New Products for SENSOR+TEST 2023

Senstech AG is launching two new products at this year's SENSOR+TEST in Nuremberg: the compact KB-011-1600 force sensor bracket and the SA-011-1500 mini signal amplifier.

The force sensor bracket is a further development of the KB-011-0500 with a size of 9×14 mm. Initially, it is available for a force range of 20 N; however, with different sheet thicknesses, measuring ranges from approx. 3 to 100 N can be covered. The miniature sensor is mounted with an M2 screw and a dowel pin in a twist-proof manner. The force is applied to the bracket via a round-head rivet; alternatively,

two screw holes are available for usage-specific force application.

The SA-011-1500 mini signal amplifier is suitable for amplifying the output signal of a sensor directly in the supply line. This allows it to be transmitted without interference and digitized with simple means. The module is available in four variants covering operating voltages from 2.2 to 25 V and different input signal ranges. It is compatible with development platforms such as Arduino as well as with 0-10 V analog inputs.

Senstech is introducing the PicoBlade connector system for all its own products with stranded wires, which enables wire-to-wire and wire-to-board connections.

This means that in future our sensors can be connected to amplifier modules or to customers' circuits without soldering.

> Mini Signal Amplifier SA-011-1500 Data Sheet
> Force Sensor Bracket KB-011-1600 Brochure

Sebastian Krodel Appointed New CEO of Senstech AG

As part of the company's succession planning, Sebastian Krodel becomes the new Managing Director of Senstech AG as of July 1, 2022. The mechanical engineer has been with Senstech since 2016 and was responsible for the gradual introduction of Laser processes in production. In preparation for the new role, he started an MBA on the side, which he is due to complete soon. Krodel is happy to accept the new challenge: «Senstech AG is a healthy company with lean structures and good growth prospects. I am looking forward to taking the helm now and thank Mr. Wolfensberger for the trust he has placed in me. In working with IST AG, I see exciting opportunities for the company in both the commercial and technical area.»

The company founder Rolf Wolfensberger will remain with Senstech as a consultant for the time being, but will gradually reduce his workload and retire completely by the end of 2024. For him, the focus is now on the transfer of know-how to his successors; in addition, he wants to continue to support customer projects with his expertise where necessary.

Senstech AG Becomes Part of the IST Group

Ebnat-Kappel, July 4, 2022; Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG announces the acquisition of sensor manufacturer Senstech AG. The takeover was initiated by the planned gradual withdrawal of the previous owner and company founder Rolf Wolfensberger and expands IST's sensor portfolio to include force, pressure, surface tension and torque sensors.

Senstech sensors can be found in a variety of applications in the medical field, such as infusion or insulin pumps, in cardiotocography or in devices for eye surgery. Other important areas of application are textile machinery, mechanical engineering, the watch industry, industrial pressure measurement technology, and applications for cars. In addition to OEM sensor solutions the company also offers standard sensors.

Senstech AG was founded in 1984 by Rolf Wolfensberger. The ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified company is based in Fehraltorf near Zurich and employs 10 people. As of July 1, Sebastian Krodel, former Member of the Executive Board, took over the management of Senstech AG. Mr. Wolfensberger will continue to support the company in the future by passing on his know-how to the employees and accompanying development and customer projects with his experience. Senstech AG will continue to offer and continuously expand its proven service from its current premises.

Rolf Wolfensberger is very satisfied with the chosen successor: «Senstech AG has achieved a lot since it was founded almost 40 years ago, and we are now known as an innovative and very reliable sensor manufacturer. The certification according to ISO 13485 gives us easy access to medical projects. Our successes achieved were only possible thanks to dedicated and long-standing employees whose needs alongside our customers’ had the highest priority. Passing on the company is not easy, but I am delighted to have found a strong partner in IST AG. They will secure the long-term continuation and growth of Senstech AG.

These prospects are ideal for our employees and customers and allow my life's work to continue. I am also pleased that Sebastian Krodel, a long-standing employee, will keep the company on track as Managing Director.»

«With the acquisition of Senstech, we have reached another milestone in our diversification strategy. Thanks to Senstech's portfolio, we are not only expanding our product range, it is also opening up new markets. Our customers can benefit from further technologies, synergies in development, production and consulting as well as extended know-how and a broader approach to their sensor requirements,» says Dr. Jörn Lützen, CEO of IST AG, and adds: «The production of all Senstech sensors will continue in Fehraltorf with their experienced employees. We are looking forward to working together and warmly welcome them to IST AG!»

Due to overlaps of individual manufacturing processes in the field of thin-film technology, there are synergies between the companies. Senstech's expertise in the field of laser processing represents an expansion of the IST Group's technology portfolio.

Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG

Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG is one of the world's leading manufacturers of physical, chemical and biological sensors. In addition to standard products, IST AG offers adaptations of the sensors to individual, customer-specific application requirements - up to the joint development of new technologies.

Founded in 1991, the company is headquartered in Ebnat-Kappel, Switzerland, and employs around 500 people worldwide.

IST AG is part of the Endress+Hauser Group based in Reinach (Switzerland). Endress+Hauser is one of the world's leading manufacturers of measuring instruments, services and solutions for industrial process engineering.

Senstech AG

The core competences of Senstech AG are the development and production of customer-specific sensors using thin-film and laser technologies. All essential development and production steps are carried out in our own laboratories and with our own production facilities.


Caroline Kooijmans, Team Leader Marketing
+41 71 992 01 00

Sebastian Krodel, Managing Director
+41 44 955 04 55

Download Press Release

Senstech Becomes Part of the IST Group (PDF)

Trade Show Demo: Pressure Monitoring With a Force Sensor

At Swiss Medtech Expo 2021, our stand featured a column of liquid whose height was measured indirectly with a force sensor. We wanted to show how precisely you can determine the pressure in a tube if you enclose three quarters of its circumference and measure its curvature on the remaining quarter.

Here you can see our demonstrator in action.

Used in Medical Devices

This principle of pressure measurement without changing or interrupting the hose path is used by many of our customers in medical devices. Peristaltic pumps, for example, can detect blockages in the infusion flow by the increase in pressure and trigger an alarm. In ophthalmic surgery devices, the irrigation fluid pressure is measured in a similar way.

Connected Directly to the Arduino

Technically, the demonstrator is very simple. The sensor used is of type KB-011-0300 and has an integrated signal amplifier. It is directly connected to a "Seeeduino Lotus" development board, which linearly transforms the signal and displays it on a bar graph. Power is supplied by a USB power bank.

Many Applications Possible

The measuring principle shown can be used wherever pressures in the millibar range are to be measured, but hygiene requirements prohibit the use of classic pressure sensors. For example, it could also be applied in the food industry or in household appliances such as coffee machines.

Weld-on Sensors as an Alternative to Strain Gauges

Our technology is increasingly used instead of foil strain gauges. Laser-welded thin-film sensors offer various advantages for load measurement on plant components, such as better temperature properties and increased long-term stability.

Measurements on Loaded Components

Strain gauges are used whenever the deformation or movement of a loaded component is to be measured. Thin-film-based sensors made of spring steel are a robust alternative to the common foil strain gauges attached with glue. These sensors are Laser welded to the substrate and achieve a particularly high sensitivity, since the deformation is concentrated on a weakened central zone of about 1×1 mm, on which the strain gauge elements are placed. This allows for deformations in the micrometer range to be measured.

Suitable for Industrial Use

Since a Wheatstone full bridge can be placed on a very small surface, which is thermally coupled to the underlying metal part, the measured signal is insensitive to temperature fluctuations. In contrast to glued-on sensors, creeping layers, which can impair long-term stability, are avoided. The welded-on sensors thus represent a measurement solution suitable for industrial use, not only for individual measurements, but also for permanent monitoring applications. Wear effects can be made visible over months or years.

Versatile Applications

Accordingly, such sensors are used e.g. in metal processing, where they monitor the load on tools, or in the automotive industry as part of a load measurement system. The measuring arrangement and the dimensions of the sensors can be adapted to the respective application from as little as approx. 100 pieces. Shear forces or multi-dimensional forces can also be measured. The smallest specimens are only 5×5 mm in size. One disadvantage is the additional Laser welding step; however, this is offered as a service by Senstech.

Faster Laser Cutting With New 5-Axis System From Askias

In 2020, Senstech was able to commission a second ablation laser system, which provided more reliability and capacity for structuring thin films. This year, we have now also created redundancy for the cutting laser, as we now manufacture almost all sensor substrates ourselves and have only limited fallback options in the event of a system defect. The new machining center ASKIAS Precision expands our possibilities in the production of sensor substrates and prototypes. It allows CNC controlled simultaneous 5-axis processing of parts.

Several Processing Methods in One Setup

Thanks to interchangeable processing heads, various machining processes such as laser cutting, laser drilling, laser welding, laser soldering, laser marking, laser structuring and laser ablation can be combined. It is even possible to operate two lasers in parallel within the system, such as a fiber laser for cutting and a nanosecond laser for ablation/engraving. This allows two different machining processes to be carried out on a part with a single clamping setup.

Accelerated Series Production of Sensor Panels

Due to the higher dynamics of the machine, we can produce the substrate panels for our series products about 10% faster than with our existing cutting laser.

In addition to all the process-related advantages, this investment enables us to also carry out laser welding on customer-specific parts in larger quantities, as well as to offer our own products with laser-welded housings in the future.

Excerpt of Specifications

  • 2 independent zero-point clamping systems
  • Axis stroke: X axis 700 mm, Y axis 400 mm, Z axis 330 mm
  • Feed rate in rapid traverse: 54'000 mm/min
  • Repeatability: ±0.002mm
  • Fanuc B1i-B5 controller

Additional information on the Askias Precision is available in the manufacturer's video.

Meteorological Radiation Measurement: Precise and Robust Instruments Thanks to Thin-Film Technology

This is the title of an article published in the German magazine "MPK 4.0", which highlights an unusual application of our technology: Heating elements and measuring resistors are sputtered directly onto the detectors of the reference measuring instruments. This allows the high-precision radiometers to be manufactured more efficiently. 

>> To the article (page 34)

Building Renovation: Increased Energy Efficiency and Additional Space

Through comprehensive remodeling, Senstech AG was able to reduce its energy requirements and create extra office space for the next growth step. From now on, the company will be able to cover more than half of its electricity needs with its own solar power.

The roof of our company building had to be renovated. Due to changes in local building regulations, we were able to add new office space to the top floor of the building in the course of this renovation. Work was carried out in accordance with the Minergie standard for energy-efficient construction.

Linked Heating and Cooling Systems

In parallel with this expansion, we replaced all the heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the building. The cooling circuit of the production facilities was made more flexible and equipped with additional control and monitoring systems. The oil tank with a volume of 20,000 liters is now used as a central cold water reservoir. A second tank with 3000 liters stores hot water. Heating and cooling is now provided exclusively by heat pumps. Fossil fuels are no longer used.

During the cold season, the excess heat from the production facilities can be used to heat the premises. This minimizes the necessary heat exchange with the ambient air and thus the energy consumption of the building. The system is ready to accommodate a possible expansion of the production machinery.

The existing apartment on the 2nd floor of the building was also completely renovated. It is to be rented out again in the future, but also serves as a long-term reserve of space for the company.

Potent Solar System With Intelligent Control

A photovoltaic system was installed on the roof and on the terrace railing. With an expected annual yield of 60 MWh, it will cover more than half of the electricity needs of our production.

Thanks to intelligent control and generous storage capacities for hot and cold water, the power consumption of the building services can be flexibly distributed throughout the day. This allows for the system to be optimized so that a large part of the solar power is used internally.

These conversions make Senstech AG more climate-friendly and open up additional space reserves for future growth. The investment volume for the overall project amounted to approx. 2 million Swiss francs.

New Femtosecond Laser Secures Laser-Based Production

In April 2020, Senstech AG commissioned a femtosecond ablation laser from the manufacturer LS Laser Systems. The system complements the existing picosecond laser from the same manufacturer. The main purpose of the acquisition was to increase the resilience of our sensor production.

Increasing Importance of Laser Ablation

For several years, Senstech AG has been using laser technology in the production of its thin-film strain gauges. By now, almost all of our sensor elements are structured and trimmed with laser ablation. This eliminates labor-intensive photolithography processes. Instead, the thin layers are sputtered over the entire surface. Ultra-short pulse lasers are then used to cut linear structures into them, while leaving the underlying insulation layer intact. Only the gold layers used for solder pads and low-impedance tracks continue to be structured using photolithographic methods.

Securing the Ability to Deliver

For us as a component manufacturer and medical technology supplier, the ability to deliver products on time is of utmost importance, even if one of our production facilities should fail. For certain process steps, we can rely on certified third-party suppliers who perform these steps on our behalf if required. However, this is not the case for the laser ablation and trimming processes, since no company in our region has comparable equipment available. With the gradual phase-out of photolithography and the development of new sensors that require the use of laser technology, the acquisition of a second system was therefore an urgent necessity.

More Space for Process and Product Development

The increased capacity for laser ablation and trimming processes has advantages for production, but also for our development department. Additional machine time is now available that can be used for process development, such as to further optimize the productivity of ablation processes or to automate recurring measurement tasks using computer vision. It will also be easier to coordinate series production and prototype manufacturing. This creates added value for both existing and new customers.

Senstech Now Offers Laser Services

For several years, we have been cutting out our sensor substrates on our own laser systems and are using a picolaser to extract the finest sensor structures from thin metal layers. Our know-how in the field of lasers is now also available for your own projects:

On the one hand, we hope that this new offering will be attractive to the medical device industry, which requires suppliers to be ISO 13485 certified; On the other hand, we would like to address industrial customers who can also benefit from our broad know-how in the laser sector.

We accept contract orders from prototypes to series production and carry out process development and feasibility studies for particularly demanding parts. Our experienced staff will be happy to advise you.

> More Information on Our Laser Services

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