New infrastructure for quality assurance of sensors

Recently the new, worldwide unique drying and poling machine for Pyzoflex® sensors of JOANNEUM RESEARCH at the Institut MATERIALS in Weiz has been put into operation. The drying and poling machine for piezo- and pyroelectric sensors printed on foils on a large area contributes to the quality testing and improvement of these sensors. This opens up new possibilities for business and industry for innovative, future-proof sensor technologies and products.

New infrastructure for quality assurance of sensors

Together with an Austrian company, a team from MATERIALS, the Institute for Surface Technologies and Photonics at JOANNEUM RESEARCH, developed the poling system, which is unique in the world and has recently been put into operation for research purposes.

Project manager Martin Zirkl, specialist for ferroelectric polymer sensors, explains the function of the new plant:

"After the sensors have been applied to film, they have to undergo a drying and poling process for heating and activation. Recent investigations have shown that drying and poling have a significant influence on the properties of the sensors".

The quality and thus the reliability in the application of the sensors is extremely important - for example for the safety of people working with robots. The sensors must react very precisely to pressure so that there is no risk of injury to people.

MATERIALS is now trying to close the gap between pressure and quality assurance of sensors with a completely new method using the unique and specially developed system.

"Our recent research into the screen printing processes used to manufacture the sensors has shown that sensor sensitivity and quality is much more dependent than previously thought on the details of the drying and poling processes of the sensors, which follow directly after the printing process of the sensors," explains Zirkl.

"With the new devices, we want to deepen and further develop our research work in the field of functionalisation of different surface materials for PyzoFlex® sensor technology and prepare them for new innovative applications such as condition monitoring in industrial environments," says Zirkl, explaining the added value for business and industry.

The infrastructure was supported by the Styrian Future Fund for Research Infrastructure in the area of "non-economic use".