The trend towards miniaturization has been with us for many years. Devices and components are becoming smaller and smaller, but at the same time they have to deliver ever-increasing functionality. This poses major challenges for production, because quality checks have to guarantee that all components are totally free of defects, with optimal interaction between functionality and haptics.
The communication electronics sector is an excellent example of the trend towards technical solutions that require the minimum of space: the smart phones that we take with us everywhere offer enormous functionality despite their compact, minimalist design. One click, for instance, can close the application; a double click opens a menu, and holding the button down is assigned to another function.
The same is true of car dashboards: they have to accommodate numerous control elements in less and less space. Malfunctions on safety system switches can quite often put human life at risk – and they may also lead to product recalls, with fatal consequences for the manufacturer's business. Consistent control of every single switch is the only way to make sure that no faulty parts are installed.
In both these cases, quality testing uses a sensor that measures the force expended when a switch is operated. Limited space and high accuracy set demanding requirements for sensor technology in these applications. But there is an advanced technological development that makes it possible to meet these requirements: piezoelectric small force sensor technology.
To achieve the goal, Kistler's sensors measure the forces when the control elements are operated, and they assess the product's quality on the basis of the measured force-displacement profile. The results: 100% monitoring of all manufactured parts, as well as substantial reductions in production and quality costs – because further processing of faulty parts is prevented, and they are excluded from the application.