Micromem taps Flextronics to make automotive lab-on-a-chip

September 12, 2014. Micromem Technologies Inc. through its wholly owned subsidiary Micromem Applied Sensor Technologies Inc. (MAST) announced it has contracted with Flextronics International Ltd. with regard to an automotive lab-on-a-chip for oil-pan sensing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Flextronics will be granted worldwide exclusivity to manufacture and distribute the oil-pan plug sensor suite. Annual revenue to Micromem is expected to grow to over $18 million over the next ten years as the market penetration matures.

MAST's lab-on-a-chip, which resides inside a standard oil-pan drain plug, measures a multitude of oil and vehicle properties, including oil-pan level, crankcase pressure, 3-axis orientation of the vehicle, temperature, and the analytical condition of the engine oil in real time. The device communicates wirelessly via the automobile's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), thereby eliminating all traditional wires, oil pan penetrations, and labor associated with installing traditional sensors in the oil pan. The ability to measure the analytical condition of the engine oil in real time is a big step forward compared to traditional manual sampling and lab analysis of the engine oil.

The product is self-powered, not relying on vehicle power for its operation. The relationship with Flextronics not only provides Micromem with access to the entire automotive industry for this product, it provides access to develop and deliver other products using the lab-on-a-chip design.

Chris Obey, president of Flextronics Automotive, stated, “We believe that the multiple integrated function that will be performed by Micromem's lab-on-a-chip technology is a game changer for the automotive industry, and we look forward to providing them with our unparalleled supply chain solutions for this innovative product.”

Steven Van Fleet, president of MAST, stated, “This relationship is the culmination of two years of early product development for Micromem. Our innovation model included MAST working directly with a major automotive OEM and ultimately our proof of concept oil pan plug sensor suite was extensively tested on the OEM's dynamometer. This is not the normal approach to offering new products to the automotive industry and resulted in product functionality that aligns precisely with the OEM's requirements. We turned the risk of underwriting the early product development investment with the OEM into a world leading delivery team for this highly innovative product.”

Joseph Fuda, CEO of Micromem, stated, “Partnering with a company of this caliber allows us to participate in the early stages of automotive product planning and to incorporate more advanced technology into the automotive industry's ever changing requirements. Better insights into the automotive industry's future plans have helped to shape MAST's product offerings. The lab-on-a chip is a shining example of the value of this new automotive industry approach. The opportunities this first project offers in a partnership like this are exciting.”




See related article, “Open innovation can close productivity gap.”

More in Components