In our history, there have been many technological milestones that have allowed First Sensor to become the company it is today. We have developed numerous solutions for our three target markets – namely, the Industrial, Medical and Mobility markets – that have made us an innovative manufacturer of high-quality sensor chips, sensors and sensor systems to this day. Here, we present a selection of technological highlights from the company’s 25 years of existence.
First Sensor subsidiary Klay Instruments is the first company to supply electronics in a stainless steel housing. The advantage of this material is that the transmitters can now be used directly in the harsh process environment. It is also suitable for use in applications where strict hygiene requirements must be met.
First Sensor is developing a component for monitoring the blood circulation of astronauts in the space station MIR for one of today's leading aerospace companies. The photodiode measures oxygen saturation in the blood.
First Sensor subsidiary Klay brings the first digital transmitter with HART® protocol for converting various input signals onto the market.
With the order from the world market leader in the development of X-ray technologies, which enable the identification of hazardous substances, smuggling products and other hidden objects, First Sensor begins the development of photo diode arrays for luggage scanners.
First Sensor subsidiary ELBAU builds its first mini-CCD endoscope. The small device for minimally invasive surgical procedures is so successful that First Sensor is still producing it today and regularly adds new variants to the range.
The ESA space probe Mars Express takes up position in an orbit around Mars. On board the space probe is a high-resolution camera that delivers 3D stereo recordings in color. The CCD converter integrated in the camera head electronics converts the light collected into electrical signals, and prepares and digitalizes these signals. The entire camera head electronics system was developed and manufactured by First Sensor subsidiary Lewicki.
As part of an international aviation project, First Sensor subsidiary ELBAU develops the structural design and connection technology for the first fully automatic digital camera for photogrammetry and the remote sensing of Earth from airplanes.
First Sensor subsidiary ELBAU develops photodiode packaging that is used in the computer tomographs of a German medical technology manufacturer. The special feature of the packaging is that the chip is soldered onto the ceramic rather than glued. This enables a consistent level of precision to be achieved when positioning the chip — something that no other company had been able to achieve to date.
First Sensor recognizes the potential of today's indispensable LIDAR technology for autonomous driving early on back in 2008 and successfully completes two large-scale APD array development projects. This work focused on the development of sensors for optical distance measuring for applications including the control of adaptive cruise control in vehicles.
First Sensor launches STARe technology on the market. STARe stands for "Sensor technologies for advanced resistors". This technology enables the company's pressure sensors to deliver unrivaled stability for high-precision applications.
The developers at First Sensor in Montreal apply for a patent for the micro-flow technology, technology that today forms the basis for our flow and ultra-low pressure sensors. Sensors that are based on this technology are used in medical applications such as respiration and pneumology, as well as in industrial applications such as building automation for measuring air flow in ventilation systems.
First Sensor acquires the patent for AIM technology (Airgap Insulated Microstructures). The inertial sensors manufactured by First Sensor that are based on this technology enable measurements to be carried out with a degree of accuracy that exceeds the average level. Areas of application include flight control systems, drilling platforms, and structural health monitoring.
First Sensor subsidiary Lewicki microelectronic GmbH is certified by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt — DLR) as a manufacturer of space-grade semiconductors and, since then, has been the DLR's only assembly and test center for power metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) in Germany.
First Sensor brings the Area View Kit delivering 360° all-round visibility for use in special-purpose vehicles and machines to the market. The CMOS high-performance cameras in the Area View Kits boast a very large dynamic range (>100 dB) for challenging light conditions and can withstand the harshest of environmental conditions such as cold, heat, and constant vibrations.
At First Sensor, the 10 millionth pressure sensor for controlling braking systems rolls off the production line. Up to 15,000 units leave the assembly line every day - which means that one of the OEM pressure sensors leaves the production line about every six seconds. The pressure sensors detect when the vacuum in the brake booster is insufficient and the vehicle's automatic start-stop system must therefore be deactivated.
First Sensor receives the IATF 16949 certificate for the automotive industry for its two sites in Dresden and the Berlin-Oberschöneweide site. The certifications prove that the sensor technology specialist guarantees the high quality standards of the automotive industry when it comes to turning visions of autonomous driving and green mobility into reality.
First Sensor is taking the next step towards volume production of cameras for driver assistance systems and adding the "Blue Next" industrialized camera generation to its product range. Models in the "Blue Next" camera range can also be used in First Sensor's Embedded Area View application, and support innovative driver assistance systems in this way.
The medical technology production sites of First Sensor AG in Canada, Dresden and Berlin were awarded the ISO 13485 certificate. The certification confirms the introduction and use of a comprehensive management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices and demonstrates the efficiency of the First Sensor production network in the face of the current increased demand for highly sensitive and reliable pressure sensors.
First Sensor develops a novel transmission module for 5G broadband expansion. In order to ensure the transmission of large amounts of data in the future, First Sensor is working together with the internationally active telecommunications supplier ADVA Optical Networking SE and other development partners on a new type of poly transceiver, which creates the basis for the 5G broadband expansion. First Sensor is developing polyboard technologies, optical interfaces, cooling system and housings for the sensor module and is scheduled to start production in 2020 once it is ready for series production.
Against the backdrop of continuing high demand for high-performance sensor technology for industrial, medical and automotive applications, First Sensor AG is expanding its production capacities with a contract manufacturer. For this purpose, an Eastern European electronics manufacturer has been qualified as contact manufacturer for the standard pressure sensors of the H-Series.
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