Title
Water Purity Measurement System
Microsystems technology reduces sensor cost
Technologies used

    Microsystems

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Precision Instruments
    333 Process Control Equipment
    331 Medical Instruments
Abstract

Spike Prosys Ltd (trading as Process Systems) is a small company specialising in the design, manufacture and marketing of electronic equipment for measuring water quality. The company has been trading for over 6 years, has 7 employees and had sales in 1999 of approximately 313 K Euro. Process Systems’ product range includes its hand-held and wall mounted equipment for measuring pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity of liquids, and related accessories.

The market for water purity measurement is global and this is even more so for very pure water. The company therefore has a niche position, developing products for specific applications. These operate with various sensors that measure the conductivity of the water. These sensors currently require individual calibration to achieve the desired accuracy of measuring ultra pure water. The current technology applied in these equipment rely on discrete components and microcontroller devices.

The objective of this Application Experiment (AE) is to replace the existing resitivity sensors used with these products by developing a Micro-Systems Technology (MST) based conductivity sensor which will give better accuracy, reliability and flexibility than current sensors and at a lower cost. The rationale for the product improvement is that the delivery of these improved characteristics would deliver the ability to:

  • Incorporate the lower cost sensors in the smaller, bench top water purification
    machinery that cannot currently use sensors because of their cost.
  • Increase the number of probes in larger water purification machines from one to
    one at each purification stage (up to 4 per system).

The improved performance of the sensor will lead to increased company sales.

The duration of the application experiment was 12 months. The prototype development costs were 66 K Euro. The prototype development successfully delivered a working prototype sensor, but the anticipated production mask development stage was delayed to the industrialisation phase.

The payback period for these costs will be 2 years. The Return on Investment over a 4 year period is calculated as 375 %. Over a projected product lifetime of the MST sensor design of over 10 years, the ROI value will exceed 1,000%. The total cost of industrialisation is estimated to be 60 K Euro.

The company has derived additional benefits in the areas of microsystem specification definition, cost estimating, assessment methods and in managing a project where the skills do not all reside within the company.

Company

    Spike Prosys Ltd (trading as Process Systems Ltd.)
    Green Lane,
    Mansfield
    Notts NG18 4BJ
    United Kingdom.


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microsystems technology provided Spike Prosys Ltd. 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.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom