FLEXcon Co. Inc. recently collaborated with Polestar Technologies in Needham Heights, Mass., a company that specializes in high-tech sensors and monitoring equipment. Optical sensor technology is being used with life-support systems such as the mixed gas rebreathers used by emergency personnel, as well as for recreational diving. Polestar holds intellectual property for a sensing composite that needed to be coated on a pressure-sensitive product. FLEXcon, through application testing with Polestar and work with suppliers, has successfully manufactured a commercial quantity of the product that will be available to the diving community.
The rebreather product is a quarter-sized disc of polymer film that covers the Polestar optical sensor. The film changes color, from blue to yellow, when exposed to carbon dioxide. A white LED light illuminates the disc from a sealed pot below. Then a digital meter reads the color, which is converted to show the carbon dioxide level.
Polestar held intellectual property for the carbon dioxide-sensing composite that needed to be coated onto a pressure-sensitive product. The companies had discussed working together on a different sensor in 2014, but Polestar shifted gears about 18 months into that process because it realized FLEXcon’s value in customizing a product for them. Thus this partnership began.
“This product proves that FLEXcon can coat this type of sensing material to create a unique ability that lends itself to bioengineering fields in the future,” said Shaun McDonough, market development specialist for FLEXcon’s Performance Products business. “It is indicative of our company’s ability to work with technology companies and see things from lab bench and technology to actualized product. It also highlights the innovative minds we have here. We’re always trying to find ways to use our capabilities to address the needs of the future.
“Polestar Technologies is a great example of how FLEXcon collaborates with companies on concepts and brings their technology into manufacturing scale. Regardless of the size or the turnaround time for sales, FLEXcon relishes the chance to solve problems for our customers and technology partners. We are proud of the continual iterative process FLEXcon uses to ensure Polestar gets the right product for their application.”
“FLEXcon made it easy to take an idea from concept to reality,” said Jim Biagioni, COO, Polestar Technologies. “The team worked with us every step of the way to translate our technology from a lab scale to a repeatable, manufacturing process. FLEXcon developed a custom solution for us to use in our product development that solves a real need for our customer base.” ASI