In a move to grow sales and give customers a competitive edge, Honeywell Sensing and Control is taking a big step into the world of value-added assembly services for medical and industrial markets. Since Honeywell already possesses the sensor expertise along with proven sensing technologies for these markets, it made sense that the global components manufacturer would eventually bundle these capabilities into a separate service.
Honeywell's foray into customization is not new. The business was already providing these types of services on a case-by-case basis for a number of existing customers. In addition, Honeywell recognized that many of its customers, particularly in the medical and industrial markets, needed more help around customizing its technology platforms, including the TruStability pressure sensors, to meet their specific mission-critical requirements.
"In general, customers have less and less resources internally, or expertise to apply sensing technology into these types of critical applications," said Valerie Rothermel-Nelson, Honeywell senior global product marketing manager. "We've done it very well for a long time in many different situations and applications and now we want people to understand that we can apply that more broadly."
Honeywell makes the case that as a sensor manufacturer it can deliver in two key areas: improve time to market (by reducing production cycle time and simplifying manufacturing) and lower total system costs (by reducing vendors, improving reliability, optimizing product via 6 Sigma and other lean processes, and simplifying qualification and manufacturing by providing a single part number for an assembly).
"The ability to design in a customized version of an already approved sensor design often means that device developers do not have to re-certify their upgraded products, saving both time and money," said Rothermel-Nelson.
"We aren't just going to be a standalone sensor provider," she added. "Our new approach means that we are now providing higher level assemblies, not just components."
Rothermel-Nelson describes a higher level of assembly as a package that provides differentiated and integrated solutions that give customers a competitive edge. "It could be combining more than one sensor into higher level packaging, providing custom termination or even providing total thermal management solutions," she noted.
Although the value-added work focuses on building assemblies based on existing pressure and thermal technology platforms, the sensor manufacturer has multiple sensing technologies in its arsenal so it can add other sensing types to the assembly if required, creating a single SKU part. The sensor subassemblies are fully tested and warranted by Honeywell.
The new value-added services center around three areas: packaging, non-standard terminations, and total thermal management solutions that make it easier and faster for design engineers and purchasers to find the right solution that meets their design parameters and time-to-market requirements.
- Packaging – Combined Sensors: This service focuses on special packaging in order to combine multiple sensors into a single part. This option is available for all pressure and thermal products. Rothermel-Nelson said: "There is a ton of variations and it can mean so many different things depending upon what we're working on such as a medical infusion pump, and a valve control unit for process industries."
- Packaging – Customer Interface: This type of special packaging facilitates the implementation and interaction of the sensor in the customer's application. Again, this option is available for all pressure and thermal products. She added: "We can combine pressure, thermal and other types of Honeywell proven technology at the same time we're designing in the custom interface packaging."
- Non-Standard Terminations: This covers any special, non-standard electrical termination in a sensor, which includes adding wiring or connectors to existing leads. This option is available for all board-mount products. "It's more of a basic value-added option but it's very popular especially if the customer likes the existing platform technology but just needs to tweak it a little bit to make it easy to implement into their machine," said Rothermel-Nelson.
- Thermal Management Solutions: This typically involves combining multiple thermal sensing products into a sub-assembly/sub-system, which also includes on-board temperature monitoring and circuit protection.