Zemic Europe B.V. (Netherlands) - Why use strain gauges and miniature sensors of Zemic Europe in consumer electronics?
At Zemic Europe we receive an increasing amount of inquiries for strain gauges and force sensors for the use in consumer electronics.
As this market segment is relatively new for the traditional weighing market, it motivates us to come up with innovative solutions. Consumer electronics are very application specific, so it challenges our engineering department to develop new solutions. Every question and demand needs to be translated in product characteristics.
In many of these applications we see the use of strain gauge based sensors. These sensors are contributing to a high level of consumer experience optimization. Our contribution to the innovative applications directly matches with our slogan “We believe we make you stronger”.
How Zemic Europe advise consumer electronics companies:
Zemic Europe is proud to be a partner for many companies active in the consumer electronics. We can help the R&D engineering departments in many ways if we talk about force measurement.
Our experts can think along with you about how forces can be measured in a (new) application. We have a wide range of products. In addition, we can develop customized products, together with our engineering colleagues.
In a number of consumer applications we see high impedance is a must. With our strain gauges we are able to reach an Ohm value of 5.000. Due to the demand for ultra-thin, small size and light weight strain gauges, we have developed strain gauges only weighing 0.008 gram. The thickness is only 0.045mm!
In the market of consumer electronics it is of course not the question to deliver only one force sensor or strain gauge with customer specific requirements. It is all about a high stability, reliability and above all repeatability. It usually involves larger quantities, with high stability and reliability with repeatable specifications.
More about the consumer electronics market:
In the consumer electronic market force sensors and strain gauges are often used in products that contain functions as force measurement, weighing, health monitoring and stress diagnosis. At Zemic Europe we divide the consumer electronics market into the following 4 main segments:
1. Personal Computers:
In this segment measuring pressure is the most common reason for integrating strain gauges or miniature sensors. Two examples in this segment where forces are measured are smart pencils and touch pads.
In smart pencils the finger pressure is measured. When the finger pressure is changing, the received signal in mV/V is changing. This change in resistance can be used to control many functionalities in software. For example this signal can be used for game interaction, screen zooming functions and direct onscreen translation.
In more and more touch pads we see that force sensors are built in. These kind of force sensors can detect pressure and positions. This makes it possible to draw lines of varying thickness and strength, based on the slope and pressure on the screen.
2. Personal care devices:
We see a lot of innovation and research and development in this segment. Often the use of strain gauges or miniature sensors directly affects the consumer experience. New functionality is added to already existing applications. This creates added value and improves the way of living.
With posture correctors the posture is sensed. The goal is to maintain the correct posture. If the user’s posture is not correct, the sensor inside will vibrate to alert the user to stay upright. This helps the user to adopt the best and healthiest possible posture.
Smart tooth brushes:
By analysing the user’s brushing habits by built-in sensors, it records relevant data each time you brush your teeth. Your brushing behaviour can be monitored. The app will give you feedback and tips how to improve your behaviour. It also alerts you when too much force is applied. This is to avoid possible damage to your teeth.
The force sensors in smart shavers are used for the shavers motor management. The miniature sensor senses the force applied on the skin and adjusts the motor speed during the shaving, controls the head to move easily in multiple directions. This results in a more comfortable shaving experience.
3. Leisure and entertainment:
In this segment we see new functionality being added to existing consumer applications. We also see completely new applications being developed. The following applications are often used in the leisure and entertainment sector.
By adding an ultra-thin strain gauge it is possible to control different functions of the smart glass. When touching, pressing or sliding your finger on the frame it is possible to adjust the volume settings or enable voice search.
Force sensors are applied to the pedals or the axis of the wheel. This force measurement determines the amount of additional power needed to assist cyclists. The goal is to ensure an optimal user experience.
Game console controllers:
By integrating a force measurement solution into gaming controllers, finger pressure can be integrated into controllers as an extra functionality. The functionality enables game programmers to develop new game features. This directly affects the fun experience.
4. Home appliances:
In this segment we see that force measurement becomes a more and more important feature in already existing home applications. By adding force measurement to home appliances, traditional applications give a new outstanding consumer experience.
Fridges are being fitted with special weighing areas. In this area ingredients are being monitored. This can help with dosing during cooking. Also it can be used to stock ingredients in real time. With an app you can easily see how much food is left in your fridge. It’s also possible to receive notifications when you enter a supermarket, to replenish just in time.
Smart gas stoves:
By integrating force sensors in gas stoves it became possible to realize anti-dry boiling functionalities. When the sensor is detecting this, it can give a signal to switch of the gas stove. Also it becomes possible to automatically switch off the gas stove when the pot is removed. Also a dosing function while preparing your meal can be one of the new functionalities of your gas stove.
Smart washing machines:
With the integration of a weight sensor the washing machine automatically detects the weight inside the washer. With this weight the washing machine “knows” which program to choose and how much water is needed. This directly results in savings on water and electricity.
What Zemic components are used for consumer electronics?
Zemic Europe delivers a lot of custom made strain gauges and miniature sensors to this branche. Each application has its own requirements. Our ZYM strain gauges are widely used for consumer electronics applications.
Characteristics of these strain gauges:
- They are ultra-thin & small sized. The thickness is only 0.045 mm.
- They are light weight, they weigh only 0.008 gram.
- Our high quality standards enable high stability, repeatability and reliability.
- Fatigue life of 10.000.000 at 1000 micro strain.
- Temperature compensation between -30 and +80 degrees Celsius.
- Wide range of strain can be measured (2%-15%)
- Within this series we can offer an high impedance of 2000 Ohm, with a small 5x5 mm full bridge strain gauge.