Demand for Micro Flow Management Components Grows Dramatically Within 5 Years
Up to now, microfluidic products on the market employed passive fluid control techniques such as the use of capillary forces. The trend towards miniaturization and the flexible use of systems such as portable medical devices, micro fuel cells, and even micro chemical reactors imposes strong requirements in terms of size, weight, accuracy and automation.
The new report clarifies that function integration is thus a key requirement, which leads to a growing demand for micro flow management components such as pumps, valves and sensors.
As medical, diagnostic and consumer handheld applications (micro-fuel cell) expect low cost disposable solutions, the challenge is to integrate sensors and valves at the chip manufacturing level. This implies some partnership between technology providers and microfluidic foundries.
The total market of flow management components is expected to reach 4.2 b$ in 2014, the largest volume being attributed to micro-pressure sensors. Although MEMS devices represent today a small fraction of this market, this fraction will significantly increase in the next 5 years, the largest application being disposable pressure sensors for blood monitoring.
Mass flow controller working principle, according to the report, is the following:
- The electronics board compares the amplified mass flow rate value (measured by the sensor) to the desired set point.
- This comparison generates an error signal that feeds the regulating valve. The difference is used to drive the control valve.
- The control valve will proportionally open or close until the output is equal to the set point.
- Advanced controllers use PID (proportional-integral-derivative) algorithms to enhance the performance.
- Performance is generally measured in terms of: Accuracy, repeatability, linearity, calibration drift, stability, response and settling time, over-shoot and under-shoot, pressure change response, temperature change effects and zero drift.
Detailed analysis of the market and technologies for pumps, valves, sensors and controllers show that although microfluidic devices are entering the marketplace, no industry standard exists yet, even for the simplest components.
Details of the new report can be found on Electronics.ca Publications' web site: http://www.electronics.ca/reports/medical/microfluidics_applications.html
Electronics.ca Publications is a world-class research network and publishing company whose focus is technology and market research for the electronics industry. Our network spans dozens of areas of electronics expertise, and taps the knowledge of researchers and analysts internationally. We deliver critical information on the semiconductor, advanced materials, nanotechnology, electronics manufacturing, wireless technology and converging markets.
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