Continental invests in industrial sensor startup

July 12, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Continental invests in industrial sensor startup
Isreali startup-company Feelit is developing sensor solutions for industrial applications which enable the development of predictive maintenance and similar solutions. Continental now has acquired a minority stake in the Feelit. The move could be an indication that the German company intends to grow beyond its role as a pure automotive supplier.

Feelit offers innovative solutions for the predictive maintenance of industrial plants and machines, an essential element of the Industry 4.0 concept. Special hardware sensors and algorithms are used for this. The start-up has developed a sensor technology that is said to be up to 50 times more sensitive than current commercially available applications. Feelit uses printed, nanomaterial-based, fully integrated sensors and cloud analytics to provide real-time and remote feedback on structural and performance changes. The sensors can be integrated into battery cooling systems for electric vehicles, for example, to increase battery life and achievable range. Continental sees additional potential for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance in industrial hoses for the food and beverage industry, in hydraulic and power solutions, and in preventing unplanned and costly downtime in manufacturing.

Founded in 2017, Feelit has developed a highly sensitive, flexible, printed sensor made of nanomaterials that can be attached to static and rotating machine parts, on both flat and curved surfaces. It measures strain in ultra-high resolution as well as other parameters such as temperature, vibration and pressure.

The system is based on an industrial IoT platform for remote, real-time detection of structural changes in mechanical equipment and serves as an "electronic skin", so to speak. As soon as it detects critical structural and operational anomalies in advance, it immediately sounds the alarm. The technology is up to 50 times more accurate than current standard market applications. It enables real-time remote condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of plant components such as valves, pipes and pumps. In this way, unplanned and costly machine downtime can be prevented.

"The investment makes an important contribution to the digitalisation of our products and processes and brings a wide range of strategic benefits," explains Philip Nelles, member of the Continental Executive Board and responsible for the ContiTech business unit with a focus on industry. "The integration of sensors into new and existing product lines supports our continuous

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