Pressure People Ponder and Predict, Finale

Sensors Insights by Mat Dirjish

For the final leg of this survey we'll be doing some virtual traveling, both in location and into the not-so-far future. In parts one, two, and three of this saga, the pressure sensor makers have pinpointed what are the current hottest categories for innovation and growth as well how long they feel these areas will remain hot. Now they answer what some referred to as the hardest question to answer: what countries and areas within them do you see this innovation and future growth happening?

Very likely, if we asked the "person on the street" the most common response would be China or some other Asian country. Off the top, based on recent environmental reports, China may offer great opportunities for makers of air-quality sensors. But let's stick with what the people in the trenches say.

"This is a tough question", says Greg Montrose at American Sensor Technologies. "The industrial market continues to show innovation. Customers continue to replace manual gauges with pressure sensors to continuously monitor and remotely monitor pressure and temperature. Many developments in the industrial market then expand into automotive in lower cost assemblies or oil and gas in higher accuracy and hazardous area certified products." He concludes, "The US continues to provide top quality education for engineers, thus continuing innovation. Engineers are coming out of school with a greater overall understanding of electromechanical devices, but many times have to rely on manufacturers for their expertise. We feel that we are positioned well to support innovation in each market segment with our manufacturing and sales support located in the US."

Eric Anderson at Honeywell looks to "China and India for process control and where products are manufactured" and back to the "USA and Europe for product design and consumption." His Honeywell colleague Ketan Mehta partially concurs, citing "Asia Pacific for demand generation to support manufacturing operations" and "design activities will be carried out globally. We see that trend continuing to grow."

"World-wide" says Acuity Micro's Jim Knutti, taking the global route, "a lot of the segmented sensor industry is in Europe, but we are seeing a number of new specialty applications in the US as well."

Nader Najafi at Integrated Sensing Systems also has the US on the radar screen, pointing directly to "Western Europe and North America." Half in the same ballpark, Dale Gee at GE/Nova Sensor confidently cites "China and the US." And Scott Dalgleish at Phase IV Engineering also sees growth "starting in the United States".

The folks at Sensor Platforms take a somewhat different view. They foresee innovation and future growth happening in, naturally "Asia", but add "South America and possible innovation from the Middle East; funding for innovation at least." The funding from the Middle East might be possibility to watch for.

Overall though, judging by the responses, there is growing confidence in development and some manufacturing returning to US shores. That could be indicative of many factors, some of which may be political. But this could be good news for TURCK's Kyle Horsman. He says, "It may be a very optimistic thought, but I would really like to believe that this [innovation and growth] can be driven within the United States. There is an amazing pool of knowledge and talents within this country to help drive innovation and keep us in the front of new technology development."

Things look good now and hopefully will continue. Question, do you agree? ~MD

Here are some interesting websites for the pressure-sensor curious.

Design and fabrication of a MEMS-array pressure sensor system for passive underwater navigation inspired by the lateral line

Tutorial - Design and Manufacture of Automotive Pressure Sensors

Water Pressure Sensor Capabilities

Video - How to Choose a Pressure Transducer

Design optimization of a piezoresistive pressure sensor considering the output signal-to-noise ratio

Model-based design of MEMS resonant pressure sensors

How to Select the Ideal Pressure Sensor

Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems Forge Advancements and Use of Pressure Sensor Technology

Pressure-Sensor Roundups:
   Part 1
   Part 2

Mat Dirjish is Executive Editor of Sensors magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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