Rietheim-Weilheim, November 12, 2020 – With the Superior Sensor Solution (S³), Marquardt, the mechatronics system specialist, has developed a capacitive sensor that functions flawlessly, even in damp and wet conditions. Its use in keyless systems for vehicles ensures that doors can be opened and closed reliably, even in rain and snow.

    Conventional sensors are unable to distinguish between the touch of a finger and the impact of a raindrop. This is due to the fact that the human body and water have the same effects in terms of capacitance. If a door handle is wet or icy, previous sensors detect a change in capacitance similar to that of a hand when the change is in fact due to drops of water, for example. This can lead to malfunctions.

    S3 knows the difference.

    With the Superior Sensor Solution S³, Marquardt now offers a door handle sensor that will not be triggered by unwanted external influences. That’s because S³ does not respond to touch – it responds to approach. Where conventional sensors only measure the change in capacitance, the new sensor analyzes the origin of the change and adjusts its response accordingly. In other words: S³ can distinguish between a user’s hand and a raindrop. “We are therefore able to solve all water-related vehicle malfunctions. This applies not only to door handles, but also to other areas, such as the fuel tank cap, trunk, bonnet and key panels on the B-pillar,” explains Johannes Mattes, who is responsible for the technical development of door handle sensors for Marquardt’s customers across the globe.

    Adaptation to customer requirements thanks to modular design

    While the standard version of the S³ includes one sensor for measuring the change in capacitance, the dual-sensor version has two or three sensor surfaces. In addition to the components for opening and closing the doors, door handle lighting and lighting for the area in front of the vehicle can also be installed on the longer circuit board. All S³ systems are prepared for an NFC (Near Field Communication) function extension. An integrated antenna then allows the user to open and close the car with their smartphone (iOS or Android). If necessary, the NFC system can be updated by means of flashing in order to adapt the technology to the latest generation of smartphones. The connection to the on-board electronics is established via interfaces for LIN X.X. and CAN 2.0/FD. The S³ sensor fits underneath almost all closed surfaces, such as plastic, tile, wood or leather, which means it does not disturb the vehicle’s aesthetics.

    The modular principle of its product development platforms allows Marquardt to respond to the individual wishes of its customers in a targeted manner and to develop the right solution for each model together with the OEM.

    Broad range of applications

    The new touch solution is not only an optimum solution for the automotive industry, it also lends itself to other industries in which sensor-controlled products come into contact with water. Such industries include, for example, construction and agricultural machinery, vessels, power tools, high-pressure cleaners, housing technology or household appliances. “S3 is an option wherever touch solutions are possible and wherever water penetration is possible. This also applies to everyday household applications, such as turning the shower on and off or controlling the stove,” explains Johannes Mattes.

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