West Lothian tech firm targets 'huge opportunity' with world-first 5G sensor

A West Lothian technology company is eyeing a “huge opportunity” after working on what is believed to be the world’s first 5G-enabled, self-powered remote condition monitoring sensor.

Livingston-based Sensor-Works is working alongside Censis – Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging systems and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – to develop the product, which is expected to open up a major global market for the company. The business is projecting sales in excess of 10,000 devices per year.

The sensors would be applied to industrial machinery to detect when a fault is likely to occur, by monitoring for vibrational signatures and temperature increases in real time. Vibrations are the most accurate indicator a machine is beginning to fail and the signature can determine what kind of fault is going to occur – for example, bearing defects or components falling out of alignment.

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The firm worked with Censis on the development of its original device in 2017, which was one of the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled predictive maintenance sensors. Thousands of the systems have been sold across the world since its inception, including in Europe, North and South America, Australia and South Africa. The use of mobile networks – such as 4G or 5G – will allow the latest sensors to send data directly to the cloud, rather than having to use intermediary devices such as phones, laptops or routers.

Sensor-Works managing director Ian Bain said: “The original BluVib device, which Censis helped us develop, became our best-selling product – it is still unsurpassed in the market and has been an enormous success for us as a company. On the back of the device’s success and the roll-out of 5G, there is a huge opportunity for us in creating a new generation of sensors which uses cellular networks to transmit data. This will create significantly more demand because using 5G will remove the need for a middle layer of technology in the process and increase the volume of sensors that can be deployed. Working with our partners, this is a huge new development for Sensor-Works and will result in a significant new revenue stream that will help grow the company.”



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