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Article: Nanotimes


Pressurex film placed here

In this edition, we want to introduce an interesting global player specializing in tactile surface pressure and force sensors: SENSOR PRODUCTS INC. This privately-held company was founded in 1990 and is located in Madison, New Jersey, USA. At the moment, it employs 25 people.

SENSOR PRODUCTS INC. is a world leader in the manufacture and distribution of tactile pressure indicating solutions. Their customized and off-the shelf products are installed within all of the Fortune 500 industrial companies as well as thousands of smaller manufacturing firms. Their sensors are used in applications as diverse as tire testing to semiconductor manufacturing and from R&D labs to space missions.

Additionally, SENSOR PRODUCTS INC. provides in-house and on-site stress and pressure mapping analysis and consulting, as well as a variety of regional technical seminars.

The companys name is also its motto. SENSOR PRODUCTS INC. offers a wide variety of application areas and specific products. Jeffrey G. Stark, CEO of SENSOR PRODUCTS INC., stresses in an exclusive interview with nanotimes: We are one of the few firms in the world that make tactile surface sensors. We are the only company that approaches our market with more than one technology (both resistive and capacitive technologies).

Earlier in 2009, for example, the firm introduced Pressurex®, a pressure indicating film that reveals pressure magnitude and distribution between any contacting or mating surfaces to the photovoltaics industry. In the photovoltaics industry, the need to reduce peripheral cracks on solar cells has received much attention. Pressurex® provides a low cost solution for quality control checks during equipment setup, calibration, as well as re-qualification of a solar module production line. Negative occurrences such as cracked substrates, squeeze out of materials from the module, and unwanted encapsulant thickness can be reduced, if not eliminated, by measuring and optimizing the quantity of applied pressure.

Furthermore, the company produces various grades of impact and damage indicating paints. Asked for application areas, Stark mentions security whereby a client needs to monitor breach, entry or disruption ... [and] aerospace applications where a client needs to measure impact forces on the leading edge of the wing. According to Jeffrey Stark, the company increasingly responds to the rising cleantech market even though it represents a rather small portion of their market, presently. With respect to solar, we are a valuable aid in the lamination stage of panels. With respect to wind, we play a role in helping fabricate composite (blades) structures.

Bond Tool Images Show Improvement to the Pressure Uniformity as Captured by Pressure Indicating Film
Bond Tool Images Show Improvement to the Pressure Uniformity as Captured by Pressure Indicating Film.

MICRALYNE Inc. uses Pressurex® to adjust the compression exerted by their bonding tools. Early testing of bonding results analyzed with the film reveals a donut shaped high pressure ring with relatively little pressure applied to the center (left). After a series of adjustments the final result is a more uniform distribution of pressure (right).© Sensor Products Inc.

Future products include an equestrian sensor for horse saddle pressure measurement, a spray sensor for measuring the pressure patter of various nozzles, and a face mask for evaluating pressure around the perimeter of a surgical mask.

Regarding the current economic climate we asked about the impact on the business. SENSOR PRODUCTS INC. experienced a downturn. Jeffrey Stark summarizes: The company has suffered a 20% sales declined last year as a result of the financial crisis. However, we are poised for recovery and have begun to see a turnaround in our sales. We have taken the time over the past few months to deepen our expertise and find new applications for our products. We are continuing to innovate, researching and developing new products to pursue. Despite the recession, my goals for the company remain the same.

PointScan® unit pictured atop a pressure indicating film image of a fuel cell. © Sensor Products Inc.
PointScan® unit pictured atop a pressure indicating film image of a fuel cell. © Sensor Products Inc.

Regarding the overall economic situation he adds: We believe that we are going to start seeing a little bit of pick-up but the largest boost wont be until the end of the year. We are hoping and anticipating that some of our clients are going to be back up again at a greater level of capacity but never again or at least not for the forseeable future will they be at former levels of capacity.

But CEO Jeffrey Stark is looking ahead and he has every right to do so. His business will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. He has achieved quite a lot during this time. Mr. Stark comments on the companys milestones:

We launched our seminars division 5 years ago that has enjoyed explo- sive growth and has served thousands of our clients in the interest of further educating them in the markets they serve. We launched our first electronics products 11 years ago (Tactilus®) to augment the pressure film (Pressurex®) product line. Our Sigma-Nip® electronic roller systems, launched over the past 5 years, are diagnosing and helping to align rollers in pulp & paper mills, print and converting operations worldwide. Were the first surface pressure measurement sensor company to investigate and test silicon based MEMS sensors for surface profiling. And we have established a network of distributors worldwide and are continuing to accept inquiries from distributors who are interested in selling our products.

In the future, he sees the most growth potential for photovoltaics. And, generally, the company is receptive to outside investors in suitable niche markets.

Image top right: Tactilus® is a matrix-based tactile surface sensor. © Sensor Products Inc.
Image top right: Tactilus® is a matrix-based tactile surface sensor. © Sensor Products Inc.