Machine Design
Microelectromechanical systems MEMS may fit microscopic moving components and electronics onto a single chip so that they can work together in a streamlined compact system Courtesy of MIT Pune, India

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) may fit microscopic moving components and electronics onto a single chip so that they can work together in a streamlined, compact system.

Will MEMS Become the New Platform for Industrial Sensors?

Bosch is partnering with seven other European companies to develop a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) platform that will lead to low-cost sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT). Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the $4.2-million research project, AMELI 4.0 is expected to generate sensors that will cut the costs of machine maintenance, inspection, and repair by up to 30%.

While MEMS make up a large focus in sensor research, they are typically not robust or powerful enough to work in high-demand industrial applications. But what makes them attractive for the IoT is that they typically contain all their functioning parts, including electro-actuators and electrical connections, on a single chip. A MEMS chip may also include its own power-generating system, eliminating the need for external power supplies for simpler integration into machine design. To this end, AMELI aims to build a MEMS that will be sufficient for use in industrial settings.

Courtesy of Bosch

AMELI 4.0 will investigate energy-regenerative MEMS sensors that can source their own power from machine vibrations. This will allow implementation of several MEMS sensors without tapping into the main power source. The MEMS sensors will communicate with remote monitoring systems via radio-frequency antennae, and measure changes in structure-born sounds like vibrations so operators can monitor machine performance and perform preventative maintenance.

AMELI 4.0 partners include Siemens AG, Hahn-Scickard-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer IPK, Binder-Elektronik GmbH, Schudt Mikrosa GmbH and Stackforce GmbH.

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