Sentec work on a wide variety of projects from industrial sensor product development, low power IOT, smartification of consumer products, advising on CE regulatory requirements to manufacturing test equipment to support the products we design. Most of our projects are confidential, but below are a few examples we can tell you about.

GridKey Lucy Electric Slimsensor - Industrial Current Sensor

Today the electricity network is rapidly evolving.  Renewable energy and novel consumers technologies like electric vehicles are increasing, so it is critical to understand the performance of the final mile of the network to make informed decisions on fault management and reinforcement of network assets.
Sentec partnered with Lucy Electric to form GridKey to develop an energy management system providing remote electricity substation monitoring, reducing costs to a fraction of that of a site inspection. The data is gathered by a retrofitable flexible current sensor, an industry leader designed to be compact yet accurate and easy to install.
Slimsensor demanded all of Sentec’s physics, electronic, mechanical design, and design for manufacturing skills to bring this product to volume production.

Sensus Smart Electricity Meter

Sensus, a leading US water meter manufacturer,  were approached by Sentec with a prototype solid state electricity meter. Sensus chose Sentec's technology to enter a new market for them, rather than acquiring an existing metering company. From our fundamental physics approach we developed a solid state electricity metering platform that enabled an industry leading 0.2% accuracy level and helped Sensus gain substantial market share starting from scratch.
Together, Sentec and Sensus took this technology platform from prototype through to full scale production (millions per year), in less than 24 months.
Sensus smart electricity meters are one of the prime examples of Sentec’s integrated development approach, drawing on the combined skills of our physics, electronics, firmware, manufacturing and mechanical design teams to enable a leading class product.
Subsequent iterations integrated a remote disconnect switch and numerous variants for differing current ratings and connections. Sensus then acquired Sentec in 2015, and subsequently Sensus were acquired by Xylem in 2016.

Sensus iPerl Smart Water Meter

Sensus contracted Sentec for an update of their water meter product line.
The goal - an expansion of Sensus’ products range to enable them to define the new market of smart water metering.
Sentec developed the iPERL® range, a solid-state, no-moving-parts residential water meter with a battery life of up to 20 years. iPERL® provides a class leading accuracy of 2% over a 800:1 dynamic flow range. It includes improved low flow measurement, leak detection capabilities, has field upgradable firmware and data retrieval via radio frequency communications. All this at a highly attractive price point.
This project encompassed all of what Sentec offer in a single project: Innovation of a Magnetic Metering Technology, hardware and firmware development, design for and transfer to high volume manufacture, ongoing manufacturing support and a deep, open, and collaborative relationship with our client.

Technical Due Diligence for UK Smart Meter Rollout

Smart metering has been a major theme in the residential water and energy sector for many years, driven by regulations on energy distribution and by the need to manage growing demand for electricity.
Many meter products are available, but a deployment of several millions requires careful choice of the meter and thinking of the meter as an asset. In the UK,  financing for meter deployments are made through 3rd party lenders rather than by the utilities themselves. To control risk, funding partners need to consider key aspects, including: asset lifetime, fiscal grade accuracy measurement, secure bi-directional communications, and firmware security. This underlines the importance of carrying out detailed technical due diligence on the meter - will it perform as specified?  Similar considerations will apply to asset rollouts for renewable energy sources, electric vehicle charging points and potentially heat pumps.
Sentec has played a major role in the UK Smart Electricity Meter rollout drawing on its technology design and due diligence capabilities. Our extensive expertise in electrical measurement technology, volume product design and manufacturer assessment has helped several large metering asset providers manage risk on their chosen smart meter rollouts.

Actuator Technology– Advanced Fuel Injection

Sentec's unique fuel injection technology allows a very high degree of control and flexibility.  It provides a route to de-risking unknown future emissions standards requirements and opens up future advanced injection and combustion strategies. This flexibility will enable the automotive sector to meet manufacturers’ needs for emerging emissions standards beyond Euro 6d and LEV III.
Exactus combines and refines two very mature and mass-deployed technologies, solenoid fuel injectors and permanent-magnet linear motors, to create a simple fuel injector with the performance of a piezo actuator at the low cost of a solenoid injector.

Solar Owl – Innovative Noise Pollution Monitor

A study from the World Health Organisation found that long-term exposure to noise may account for 3% of deaths associated with heart disease and stress. Noise is a particular problem in urban areas and is aggravated by the fact that over half of people now reside in cities.
Pollution issues such as poor air or water quality are now monitored by networks of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Yet noise pollution remains largely an ignored issue for now.
Sentec partnered with Polysolar Ltd and the University of Warwick to generate a concept IoT noise pollution sensor – Solar Owl: Sound. It is an economical solution which will make our cities “sound smart”. It can provide local governments with real-time actionable noise data. The cost of each Solar Owl: Sound is less than $20, making city-wide installation a viable solution for monitoring the sound pollution.

Downhole Oil Parameter Sensor

When surveying for oil, the cost of running a rig in the North Sea is £100k’s per day. If the drill hits an unknown substance, the material at the tip is assessed by sending a canister down the centre of the drill and recovering a sample whilst maintaining  contents at pressure (1000bar). The analysis is then carried out in a land-based laboratory - a process that may take days. During this time the rig is inactive and accruing costs.
Sentec’s client for this development programme was a leading petrochemical survey company. Working together in close collaboration, Sentec developed a sensor to measure density and viscosity of the drill hole fluids in-situ. The sensor’s continuous density and viscosity measurement downhole far exceeds the capabilities of lab-based equipment.
Following successful field trials, Sentec’s prototype was transferred to manufacture and remains in production today.

Manufacturing Equipment for Pharmaceutical Packaging Inspection

In the pharmaceuticals industry, the claim of 100% testing, and the possibility of agreeing longer shelf life for the product as a result, can lead to significant commercial advantage.  Traditional, offline inspection may not offer a manufacturer the ability to test every item, leading to batch quality testing by sampling and the waste of potentially acceptable products.
Improvements in sensor technologies allow for online, single item testing which drastically improves yield.
Sentec’s client for this development programme was an SME supplier to major pharmaceutical companies. Sentec developed a method of online inspection of blister pack seal integrity, detecting holes as small as 5 µm in diameter, weak seals and capillaries using dedicated image processing. Sentec’s manufacturing equipment offered a real-time and low cost, yet versatile solution that can be used with different packaging types and is viable for high speed throughput of up to 300 units/min.

Manufacturing Equipment Development

Sentec has developed techniques and the equipment to perform tests of both components and products. These designs have been delivered to customers as fully operational, CE approved and ruggedised equipment. Clients across the world operate Sentec supplied equipment daily in demanding manufacturing environments.
Amongst Sentec’s many core skills is the ability to reliably record tiny but important measurements in a sea of noise.

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+44 1223 303800
Sentec Ltd, Radio House, St Andrews Road, Cambridge, CB4 1DL
  • +44 1223 303800
  • Sentec Ltd, Radio House, St Andrews Road, Cambridge, CB4 1DL