Process safety and, in particular, the monitoring of processes are essential in the field of dosing technology. For this reason, ViscoTec offers comprehensive concepts for the integration of the piezoresistive sensor flowplus16 in various areas of application.
The pressure sensor flowplus16 is a patented proprietary development of the dosing technology specialist from Töging. This is used specifically for process monitoring of fluid backpressures. ViscoTec is a manufacturer of equipment that are required for the promotion, dosing, application, filling and removal of low to high viscosity media. The company’s products are designed for precise, purely volumetric dosing of liquids and have successfully been on the market for the last 20 years. ViscoTec products are appreciated worldwide. Not least because of its unique quality – Made in Germany. The various fields of application include the automotive, electrical and electronics industries, medical technology, aerospace, renewable energies, hybrid technology and measurement and sensor technology. The flowplus16, which came onto the market in 2013, originated from sensor technology projects. Strong demand – especially from the medical technology sensor – has confirmed that ViscoTec has made the right decision to drive the development of the pressure sensor.
Tobias Maier (Product Manager in the Components & Devices division) from ViscoTec in an interview about the fluid sensor flowplus16 and its applications.
Mr. Maier, from dosing technology to pressure monitoring in medical technology – how has this come about?
Maier: What may appear unusual at first glance is, on closer inspection, only the consequence of successful product policy. The fluid sensor, flowplus16, was originally developed for use in pressure and process monitoring in our dosing systems. Due to its special features, it is also suitable for applications in medical technology.
What specific features are you referring to, or which USP does the flowplus16 offer to your customers in medical technology?
Maier: The greatest advantage of the sensor is the uniqueness of the sensor itself. Thanks to its Luer-Lock connection and its compact design, the flowplus16 is ideally suited for integration into existing systems with a reduced space. The optimum cleanability and the fact that all product-contacting areas of the flow channel consist of chemically highly resistant, and at the same time FDA-compliant, elastomers. These advantages make the sensor so unique to our customers. It doesn’t get any easier! The sensor offers solutions for various application-specific challenges. What is ever-present under the term Industry 4.0 in the automotive industry, has long been an essential component and necessary basis for the production of medical devices. Process safety and their best possible documentation are the forefront of production engineering considerations. Our sensor supports process monitoring by means of complete pressure monitoring in static and dynamic fluid applications. The integrated signal processing makes intuitive handling possible. With a sampling rate of up to 3 kHz, air bubbles are avoided in the sensor. Even the detection of viscosity fluctuations is sometimes possible.
Give us an example in practice.
Maier: I often receive customer requests, which shows me how many different applications are possible for our sensor. Thanks to the Luer-Lock principle, all connecting systems can be easily and quickly combined with medical technology. Applications for air bubble recognition, for example in catheters or infusion tubes or for recording injection pressures in syringes and cannulae, are frequently encountered. Numerous research facilities are also using our technology. And the simple signal evaluation helps to reduce the documentation effort normally incurred in such applications.
Thanks to a linear, power-amplified and temperature-compensated output signal, the data evaluation is very simple.
Are there any recognizable trends for sensors in the medical technology sector?
Maier: I personally see great potential in monitoring sterilization processes, for example, in the field of cleaning and disinfecting devices for endoscopes (RDGE). There is clearly a future for the use of sensors in routine monitoring and control, as well as for logging the data acquired for validation purposes.
What makes you so sure?
Maier: Experience shows that there is a real need for process safety. The market needs a reliable flow-pressure measurement. Current methods of measurement are using pressure diaphragm and these methods falsify the known measured values. In order to ensure an optimal cleaning process, continuous pressure monitoring in the endoscope channels during the cleaning cycle is, however, indispensable. Entry requirements in the medical technology sector are becoming more and more demanding, but we offer solutions that can be achieved with our products. I am anxious to see where the journey takes us.