Following eight-years’ research Grundfos is now getting ready to set up production of pressure sensors for water in unprecedented small dimensions.
The first step was taken on 15th September, when Grundfos took on nine staff from the American-owned telecommunications company ADC – formerly Ibsen Micro Structures – in Farum. The new Grundfos enterprise was also set up here – in premises leased from ADC.
Traditional pressure sensors for water are equivalent to the size of a household matchbox and relatively expensive to produce. The microsensors Grundfos is to produce are tiny – 4x4 mm – "waterproof" pressure sensors that, in principle, can be integrated into even the smallest pumps.
This will make future Grundfos pumps even more "intelligent" and energy efficient than the electronically-regulated pumps already on the market. It will also enable large Grundfos pumps, already equipped with sensors, to be more competitive.
Using its newly-developed, patented technologies, Grundfos will itself produce the silicon wafers that the tiny sensors are cut from, and protect the sensors’ surface so they can withstand contact with water. This will take place in a 200m2 class 10 sterile chamber – a chamber that is 1,000 times more sterile than the one at Grundfos' electronics factory at Bjerringbro.
Grundfos began developing microsensor technology in partnership with several other companies at the Microelectronics centre run by the Technical University of Denmark. Grundfos has now come so far that development and production of microsensors is regarded as a strategic process, which must therefore be integrated into the pump business. Actual production is expected to start around New Year 2002-2003 – before which the advanced production equipment must be run in.
This is the first time that Grundfos has set up production on Zealand – its other Danish factories are located at the group’s headquarters in Bjerringbro and at Aalestrup and Langå.