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Innovation and air quality: the TEQOYA S1 sensor, from idea to manufacture

We saw in a previous article how the TEQOYA S1 air quality sensor differed from current solutions on the market: it integrates a very high-performance technology that measures not only the mass of PM2.5 particles, a reference indicator, but also their quantity.

In addition, a calculation method developed by TEQOYA based on scientific studies allows particles, especially the finest ones, which are the most dangerous to health, to be given the same importance as larger particles.

This innovation is the result of several months of work by an entire team: designers, electronic, mechanical, and network engineers, computer developers, and production technicians. Reliability, performance, low energy and resource consumption, lifespan, affordable price, production fluidity: so many sometimes contradictory objectives, yet all achieved!

Emilien, R&D Manager, explains how.

Design, a matter of creativity... technically complex!

Once the concept and calculation methodology were validated, the TEQOYA S1 air quality sensor was fully developed internally. Why did you make this choice?

We wanted to develop a high-performance device, but also have all the flexibility to evolve it and offer our customers all the advantages they are used to with our products.

Take an example: design, to which we are particularly attentive. One might think that this only concerns our designer, but not at all! Technically, it is very complex to design a compact and rounded air quality sensor.

The aesthetics of the TEQOYA S1 are achieved with wood: we use wood veneers that we have to twist to fit the shape of the device. This may seem simple and yet:

  • What wood and bending technique should be used to achieve the desired visual result?
  • How does the orientation of the wood fibers impact the design?
  • This covering slows down the gas exchanges between the interior and exterior of the device: how do we prevent this from influencing the measurements?

We experiment and collaborate with the designer, it's a real teamwork to achieve the right balance.

Moreover, mastering its design allows us to integrate new features and customize it to meet the specific demands of clients, such as hospitals, for example.

Energy and Resource Consumption: Optimizing to the "Just Necessary"

Design is one of TEQOYA's hallmarks, but not the only one: resource preservation, energy consumption control, carbon footprint management... How do you address these issues in product development?

We act on several fronts.

First of all, manufacturing internally also means controlling the suppliers we work with. We collaborate with French manufacturers, with the shortest possible supply chains. For example, on the air quality sensor, visualizing the measurements requires the use of a plastic label: this is produced right next to our factory in Villandraut (near Bordeaux). Our electronic supplier is located in Montpellier.

Next, we are very careful about material waste to limit resource consumption:

  • We use 3D printing. By default, with each product, the printer created a support, necessary for the fabrication of a part of the air quality sensor. Yannick, head of mechanics in my team, did extensive work to adjust the settings and reduce plastic waste to the bare minimum.
  • Returning to the use of wood. Perhaps you thought when I mentioned the importance of the wood grain direction, "just turn the plywood panel to change the direction"? Well, no, precisely! If we do that, we don't produce the same number of coverings in a panel... with the panels we used for the initial experiments, the number of coverings made goes from 4 to 6 depending on the direction, which significantly impacts the volume of waste. So, we revisit our work with the designer and suppliers to optimize. What to choose? Impact the design or change the wood sheets?

Finally, when we analyzed the life cycle of the TEQOYA S1 air quality monitor, we saw that we could achieve very good results on two key objectives: lower energy consumption and optimized lifespan, thanks to frequent device standby. Putting an air quality sensor on standby that needs to measure continuously may seem surprising to you? That's all the work of R&D! Pushing technical innovation to the maximum to achieve the best performance levels in all areas.

Concretely, air pollution doesn't change every second: continuous measurement is actually measuring at a relevant pace for a given situation. We developed an update system, where the measurement frequency adapts continuously to the intensity of air pollution.

In general, the connection modalities, data transmission to the AirObserver application are the result of several months of work for two team members.

Continuous Improvement and Product Reliability at the Heart of the Production Process

We've talked about design, resource preservation, but your customers also buy effective products to safeguard their health, at an affordable cost and with short delivery times. Your air purifiers are all tested, whether in the laboratory or in the field: what about the TEQOYA S1 air quality monitor? How do you associate product reliability with production process optimization?

Regarding reliability, we have our own in-house testing bench. It's a significant investment, but it's a real company policy. 20% of our turnover is allocated to R&D. We are uncompromising in validating the performance of our devices, whether it's air purifiers or the sensor.

For cost control, it involves optimizing our production process: after development, experimenting with several methods, we streamline methods, assembly steps... to provide the most refined process possible to our production technicians. Then, we listen to them: what difficulties do they encounter during the production of the first batches? Are some actions complex for them? We're in a continuous improvement approach to save them time and achieve a high level of quality.

Everything is connected: I had the opportunity to mention our label manufacturer, very close to us, and our work on material waste. Facilitating processes falls into the same approach: these labels are applied by hand. All the training work on the gesture not only saves time but also avoids discarding components damaged by improper handling.

Heading Towards New Custom Features

Any final words to conclude? Perspectives?

Of course! We're not going to stop innovating after the release of the S1 air quality monitor. As I mentioned at the beginning, we developed it internally also to be able to evolve it. So we designed it with this in mind: the motherboard to which the TERA Sensor NextPM sensor is integrated intentionally has unused slots. Depending on our customers' demands, we can develop measurements for VOCs, CO2, negative ions...

Interested in acquiring the TEQOYA S1 air quality sensor? Want to measure your air quality for a month to better assess your needs before investing in an air purifier? Discover our offers!
Are you a company, a community, an association, and you need to measure a specific air component, a customized control solution, or any other tailor-made functionality? Contact us!


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