Research and Development

Our activities are built around original Research and Development, both internally conceived and in collaboration with partners from industry and academia. Our R&D is your future product and service.

R&D for Tags and Sensors

Our goal is to make RFID tags and sensors very economically, so they can be used in high volume for many mobile assets, from tyres to filters and beyond. We are constantly designing inlays, patches and labels on a wide range of substrates that are thin, light, transparent, rigid and flexible, and that transmit in both UHF and NFC.

Right now we are working with printable technology on materials compatible with tyres and their hot- curing manufacturing process (up to 200psi and 185°C). Additive printing avoids expensive vacuum and high temperature processing, so we are very confident of achieving our goal, which will be a double winner when self-powered by Energy Harvesting.

R&D for Energy Harvesting

We are deeply engaged in R&D for Energy Harvesting as this is key to being able to make and supply self-powered strips of tags and sensors that can go ‘behind the dashboard’. Right now our focus is on tyres for heavy vehicles. In this we are supported by major tyre manufacturers.

Several concurrent projects are independently using piezoelectric and kinetic properties of different materials to generate power and provide data about a tyre’s properties to determine what is the best construct, given each specific tyre’s composition and manufacturing process, as these can vary.

R&D for Printable Electronics

3D and Additive manufacturing
For tags, sensors, transmitters, energy Rapid Reel-to-Reel (R2R)
Quickly configurable
New and more flexible materials
Thin and lightweight
All colors – even transparent
Wearable and mobile
Low cost, even for limited runs

Silent Sensors is broadening exploitation opportunities from tyres to rubber, polymers and elastomers in general. Thanks to our collaboration with Avon Rubber and Bridgestone, we have identified a universal substrate that has the mechanical properties necessary for embedding RFID and 2D tags into rubber during curing at high temperature and pressure.

This property is also required for the dairy liners and protective equipment made by Avon Rubber.  These are produced using injection moulding techniques with high temperature and pressure in much the same way tyres are made.

Thanks to our research in roll-to-roll manufacturing, Silent Sensors has formulated ‘inks’ that can be printed onto special substrates. This lets us mass-produce RFID tags at a lower price point than traditional techniques. This process also lets us produce the energy harvesting and energy storage materials we are developing with the University of Bath and CPI.

R&D for Transmission

Radio transmission frequencies are set by international agencies. Our solutions conventionally work in UHF at 2.4GHz and 433MHz, BLE and NFC. Our hubs and routers work in licensed telecom channels. Our R&D is focused on designing and incorporating transmission devices and antennas into printable substrates, including ones that can harvest energy.

Very often this is custom R&D for Solution Engineering projects.

R&D for Cloud Computing

The Giants of Computing – Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and others – do R&D for Cloud based computing. We are researching distributed ledger and blockchain technology as decentralised but secure alternatives to traditional databases.

We develop data structures, logic, rules, timeliness, delivery and transformation of data into actionable information that users need, based on the specific application they are using. We also design browser-based dashboards and smartphone based apps for monitoring the status and managing the performance of connected assets.

Companies who don’t need our skills in database and app design or development can use the open APIs that come with all our solutions.

Projects

We are actively engaged in both internal and commissioned projects, the purpose of which being to advance knowledge and understanding in developing new ways of producing and installing RFID tags and sensors on rubber, polymer and elastomer based materials.

Patents

A recent prior-art patent search supports Silent Sensors’ “Freedom to Operate”.
Silent Sensors has been registered as a trademark to help commercialise and protect its own innovation.


Measuring Tyre Pressure

Patent for measuring sensors for tyre pressure. Granted in USA, UK. Pending in Canada, EU and China.


Measuring Sensor

An extension of the original patent (above) to allow the use of the same concept for a wide range of parameters including stress, strain, temperature and humidity. These parameters could be useful to exploit or license to other sectors like building management, mining, oil and gas. Granted in USA and UK. Pending in Canada, EU and China.


Trilobal Manufacturing Process

The Trilobal sensor can be manufactured using different injection moulding techniques to reduce the costs. One of the designs allows the plastic to be produced flat and then folded into shape. Patent applied for in the UK.


Temperature Fuse

An adaptation of the earlier patents where fuse tracks are printed in series with the antenna array. Fuse tracks are designed to melt and create an open circuit at temperatures ranging from 80-110C in increments of 10C. A blown fuse will be picked up by the RFID/NFC reader and indicate that the tyre has exceeded recommended temperatures and should be replaced. Patent applied for in the UK.


Hot Tyre Inflation System

A system that compensates for difference in temperature inside the tyre and temperature in the compressor. Tyre pressures should be set when the tyre is cold. This system uses a Bluetooth Mesh network and an app that compensates for the differences. The system is being developed with a partner company (PCL) and the sensor is a variant of the Trilobal that is placed in line with the compressed air line. Patent applied for in the UK.