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Monitoring Machine Stress

Partners

Scanimetrics, Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, nanoAlberta, nanoWorks, nanoBridge

 

Rugged, wireless sensors developed by Scanimetrics monitor metals and machinery for stress, cracks and even loosening bolts.

Opportunity

Monitoring stress, strain and fatigue is not just a human concern. Machine health is critical in the industrial realm, where hairline cracks and loosening bolts pose unseen threats to worker safety and plant operations.

Serious injury and even death can result from catastrophic machine failures. Unanticipated shutdowns can cost Alberta industries upwards of $1 million per day in lost production.

An Edmonton company, supported by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures now supplies heavy industry with sensors capable of detecting machine health at the molecular level, to avert injury and loss.

Scanimetrics, a University of Alberta spinoff company, initially created wireless micro-scale sensors for silicon-chip manufacturers. Early financial support for its research and development came from one of Technology Futures’ founding agencies.

In 2008, when economic conditions devastated Scanimetrics commercial base, it again turned to Technology Futures. Building research and commercial capacity in nanotechnology is an Alberta priority. Technology Futures helps achieve this goal through its nanoBridge and nanoWorks programs, which Scanimetrics accessed for support and advice.

“Companies that participate in Technology Futures funding programs not only get the money to do industrial R&D in collaboration with our Alberta research institutions,” said Ange Kadima, Technology Futures’ Director of Industry Partnerships. “They also benefit from the expert advice that helps them focus towards a successful commercialization.”

Technology Futures matched Scanimetrics with a historic challenge for Alberta’s oil sands companies: Developing sensors capable of withstanding the heat, cold, corrosion and pressures of heavy-oil extraction and processing.

Scanimetrics met the challenge with small, rugged and wireless nano-scale sensors and modules capable of monitoring pipes, metals and machinery for strain, stress, cracks and vibration intensity. Its monitors can even warn operators of an individual bolt starting to unfasten.

At the same time, Scanimetrics developed software to compress and compile vast streams of monitoring data into a usable and readable form.

 

Status

Scanimetrics innovative technology will help prevent breaks and failures which lead to costly plant shutdowns in oil sands operations. It also allows plant managers to schedule maintenance when appropriate and efficient, to extend the life of machinery and better protect workers.

Scanimetrics and its made-in-Alberta technology is now attracting interest from the mining industry in Canada
and abroad.

Read more.

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Marlene Huerta   Scanimetrics
Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures    
780-450-5034    
marlene.huerta@albertainnovates.ca