small Dutch based company, employing 6 people. Muco's core business is the development of micro-electronic based products to client specifications, including HVAC equipment. Recently Muco has developed, with their strategic partner Alusta, a flow sensor for very low velocity up to 5m/sec. This is used in controlled natural ventilation applications in commercial office buildings. Since natural ventilation contributes to the reduction of energy consumption and can improve the health of people, this market is expanding. In addition, from year 2000 onwards standards for domestic houses will be increased, opening additional market possibilities for self-controlled natural ventilation systems.

Whilst the existing sensor could be used in these applications it has performance limitations. These have to be improved to prevent a loss of market share for the existing commercial market and to capitalise on the new domestic market possibilities. The limitations of the existing hybrid sensor relate to the mass of the sensor which in turn influences the temperature of the environment and hence the accuracy of the sensor, especially around zero-flow. It is also important that the sensor can measure reverse flow, is not vulnerable to transport, and is reproducible.

The design of the new Silicon micro-machined sensor, based on MST-technology will meet the future performance requirements. The project to develop this took 22 months and cost 141.6 KECU. Additional investment to develop the Home system for ventilation in domestic houses will be about 416 KECU including costs of industrialisation and marketing. The product will be put on to test-markets in mid 1999. Due to the lead time of the market introducing a new product and because of legislation sales will take up from 2001onwards The pay-back period will be 24 months and the ROI will be approximately 2 assuming a 3 year product life cycle.

The new flow sensor is unique in terms of its performance over the velocity range (0-5 m/sec) so it is expected that it can be exploited in many other market areas. The layout for this will be patented. In addition, aerodynamic testing tools for the sensor and product which were developed during the AE have potential applications, and will be patented.

Muco found that a good agreement with your subcontractor is the basis for a good night's rest, but a human fit is as important as a contract. New grounds had to be covered with this sensor. With good project management, co-operation with a subcontractor having an academic background can be successful. Gaining in-depth knowledge of the world of your strategic partner and your subcontractor is a key success factor.

Product development based on flow sensors asks for a multi-disciplinary approach with regard to chip design, mounting requirements, aerodynamics, testing, fine mechanics, end user market size and design for assembly and production
Muco Industrie B.V.
Bilderdijkstraat 118

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Silicon micromachining technology provided Muco Industrie B.V. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
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