The MTCouncil Blog :: January


by John Gallant, senior executive at Traction Technology Partners

The January webinar for the Manufacturing Tech Council (MTC) focused on advanced sensors and I want to share some great content that provides additional perspective and insight into the rapid evolution of sensor technology. From the Industrial Internet of Things to autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0 to medical care, new types of sensors are changing the game and creating new opportunities for improved operations, reduced maintenance, and new revenue sources.

In this interview, a top executive with InvenSense, a TDK company that is focused on the MEMS (micro-electro mechanical systems) market, shares his thoughts on how advanced sensors will drive changes in robotics, wellness, and smart factories. The interviewee, Dr. Peter Hartwell, shares this point about IIoT in particular: “Sensors are the center of the IoT for gathering, processing, and outputting valuable data. Sensors will ultimately enable connected devices to behave autonomously by being contextually aware of their environment, and thus able to make independent, intelligent decisions. All of this data collection, processing, and transmission must take place in a way that offloads processing from primary applications, thereby saving system power and improving performance in always-on scenarios.”

Quality magazine looks specifically at how enhancements in sensor technology are improving quality control. “Thanks to advancements in laser measurement technology, sensors can now measure more challenging targets (including clear, reflective, and low contrast targets) and can handle multiple inspection tasks with one sensor. In addition, with IO-Link communication, it is becoming easier to track sensor performance, identify trends in inspection results, and even predict when maintenance is needed so that simple problems like a dirty lens can be fixed prior to sensor failure.”

If you’d like to learn more about the IO-Link networking protocol, you can read this piece from Wikipedia.

The presentation from AMFitzgerald and Associates takes a little while to gather steam (the meat of the material really begins at slide 8), but it provides a good overview of some critical advanced sensor technology to watch for the future. That list includes event-driven sensors, biodegradable batteries, 3D-printed sensors, and more. The company also looks at what the emergence of these sensor types means for various industries. Note: The appendix mentions a number of papers and research reports that appear to be quite valuable. I wouldn’t read them to the family around the fire, but there’s a lot of intellectual firepower therein.

If you’ve found other great content on advanced sensors or other emerging technologies we’re watching, let me know and I’ll share with the group. To find out more about the MTC, contact Nina Pfister at for a demo.

Thanks, and happy reading.

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