Optical fiber sensors can play an important role within the framework of Industry4.0 and especially in applications in harsh environments because of the unique properties of this type of sensors. However, the current readers on the optical fiber sensor market are expensive, large and not robust, which stands in the way of substantial market penetration.
At UGent we have developed the unique technology that makes it possible to force a breakthrough on all these points. Under an IOF-Advanced project, this concept was further developed into a prototype, to be brought to the market by means of a spin-off. However, due to some setbacks in the realization of the prototypes, it has not been validated in the field. Meanwhile, the problems have been identified and remedied. In the underlying project we will realize a number of prototypes with which field trials can be carried out with alpha users. These potential customers have shown their interest in our technology, but want to evaluate the concept themselves before making their own resources available. Talks have also started with potential investors, but they are reluctant until there is engagement from major players. To break this stalemate, we want to realize beta prototypes so that both industrial players and investors dare to make the leap.