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Driven by a string of significant orders and demand for their fibre sensing solutions, Insensys has begun manufacturing its fibre sensor interrogator unit (FSI) in volume.
The first batches of units are rolling off the production line during the first quarter of 2004 and are destined for customers in the Oil and Gas, Wind energy and Aerospace industries.
“We listened closely to our customer base across all target markets to define the system requirements” explains Dr Lorna Everall, who led the FSI development, “Our customers wanted a compact, robust and highly cost effective system for monitoring strain and temperature profiles and we delivered just that.” Employing unique optical and electronic technology, key features of the unit include:
• Ability to interrogate 100 sensors per fibre optic cable, with each sensor measuring over a full 10,000 microstrain range
• Utilisation of identical low cost sensors, eliminating complex array configuration and facilitating ‘plug-and-play’ networks
• Solid state technology, providing a robust and reliable unit for deployment in hostile environments
• Low voltage operation combined with low power consumption, of less than 5 watts
• System miniaturisation, with a form factor of only 22 x 10 x 4cm and weighing less than 1kg
To meet the demand, Insensys has formed strategic alliances with a number of key suppliers, including Foundation Technology and SIFAM Fibre Optics. Foundation Technology, part of the Radstone Technology group, specialises in the manufacture of surface mount assembly printed circuit boards for defence and aerospace specifications. SIFAM Fibre Optics boasts 20 years experience in the manufacture of high quality optical components and modules for the optoelectronic industry.
This flexible approach to manufacture, coupled with the inherent modular nature of the FSI unit, is intended to enable Insensys to supply their customers with tailored solutions whilst providing significant discount for volume orders.
“We initially focused on making fibre optic sensors easily deployable in industrial environments” states Martin Jones, CEO of Insensys, “the ease of deployment created the demand that has enabled us to move to volume manufacture. Price reduction through volume can only stimulate further demand as an increasing number of applications become cost-effective to instrument”.
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