Project: Intelligent Gasket for Gas and Oil Applications

_x000D_The 'holy grail' of the sealing and gasket industry is a low cost, pressure sensor enabled, gasket assembly capable of continuously reporting its state of integrity. There is a persuasive business case for the use of such a 'smart gasket' in critical pipe-work infrastructure where continuous self monitoring can:_x000D_ _x000D_- relax the COtenance and assurance requirements;_x000D_- reduce the risk of catastrophic environmental impact as a result of leakage;_x000D_- increase process efficiency due to reduction of downtime and leakage._x000D__x000D_This proposal describes an activity which will allow the inventors of such technology to collaborate with European SME manufacturers with the required experience at the sensor and system level._x000D__x000D_Over the last 10 years Intellectual Property Holdings Pte Ltd (IPH) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have been developing a new type of inexpensive, microchip-scale pressure sensor based on compound semiconductor materials technology. Designed with extreme miniaturization in mind; it can be physically as small as one millimetre square and ~ 15 microns thick and offers reversible pressure measurement to loading of in excess of 50MPa. _x000D__x000D_Ref: _x000D_US patent 7,127, 949 B2 Contact pressure sensor and method for manufacturing (granted October 2006)_x000D__x000D_By altering the internal structure of the sensor chip, it can be made to suit various ranges of pressures, sensitivity and applications. In addition, it has the unique ability to continuously monitor pressure for an indefinite period. Competitive sensors currently on the market are extremely large in comparison, require additional mechanical devices and do not have indefinite pressure monitoring without ageing and hysteresis effects._x000D__x000D_There are many applications in an existing $30B gasket and seal market where this sensor can be employed include industrial, medical, aerospace and automotive. The initial application that has been identified is in the production of ‘intelligent’ industrial metallic gaskets where it is necessary to monitor the forces between pipe-work flanges. This embodiment of the invention has been selected as a initial route for exploitation for several technical and commercial reasons:_x000D__x000D_- the environment and pressure specifications required match well with the demonstrated specification of the chip level sensor;_x000D_- having discussed with major gasket manufacturers we have confirmation there is a defined need at the high value segments of a diverse market that can be serviced with a variations on a single intelligent gasket platform;_x000D_- there is the potential of several different revenue models depending on exact implementation: chip level sensor sales, chip on flexi-pcb assembly sales, sensor interrogation modules;_x000D_- the potential for upstream distributed sensor analysis and reporting systems as the highest value product spin off. _x000D__x000D_IPH (Singapore) hold exclusive rights to two key, COtained, patents at the sensor and implementation level, and bring the use of this IP to the consortium to facilitate commercialisation (to be clear IPH or NUS do not request any funding and will not receive any subcontract funding from the project) . CST (UK) are a specialised III-V semiconductor manufacturing foundry with excellent volume experience in the type of chip manufacturing required. 2M and FOCE (Holland) are specialised engineering companies with a track record of delivering high value sensor solutions in the process and petrochemical industry. _x000D__x000D_Our proposal covers several aspects of the commercialisation of the technology:_x000D__x000D_- transfer and realisation of the chip level sensor manufacturing process from a University laboratory into a quality controlled high volume manufacturing capability;_x000D_- packaging of the sensors into a flexi-pcb (printed circuit board) film insert designed for integration in industry standard gasket products;_x000D_- demonstration of read electronics and software capable of taking raw data from multiple pressure sensors and converting into a useful monitoring system with a demonstration user interface;_x000D_- baseline characterisation of the intelligent sensor performance including environmental stress limits and ageing characteristics;_x000D_- a roadmap to volume manufacturing for the sensor insert including definition of industry certification requirements;_x000D_- refined business plan for exploitation of sensor chip, gasket insert and monitoring system products._x000D__x000D_

Acronym IGGOA (Reference Number: 7400)
Duration 01/09/2012 - 30/06/2015
Project Topic The project will exploit pre-existing IP to realise an intelligent gasket which monitors and self diagnoses wear and misfit prior to failure in safety critical pipework installations. Initial products will address high-value solutions in the oil and gas segment of a $30B global industry.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
We successfully built the demonstrator using the technology from CST and applied for 3 patents._x000D_We were able to interest a large gasket manufacturer with whom we are now preparing the LOI to be followed by the development agreements for the first products.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 2M Engineering Limited Partner Netherlands
3 FOCE International Technology BV Partner Netherlands
3 Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd Coordinator United Kingdom