Innovative Sensor Technology (IST) - an EndressHauser Company
IST AG specializes in the development and manufacturing of thin- and thick-film platinum and nickel RTD temperature sensors, thermal mass flow sensors, capacitive humidity sensors, conductivity sensors and biosensors. In addition to development and manufacturing of standard sensors, our highly qualified technical team offers consulting and R&D tailored to specific customer requests in the field of sensor technology. With more than 25 years of experience Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG is one of the leading manufacturers of physical, chemical and biological sensors. Our objective is to be the global leader in standard and customized sensor technology – empowering our customers to provide new levels of innovation and product design to deliver to their markets worldwide.
Founded in 1991, Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG is headquartered in Ebnat-Kappel, Switzerland (canton St. Gallen), in the mountainous region of Toggenburg. With around 400 employees we are a leading sensor specialist that focuses on the individual needs of our customers.
IST AG is a company of the Endress+Hauser Group, headquartered in Reinach in north-western Switzerland. The Endress+Hauser Group is among the global leaders in measuring instruments, services and solutions for industrial process engineering.
- We develop sensors fitted to application-specific requirements
- We offer support by product specialists from sensor development to after-sales
- We manufacture small and large sensor quantities within a short development and production time
- We offer sensor technology development and consultation out of our state-of-the-art facilities
- We develop and manufacture sensors that are compatible across the entire product range
Our advanced expertise is driven by the challenge to be at the forefront of the industry. We are continually improving existing technology, by working closely with customers to find optimal sensor solutions for application-specific requirements, and collaborating with a broad network of partners, including institutes and universities.
For more than 30 years we have stood for innovation and quality in sensor technology. Our story continues.
- 1991 Foundation of Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG in Wattwil, Switzerland Entry into the sensor market through the production and sales of nickel temperature sensors
- 1993 First development and production of platinum temperature sensors
- 1994 Establishment of the assembly site in Roznov pod Radhoštem, Czech Republic First development and production of flow sensors
- 1995 Beginning of Sales in Las Vegas, USA through an exclusive representation
- 1999 First development and production of humidity sensors
- 2004 First development and production of conductivity sensors and humidity modules
- 2005 Acquisition of IST AG by the Endress + Hauser Group
- 2006 Foundation of a 100 percent subsidiary in Las Vegas, USA
- 2012 Moving of IST AG headquarters from Wattwil into the custom-built premises in Ebnat-Kappel, Switzerland
- 2015 Acquisition of Jobst Technologies GmbH in Freiburg, Germany Opening of sales offices in Shanghai, China and Prague, Czech Republic
- 2019 IST AG moves into its extended headquarters
- 2020 IST AG acquires life science company AJ Innuscreen in Berlin, Germany
In order to provide the optimal solution for individual application requirements, IST AG offers a variety of technology and material variants throughout the production process.
IST AG has extensive experience in developing customer-specific sensors and adapting them to applications for challenging requirements.
A successful sensor solution is only possible with an in-depth knowledge of a customer’s business, challenges and requirements. In order to identify the sensor solution that fits the application of our customer, we discuss the requirements and specifications extensively with the customer.
Existing sensor or customized solution
The IST AG design process is where it all begins. First a meeting takes place between our engineers and the customer to discuss the specific application requirements. Depending on the complexity of the project the solution can either be an existing sensor or a custom made design. For custom designs, prototypes are developed and thoroughly tested.
Deposition of substrates
The first production step is deposition, where sputtering is used in order to cover the substrates with a thin layer over the entire surface. Depending on the type of sensor that is required, different materials, thicknesses and qualities can be chosen for the covering.
In this step, the substrates are coated with photosensitive lacquer by a centrifuge. All our sensor structures are sketched on so-called masks: through exposure, light is lead through the mask onto the photoresist. The covered parts are not reached by the light, leaving the coating unexposed. During the subsequent developing of the substrates, the coating on the exposed areas is washed away, the non-exposed area remains on the substrate.
During the etching process the part of the coating that is not required is removed through etching. Two different processes are used to etch the substrates: ion etching and wet-chemical etching.
IST AG uses laser trimming or laser calibration as a method of adjusting (trimming) components by laser induced material changes. Thereby the resistance value is increased continuously by decreasing the meander structure until the desired value is achieved.
During screen printing, the contact points are strengthened with a conductive paste. This enables a better connection between the contact point and the electrical contacts. Additionally, the substrate is covered with a non-conductive paste, which prevents scratches and damages of the sensor due to mechanical or chemical influences.
While dicing, the substrates are cut into individual strips, so that afterwards wires can be welded on the sensors.
For the welding process, IST AG offers various possibilities of wire material, lengths and diameters that are welded to the chip. We distinguish between bare and insulated wires.
To enhance the welding point and to protect it from mechanical damage, a paste is applied to the welding area offering an outstanding pull-strength.
During the final electrical measurement, all sensors are checked with a 2-point calibration measurement. According to their accuracy they are sorted into different classes.
ISO across our day-to-day business
Consistent with the well-known, high quality standards in Switzerland, IST AG is certified according to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004. Quality management systems and procedures are implemented across day-to-day operations. These procedures are regularly audited and expanded parallel to the growth of our company.
R&D and consulting
The production process and final delivery of a high quality sensor product starts with sourcing the highest quality materials from our trusted network of suppliers. Our custom-built manufacturing facility in Ebnat-Kappel allows for a streamlined production process that can be controlled at every step.
Customer service quality
At IST AG we believe in working as closely as possible with our customers. This means you always have personal contact throughout the process. Personal contact is available globally with over 400 employees worldwide – across 5 international offices.
Working as development partners with our customers enables us to deliver to specific requirements or provide standardized sensor solutions – whatever your project needs. Our range of experience across a variety of industries brings unparalleled expertise to customer projects.
Quality in the area of customer service is proven by our long standing customers who trust us to deliver solutions they know will make a positive impact on their business.
All this makes us a reliable supplier and development partner.