GROUNDBREAKING SENSOR TECHNOLOGY HELPS TO SAVE RESIN, MONEY & THE PLANET
“Did you know that two trillion plastic containers are produced each year, requiring about 200 billion pounds of resin?”
Daryoosh Saeedkia, Founder and CEO of Waterloo-based TeTechS begins many conversations this way – and for good reason. Plastic use has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with government, individuals and industry seeking ways to cut back on its overall use.
In the packaging manufacturing sector – whether serving the food and beverage industry, pharmaceutical, personal care, household products or other such consumer products – the use of plastic resin is at constant risk of overuse, largely due to outdated methods of achieving the desired resin thickness and quality in the production process.
Achieving quality packaging requires ensuring that the thickness of the wall, or multiple layers, is within a tight tolerance range specified by the customer (brand). Traditionally, this process has depended on manual methods of measurement – an inefficient, and at times, inaccurate approach that drives waste in the form of time, materials, cost and quality.
Competing in an increasing sustainability-focused and Industry 4.0 connected world, today’s packaging companies need to automate resin measurement and quickly integrate quality data into the manufacturing process in order to eliminate waste and drive efficiency. And yet, incumbent technology solutions designed to address the issue have proven expensive, difficult to integrate or automate.
Fortunately, the team at TeTechS is steadfastly committed to closing this critical technology gap – guided by an inspiring vision to save two billion pounds of plastic resin every year.
Established in 2010, TeTechS has developed a highly innovative core sensor technology based on the Terahertz (THz) light wave. Sitting between the radio and infrared waves of the light spectrum, THz is unique in its ability to generate the type of light that can see through various materials, including opaque plastic layers. It is a powerful tool that has never been successfully introduced in an industrial setting – until now.
Recognizing the vast potential of this disruptive technology for the packaging sector and the planet, REMAP has partnered with TeTechS since 2016 – providing funding to assist with R&D and leveraging its network to enable the company to transition its innovative technology from the lab onto the manufacturing floor.
Through the REMAP project, TeTechS worked with a multinational industry partner and initial customer Amcor and the University of Waterloo to fully develop and incorporate the groundbreaking TeTechS core technology – a semiconductor chip and sensor – into a robotic-assisted solution for successful deployment in a production setting. Today, the TeTechS solution sits beside or on a number of customers’ production lines, where it frequently picks up product samples, takes multiple readings and makes quality data readily available – eliminating the inefficiencies of sporadic manual operator inspection.
“Working alongside the REMAP network, TeTechS successfully transitioned our technology from the lab into a fully automated and digitally connected solution that is currently reducing waste, cost and inefficiency for a number of companies in the packaging sector,” said Saeedkia.
“In addition to its role in improving the quality assurance process for manufactured plastics and reducing the use of resin during production, this technology also holds significant historical value,” he added. “This is the first time that the THz part of the light spectrum has been controlled or utilized in a mass market ruggedized system for the factory floor – with the solution proudly developed right here in Canada.”
While the TeTechS offering is already providing value for a growing number of companies in the plastics packaging sector, Saeedkia and his growing team of engineers are excited about the vast potential for their industrial solution in other applications – such as aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical sectors where precision and accuracy are paramount.
Affirming that potential, the project was recently one of three finalists to compete for REMAP’s prestigious Commercialization Prize – $50,000 in additional funding aimed at recognizing the project team with the most compelling business case to accelerate their innovation. Finalists were selected based on how the project team proposed to use the additional grant to accelerate commercialization – whether through faster time-to-market, new product features, cost reduction/competitiveness or market differentiation.
Despite steep competition with their fellow finalists – including an open architecture surgical innovation suite creating operating room of the future, and metal-infused wearable technology taking aim at the booming wellness market – Saeedkia and two fellow members of the TeTechS team were thrilled to receive the top prize at the 2023 REMAP AGM and networking event, following an inspiring project showcase of their innovation by each finalist.
“We are honoured to be chosen as the winning REMAP Commercialization Prize project,” said Saeedkia. “We look forward to putting this additional funding toward important initiatives including completion of our demo system, attendance at important industrial tradeshows, the creation of digital marketing tools and the advancement of our own smart manufacturing strategy.”
“REMAP is excited about the outcome of this project and the bright future that lies ahead for TeTechS,” said Loretta Renard, CEO and COO, REMAP. “They have successfully leveraged a disruptive technology to develop a high-value manufacturing solution that simultaneously addresses two industrial megatrends – enhanced environmental sustainability, and the connectivity of Industry 4.0. We’re so proud to have played a part in their ongoing success.”
For more information about TeTechS, visit: https://tetechs.com/