Canvas Category Hardware : Sensor Systems : Metrology
ColloidTek Oy (Collo) was founded after extensive scientific research of liquids in Tampere University by it’s founders and key personnel. Collo developes and commercializes the Collo technology for various business sectors, helping customers better understand and develop their liquid processes, be it advanced process control, improved process quality or optimized process steps. The unique feature of Collo Analyzer is its electromagnetic field (EMF) sensor, which measures either directly immersed in the fluid or through a non-conducting container. The EMF-sensor “sees” the electromagnetic components of the fluid in front of it, and through Collo’s proprietary algorithm these components are linked with physical properties, such as chemical composition, phase change or surface change. The sensor is installed to measure inline the process.
Sensors: Data for next-gen composites manufacturing
Suppliers of dielectric sensors such as Lambient Technologies (Cambridge, Mass., U.S.), Netzsch (Selb, Germany) and Synthesites (Uccle, Belgium) have also demonstrated their ability to shorten cycle times. Synthesites reported from R&D projects with composites manufacturers Hutchinson (Paris, France) and Bombardier Belfast, now Spirit AeroSystems (Belfast, Ireland), that it was able to reduce the cure cycle for RTM6 by 30-50% based on real-time measurements of resin electrical resistance and temperature, which are converted into estimated viscosity and Tg by its Optimold data acquisition unit and Optiview software. “The manufacturer can see the Tg in real time, so they can decide when to stop the cure cycle,” explains Synthesites director Nikos Pantelelis. “They don’t have to wait to complete a longer-than-necessary legacy cycle. For example, the legacy cycle for RTM6 is 2 hours at 180°C for full cure. We’ve seen that in certain geometries this can go down to 70 minutes.”
Collo has worked with manufacturers of epoxy adhesive, paint and even beer to create a process profile for each batch produced. Each manufacturer can now see the dynamics of its process and set more optimal parameters, with alarms to enable intervention when the batch is out of spec. This helps to stabilize and improve quality.
Fingerprinting liquids for composites
Collo uses electromagnetic sensors and edge analytics to optimize resin degassing, mixing, infusion, polymerization and cure as well as monitoring drift from benchmarked process parameters and enabling in-situ process control.
“So, the solution we are offering is real-time, inline measurement directly from the process,” says Järveläinen. “Our system then converts that data into physical quantities that are understandable and actionable, like rheological viscosity, and it helps to ensure high-quality liquid processes and products. It also allows optimizing the processes. For example, you can shorten mixing time because you can clearly see when mixing is complete. So, you can improve productivity, save energy and reduce scrap versus less optimized processing.”
Green Tech Start-Up ColloidTek Raises 2.8M€ Of Venture Funding To Help Factories Optimize Their Liquid Processes
Collo improves the performance of industrial liquid processes by helping the customer to make smarter decisions with up-to-date, easy-to-understand and real-time information of the process liquid. The Collo analyzer is installed directly into the process line, where it measures the process liquid continuously, bringing eyes inside the process. The Collo technology creates a real-time electromagnetic fingerprint of the measured liquid with high sensitivity to changes in the chemical composition or phases in the liquid. By accurately measuring the real-time state of the liquid, the companies can see exactly when a process step is ready or when the right amount of chemicals has been added, eliminating excess waste of resources.
The funding will enable ColloidTek to increase sales in Europe, build a foothold in the American market, and grow the Collo team with new talent. “Our liquid performance platform offers not just arbitrary data, but actionable parameters for easier and more comprehensive process control”, says Matti Järveläinen, the CEO of ColloidTek. “We are developing our analytical system into an even easier-to-implement solution that improves the efficiency of any liquid process.”