Interview with Dr. Andreas Alt, Sales Director Medical, Sensirion AG
To ensure proper respiration for patients, continuous airflow measurements are a crucial step in the process. The Covid 19 pandemic makes the work of manufacturers of artificial respiratory equipment and leading sensor suppliers like Sensirion AG more important than ever. COMPAMED-tradefair.com spoke to Dr. Andreas Alt about the development of a new sensor platform for respiratory devices and pondered the effects of the pandemic.
Dr. Andreas Alt
Dr. Alt, Sensirion has introduced a new sensor solution for respiratory devices. What makes the new sensor different from its predecessor?
Andreas Alt: The new model has been optimized for inspiratory ventilation applications. Respirators have different airflow measurement modes: inspiratory flow, in which the device measures the airflow to the patient, expiratory flow, in which the device measures the airflow coming from the patient, and proximal flow, in which the patient’s breathing flow rate and the volume of breathing gas is measured. Each of these three modes requires special sensors. We were now able to significantly improve the inspiratory flow sensor and place a heightened focus on the respiratory assessment of patients. This means that we now have a larger flow area in the positive direction, which still allows us to measure backflow and a low pressure drop. Optimized production processes enable us to continuously meet the increased demand in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. The enhancement of the sensor platform for respiratory devices was already scheduled long before the pandemic hit, but has now been accelerated thanks to additional measures.
What are the benefits of the enhanced sensor for respirator manufacturers?
Alt: Our sensor is a flow measurement module. This means you use it and it delivers fully calibrated measurements. The manufacturers can use this module without having to perform complex calibration procedures themselves. This allows them to quickly switch to our sensor or launch new developments.
The new sensor.
What are some other possible applications?
Alt: Besides applications related to medical technology, the sensor can also be used in other fields. It is suitable for all cost-sensitive flow measurements and applications pertaining to respiration and anesthesia, process automation, laboratory devices, and fuel cells. The sensor offers many possible applications.
You mentioned that the current pandemic has fueled an increased demand for these sensors. Was Sensirion able to quickly rise up to the challenge?
Alt: Many companies were taken by surprise by the increasing demand and are partially not agile enough to respond with applicable production quantities. It was also an enormous challenge for us, but thanks to our innovative CMOSens technology and a high degree of automation, we succeeded in meeting the rising demand. We expect our production volumes to be between three to six times higher in 2020.
Do you already know what comes next in your sensor development process?
Alt: Our sensors are very versatile and suited for many applications besides use in the medical realm. We continuously work on improving our devices and collaborate with our customers to chart a new course. We have a very extensive sensor solutions portfolio that – as aforementioned - covers sensors for inspiratory, expiratory and proximal flow measurement for respiratory support in adults and neonates. We also offer both single-use and reusable options. That’s why manufacturers can obtain all the sensors they need from us, which subsequently fast-tracks development and speeds up processes.
Are you planning to be part of the next COMPAMED trade fair despite the current circumstances?
Alt: We have never missed being a part of COMPAMED in the last ten years and we don’t plan to break our streak now. We go with the flow and hope for the best.
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