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Lubsens: a compact lubricant sensor to track industrial machine wear

​​​Founded in July 2020 by Hafa and IESPM, the startup Lubsens is commercializing a compact solution to monitor machine lubrication and anticipate industrial maintenance needs. This innovative solution was made possible by CEA-Leti’s development of a miniaturized sensor that can identify, count and categorize particles in industrial lubricants.

Published on 5 December 2023

The goal of launching Lubsens was to offer connected maintenance solutions for the industrial sector. The idea was developed by two companies: Hafa (a lubricant manufacturer) and IESPM (a laboratory specialized in fluid and lubricant analysis). To implement this vision, they founded Lubsens which currently counts five employees and is housed at Village By CA of Rouen.

CEA-Leti: innovative technology for industrial monitoring

“Lubsens contacted us to set up a partnership in order to develop a compact, embedded sensor solution that could identify, count and categorize particles as small as 4 microns, which is much smaller than currently commercialized technology,” explains Olivier Fuchs, an Industrial Partnership Manager at CEA-Leti.

CEA-Leti has strong expertise and patented technology in lens-free microscopy: 
“We have already developed compact lens-free microscopy solutions for biology and healthcare, but early stage tests had also demonstrated that this technology could be adapted to lubricants,” adds Olivier.

An innovat​ive solution to target international markets

In only a year and a half, CEA-Leti developed a technological solution with two key parts: First, a compact lens-free microscopy device that was small enough to fit in industrial machines. And second, software algorithms that could use this data to identify and count particles within a sample of lubricant. In addition, the software can categorize the particles as metallic or non-metallic, which enables the user to know whether the particles come from machine wear or external sources. As a result, the device is online and integrated into industrial machines while they operate. This enables users to track the evolution of their machine’s lubricant and anticipate maintenance needs accordingly.
Olivier Fuchs adds 
“these developments are also of particular interest for health applications, for example they pave the way to the on-line monitoring of bioproduction process by lensfree microscopy, or to the precise control and displacement imaging of magnetic microparticles for in vitro diagnostic tests". 

The completion of the development phase led to a patent to protect this innovative technology and CEA-Leti is currently transferring the technology to Lubsens. The startup has implemented its industrialization phase since March 2023 with the goal of commercializing 400-500 sensors by 2024 and building international markets rapidly.​

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