REHAU SMART SENSE

Building automation system interface

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REHAU

Italy
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SMART SENSE

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Building automation system interface

SMART SENSE already conquered the international trade fair imm Cologne in January, as the touch-sensitive polymer profile makes furniture a user interface: the table height can be adjusted, the light regulated and the slatted bed frame controlled.‎ It is not only among trade fair visitors that the product innovation has been well received.‎ Kitchen manufacturer Ballerina – established in the premium sector – has also recognized the potential.‎ For example, SMART SENSE could be integrated into the kitchen and used as a control center.‎ The business manager and other representatives from Ballerina kitchens discussed this and other ideas with the Furniture Solutions (FS) division last week as part of a visit to Rehau.‎
The SMART SENSE idea was born as part of a cooperation of the FS division and technology platform “Electronics into Polymers”, which had already been concentrating on the integration of touch-surfaces into polymer components since 2013, at that time still in the area of technology development in the “functional integration of electronics”.‎ “Plastic and electronics go together well, as polymers do not insulate.‎ If, for example, the case of a smartphone were completely made of metal, no signal would get through,” explains Dr.‎ Ansgar Niehoff, Head of Technology Platform “Electronics into Polymers”.‎ The staff of the advanced technologies area were intensively looking at the technology in 2015 and 2016 and approached the divisions with application examples and demonstrators.‎ “We recognized the potential immediately for the area of furniture solutions,” says Thorsten Zwenzner, Head of Product Management Office Furniture Systems.‎ Together with start-up plastic electronic and office furniture manufacturer König + Neurath, SMART SENSE was developed for conference tables.‎ With the “endless touch”, for example, the height of the table can be adjusted from any position.‎
“For us, SMART SENSE is just the tip of the iceberg.‎ We want to equip our polymers with functional additional uses and thus to create real value added for our customers.‎ We are also intensively looking at new markets and alternative business models,” Thorsten emphasizes.‎ The area of care is particularly interesting.‎ Driven by the aging population, skills shortage and professionalization in the home care sector, great potential is seen here.‎

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