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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2017

The Makers of Custom-Design MEMS Pressure Transducers: DunAn Sensing LLC

thesiliconreview-tom-nguyen-ceo-dunan-sensing-llc-17DunAn Sensing LLC is a Silicon Valley startup for pressure transducers, led by a group of highly experienced Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)industry veterans. The company set out to create harsh media transducers using MEMS sensing elements – forgoing the traditional oil-filled stainless steel diaphragm – to fulfill market demands that were not being met. With the mission to create the most accurate, reliable and affordable pressure transducers on the market, in May of 2014, Tom Nguyen and DunAn Environment entered into a joint venture to form DunAn Sensing LLC in California, USA and DunAn Sensing Technology in Hangzhou, China.

DunAn Sensing’s development team has many years of experience in the MEMS pressure sensor industry. Dunan Sensing LLC focuses on the design, development, and research of the most advanced sensing devices utilizing MEMS and disruptive packaging technology without using oil fill, weld, and metal diaphragms. Dunan Sensing Technology focuses on high-volume sensors, transducers, and transmitters manufacturing

All design and product development are done at their San Jose, CA Facility. While the Hangzhou, China, operation manufactures high volume production.

In Colloquy with Tom Nguyen, Founder and CEO

What sets DunAn Sensing’s products apart?

Our pressure sensor products do not require isolation from the media that are being measured, unlike traditional-type packages that re- quire welded metal membranes and cavities to be filled with oil.

The simpler construction of our pressure sensing solution, which is based on our patent-pending MEMS packaging technology and eliminates the Aforementioned welding and oil fill, results in a higher performance, a higher reliability, and the possibility to miniaturize without loss in accuracy. Furthermore, our low-cost OEM pressure sensor can be manufactured in standard pack- ages and can also be customized to fit any specific application.

Can you talk about your first product that was launched?

HP and LP Series were specifically designed to address the needs of the HVAC/R market. Our packaging technology enabled us to create affordable products without sacrificing accuracy and reliability. Utilizing “design thinking,” we were able to create an awarding winning product that was based on the voice-of-the-customer.

How do you “Listen to the Voice of the Customer”?

Often times, products are developed and brought to the market based on engineering ideas. Likewise, there have been many times when marketing and customer needs were overlooked, and while the product may have met all the engineering criteria, it fails to fulfill the ideal needs of the customer.

Targeting the HVAC/R market, we talked with our customers and learned that they were using the pressure measurement of the refrigerant to calculate superheat. Superheat gives an indication if the amount of refrigerant flowing into the evaporator is appropriate for the load. With increasing energy costs and growing demands for more efficient cooling systems, the need for accurate superheat measurements has become more important for more accurate control.

But in an effort to really understand the customer needs and application of the pressure transducer we pushed further. With some research, we learned that when calculating superheat it is ideal to measure the temperature at the same point as the pressure measurement. By doing so, we were able to create an amazing New product, the TP Series that measures both pressure and temperature simultaneously. This was all possible by listening to what the customer really needs.

What led to the development of “DURAsense®Core”?

Our pressure transducers were already designed to included DURAsense®which means the design incorporates; Accuracy, Reliability, and Affordability. Our initial at- tempts didn’t provide the results we wanted, so we went back to the drawing board and developed the DURAsense®Core. The Core really helped on many fronts, the ceramic core package allows for very high volume testing and manufacturing.

The DURAsense®Core also now incorporates the electronics thereby, allowing us to test and calibrate the DURAsense®Core without a pres- sure port or housing. This keeps test fixture mass to a minimum and removes the need to wrench each device to the test fixture. This allows for high volume manufacturing and Affordability while maintaining Accuracy and Reliability.

What are the future prospects of DunAn Sensing?

We just launched our Award-winning TP Series an integrated pressure and temperature sensors at Sensors Midwest 2017! The components employ our proprietary DURAsense® packaging and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) pressure sensor integration strategy with a precision thermistor to provide highly accurate pressure and temperature outputs at a low cost. Best of Sensors Midwest Award Winner: TP Series Pressure/Temperature Sensor.

We plan to continue innovating in the realm of pressure sensors as well as other types of sensors that are required by the voice of our customers. We want to be known as THE sensor experts and expand our technology.

Greet the Thought Leader

Tom Nguyen, Founder, and CEO: Nguyen has over 25 years of engineering, operations, and business development experience in the MEMS and semiconductor industry. Before founding DunAn Sensing, Nguyen served as the Executive Director of Engineering and Operations at S3C, Inc., a subsidiary of the Nagano Keiki group of companies and a leading manufacturer of industrial and automotive pressure sensors. Prior to S3C, Inc., he was a founder of AVsensors, a MEMS pressure sensor company, and a co-founder of Celerity Research, a high-speed test-interface company. Nguyen also held a variety of business development and management positions at Invensense, Merit Sensor Systems, GE NovaSensor, Integrated Sensor Solutions, and ICSensors where he designed and developed many of the pressure sensors and accelerometer, transmitter and transducer products.

Nguyen has published several technical papers related to testing and probing of high-density and high pin count semiconductor devices and reliability testing for the automotive industry. He is the author or co-author of 10 patents on wafer probe test technology and MEMS Pressure sensor packaging.

“We offer high-performance OEM pressure sensors, transducers, and transmitters, which are sealed and compatible with harsh media.”