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New sensor detects faults before they happen

Posted January 28, 2016

This is the idea behind the start-up CEKO Sensors’ optical accelerometer, which is currently being launched onto the market.The sensor is an optical microchip and therefore contains no electrical parts. This makes it ideal, e.g. for use in the wind turbine industry.

In principle, the sensor is an optical microphone—and in fact the world’s only purely optical-based sensor.

In principle, the sensor is an optical microphone—and in fact the world’s only purely optical-based sensor.

The sensor can be mounted on wind turbine blades and detect, among other things, small changes in vibration patterns, which may be early signs of a defective blade. An ordinary electric sensor cannot be used on wind turbine blades, as it can cause lightning strikes which will destroy the sensor and probably also damage the blade. For wind turbine manufacturers, equipping their turbines with a sensor that can help to predict when an offshore wind turbine needs service, for example, is a huge advantage, as this is an extremely expensive procedure.

The sensor is also suitable for use in the oil and gas industry, where, among other things, it can detect pressure in a drilled hole or above a pipeline. Both the wind turbine and oil and gas industries have therefore shown an interest in the newly established company, which is based on research and two patents from DTU Nanotech. In the spring, Syddansk Teknologisk Innovation invested in CEKO Sensors, which is now based at DTU’s science park Scion DTU in Lyngby—close to DTU’s research environments and to the micro and nano manufacturing facilities in DTU Danchip, where the sensor is now in production.

Source: DTU

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