Dave Wagner, Engineering Fellow, Sensors
Dave Wagner, Engineering Fellow, Sensors
To grow successfully, we need to understand the problem our customer is trying to solve, and where the technology is going. Then we develop a solution using our tool box full of advanced technologies, we have diligently worked to build.

Dave focuses on simple approaches to difficult problems. For Dave, there are tough problems, but never big problems. Project teams must approach problems by first defining and breaking down the big problems into small pieces, and then work methodically to tackle each one. He instills that to get this right, it requires assembling the right group of people who can tackle each piece. With the right approach and the right team of internal and external members we can address much of the items in parallel, leaving enough time to recover should a problem come up. For Dave, failure happens when engineers fail to evaluate the project and resources early on. Instead, he has seen engineers jump too soon into a project, trying to figure out each piece as it comes up. They spend much of their time up reinventing the wheel, which causes inefficiencies and delays. Throughout his 30-year career, Dave has designed sensors and sensor systems. He finds it the perfect job for a Physics guy who likes to bend rules, and design and build stuff. Every application he works on, he applies his knowledge in solving for different requirements, which generally cover many fields of study including chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering. It's all a fantastic puzzle for him, and a privilege to use this knowledge in helping customers apply sensors that add more functionality and more value to their applications.

1

Which challenges is your team working to solve?

Building strategies and technical roadmaps for our key technologies. This includes our MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) sensor chips and ASIC’s (Application Specific Integrated Circuits). For years, we managed different sensor groups like individual businesses, which meant that each group (Pressure, Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, Position, etc.) worked individually in solving technical issues, without much alignment or collaboration between the teams.


As we started to integrate our business and expand our strategy, I worked across the teams to organize MEMS and ASIC councils, which includes as members experts from all Sensor teams globally. This enables us to analyze competitors and market opportunities as well as best practices in design and technical gap analysis. Today, we are defining where we need to be over the next 5 years. These councils have enabled us to standardize design practices, and now serve to provide peer reviews on new designs. This means we can define our technical Roadmaps and update these regularly as industry standards evolve. It’s how we approach staying on top of what customers need and being there to help them win. It’s fun and demanding work, because our councils include some of the most brilliant technical minds in the sensor industry.

2

What are specific challenges you are working on?

I am working to improve and accelerate the ways we identify and engage in advanced development. To keep our tool box full of the latest technologies, we track the time we spend on advanced development and compare it against our total engineering hours spent. A healthy ratio of advanced engineering and NPI enables us to operate nimbly and move at the customer’s pace. It also ensures we are building technology for the future as well as filling current customer applications. This includes building technology from organic and inorganic sources.


Organically, I directly coach the technical staff, and as a member of our AdPAC review team and member of our IP council, I approve, recommend, and define projects to fill our technical gaps. I work very closely with our Engineering directors and tag-team with them to ensure we are working on the most beneficial gap-filling projects. Outside of our direct technical teams, I also work closely with our Corporate Technology team. This group has fantastic capabilities. Together, we have developed technologies that helped propel significant growth.
To make these breakthroughs possible, we also build our technology inorganically, which means working with Universities and identifying acquisition targets and the technology they bring. Finding the right partners includes analyzing competitors and startup companies that could give us technical advantage in the marketplace.

3

Which technology trends are you following?

Med-Tech has my attention. Given the rising cost of medical care, and the lack of hospital rooms in general, we are looking at wearable medical technology and take-home medical devices. These are huge growth areas. We have solutions that address a significant number of sensing requirements in these markets. We are developing sensors for take-home dialysis systems (both hemodialysis and peritoneal), wearable insulin pumps, fitness trackers, mobile IV infusion pumps, stationary bike regular bike force sensors, and much more. The result is that all these technologies allow doctors to manage patient health while allowing the patent to continue on with their ordinary daily activities.


Med-Tech aligns with our focus on making sensors products smaller, more accurate, and smarter. This is important because outside the hospital, there are no nurses or technicians to watch the equipment and ensure that the systems are operating properly. This means that the sensor must be smart enough to flag a problem should one arise. It also means that in a home healthcare situation, the equipment must be robust enough to stand up to abuse. For example, an O2 concentrator could be set outside during regenerating. Thus, it needs to survive no matter the temperature or conditions, such as ice, rain etc. Also, where hospital equipment is normally rack mounted, take home sensors such as wearable insulin pumps will get dropped over and over. There’s also chemical attacks that sensors must survive such as sweat, body fluids and Chlorine. All of these are extremely corrosive in wearable fitness and health tracker applications. So, in addition to meeting design requirements for small size, lightweight, and corrosion resistance, sensors for Med-Tech must offer reliability under harsh use and conditions.


Another market trend is in instrumentation for the high-purity equipment industry. Here we need to ramp new designs quickly to make the tools in wafer foundries that make microprocessors and IC’s. This industry requires very high accuracy and quality, because the wafers are extremely expensive to process. Even a slight yield change, due to process variation, can affect profitability. To achieve expected outcomes, we work very closely with suppliers in equipment, measurement, and control; this enables us to design the right solution and stay on top of the market trends. The market for wafer fabrication equipment is very cyclable, with sharp up-ticks and lulls. From an engineering point-of-view, this means we need to function nimbly, to get our designs in and qualified just prior to an up-tick. If we miss the design-in period, we miss the opportunity. We have been successful because we have the capability to move at the customer’s pace.

4

Which market forces may have the most impact on the evolution of TE’s sensors solutions?

The market is changing rapidly, and it’s focusing increasingly on electrification, autonomous vehicle systems, and a clean internal-combustion engine. In electric vehicles, the focus is on achieving high efficiency goals for power consumption. To make this possible, we need to understand the precise angular displacement of the rotor, so that power is placed on the coils at the right time. We engineer our resolvers – and other position measuring sensor technology – to achieve this.


Without a combustion engine always spinning in a vehicle, simple things like running the air-conditioning system or powering the power-brake systems are more complex and require sensors. For example, in the air conditioning systems of electric vehicles there is a need for more accurate pressure sensors measuring the refrigerant pressure for both cabin and the battery system cooling. Also electric vehicles, require sensors for measuring current and temperature during charging. The use of sensors to improve battery life and improve safety and efficiency is also evolving. Battery companies are now looking at how sensors can measure current, temperature, humidity, chemistry and pressure of the individual battery cells.


In autonomous vehicles, there are also sensor requirements for LiDAR, radar, ultrasonic, and other guidance systems. In addition, in an autonomous vehicle with no driver to notice when something is not right, you need additional sensors to detect problems. For example, you need to have a sensor to detect when there is a wheel out of balance, or a knocking sound coming from the engine, or even if someone has gotten sick in the passenger area. (Yes, there are sensors for this!)
Sensors for cleaner internal-combustion engines are also creating new applications, especially in the after-treatment of the exhaust. These systems require various temperature sensors, in particularly locations around the catalytic and SCR converters. There’s also a need for sensors in Urea injection systems, which clean up NOx emissions in diesel engines. One new solution being addressed is a pressure sensor designed to measure differential pressure across particle filters in the exhaust. While these have been used in diesel vehicles for the past 10 years, they will begin appearing in gasoline engines soon. These will reduce smog, specifically the white haze that’s visible on a smoggy day, which is primarily caused by small gasoline-combustion emissions. These smaller light-colored particles are actually more hazardous than the larger diesel particles as they are more apt to get stuck in the lungs.

Dave Wagner, Engineering Fellow, Sensors
Dave Wagner, Engineering Fellow, Sensors
To grow successfully, we need to understand the problem our customer is trying to solve, and where the technology is going. Then we develop a solution using our tool box full of advanced technologies, we have diligently worked to build.

Dave focuses on simple approaches to difficult problems. For Dave, there are tough problems, but never big problems. Project teams must approach problems by first defining and breaking down the big problems into small pieces, and then work methodically to tackle each one. He instills that to get this right, it requires assembling the right group of people who can tackle each piece. With the right approach and the right team of internal and external members we can address much of the items in parallel, leaving enough time to recover should a problem come up. For Dave, failure happens when engineers fail to evaluate the project and resources early on. Instead, he has seen engineers jump too soon into a project, trying to figure out each piece as it comes up. They spend much of their time up reinventing the wheel, which causes inefficiencies and delays. Throughout his 30-year career, Dave has designed sensors and sensor systems. He finds it the perfect job for a Physics guy who likes to bend rules, and design and build stuff. Every application he works on, he applies his knowledge in solving for different requirements, which generally cover many fields of study including chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering. It's all a fantastic puzzle for him, and a privilege to use this knowledge in helping customers apply sensors that add more functionality and more value to their applications.

1

Which challenges is your team working to solve?

Building strategies and technical roadmaps for our key technologies. This includes our MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) sensor chips and ASIC’s (Application Specific Integrated Circuits). For years, we managed different sensor groups like individual businesses, which meant that each group (Pressure, Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, Position, etc.) worked individually in solving technical issues, without much alignment or collaboration between the teams.


As we started to integrate our business and expand our strategy, I worked across the teams to organize MEMS and ASIC councils, which includes as members experts from all Sensor teams globally. This enables us to analyze competitors and market opportunities as well as best practices in design and technical gap analysis. Today, we are defining where we need to be over the next 5 years. These councils have enabled us to standardize design practices, and now serve to provide peer reviews on new designs. This means we can define our technical Roadmaps and update these regularly as industry standards evolve. It’s how we approach staying on top of what customers need and being there to help them win. It’s fun and demanding work, because our councils include some of the most brilliant technical minds in the sensor industry.

2

What are specific challenges you are working on?

I am working to improve and accelerate the ways we identify and engage in advanced development. To keep our tool box full of the latest technologies, we track the time we spend on advanced development and compare it against our total engineering hours spent. A healthy ratio of advanced engineering and NPI enables us to operate nimbly and move at the customer’s pace. It also ensures we are building technology for the future as well as filling current customer applications. This includes building technology from organic and inorganic sources.


Organically, I directly coach the technical staff, and as a member of our AdPAC review team and member of our IP council, I approve, recommend, and define projects to fill our technical gaps. I work very closely with our Engineering directors and tag-team with them to ensure we are working on the most beneficial gap-filling projects. Outside of our direct technical teams, I also work closely with our Corporate Technology team. This group has fantastic capabilities. Together, we have developed technologies that helped propel significant growth.
To make these breakthroughs possible, we also build our technology inorganically, which means working with Universities and identifying acquisition targets and the technology they bring. Finding the right partners includes analyzing competitors and startup companies that could give us technical advantage in the marketplace.

3

Which technology trends are you following?

Med-Tech has my attention. Given the rising cost of medical care, and the lack of hospital rooms in general, we are looking at wearable medical technology and take-home medical devices. These are huge growth areas. We have solutions that address a significant number of sensing requirements in these markets. We are developing sensors for take-home dialysis systems (both hemodialysis and peritoneal), wearable insulin pumps, fitness trackers, mobile IV infusion pumps, stationary bike regular bike force sensors, and much more. The result is that all these technologies allow doctors to manage patient health while allowing the patent to continue on with their ordinary daily activities.


Med-Tech aligns with our focus on making sensors products smaller, more accurate, and smarter. This is important because outside the hospital, there are no nurses or technicians to watch the equipment and ensure that the systems are operating properly. This means that the sensor must be smart enough to flag a problem should one arise. It also means that in a home healthcare situation, the equipment must be robust enough to stand up to abuse. For example, an O2 concentrator could be set outside during regenerating. Thus, it needs to survive no matter the temperature or conditions, such as ice, rain etc. Also, where hospital equipment is normally rack mounted, take home sensors such as wearable insulin pumps will get dropped over and over. There’s also chemical attacks that sensors must survive such as sweat, body fluids and Chlorine. All of these are extremely corrosive in wearable fitness and health tracker applications. So, in addition to meeting design requirements for small size, lightweight, and corrosion resistance, sensors for Med-Tech must offer reliability under harsh use and conditions.


Another market trend is in instrumentation for the high-purity equipment industry. Here we need to ramp new designs quickly to make the tools in wafer foundries that make microprocessors and IC’s. This industry requires very high accuracy and quality, because the wafers are extremely expensive to process. Even a slight yield change, due to process variation, can affect profitability. To achieve expected outcomes, we work very closely with suppliers in equipment, measurement, and control; this enables us to design the right solution and stay on top of the market trends. The market for wafer fabrication equipment is very cyclable, with sharp up-ticks and lulls. From an engineering point-of-view, this means we need to function nimbly, to get our designs in and qualified just prior to an up-tick. If we miss the design-in period, we miss the opportunity. We have been successful because we have the capability to move at the customer’s pace.

4

Which market forces may have the most impact on the evolution of TE’s sensors solutions?

The market is changing rapidly, and it’s focusing increasingly on electrification, autonomous vehicle systems, and a clean internal-combustion engine. In electric vehicles, the focus is on achieving high efficiency goals for power consumption. To make this possible, we need to understand the precise angular displacement of the rotor, so that power is placed on the coils at the right time. We engineer our resolvers – and other position measuring sensor technology – to achieve this.


Without a combustion engine always spinning in a vehicle, simple things like running the air-conditioning system or powering the power-brake systems are more complex and require sensors. For example, in the air conditioning systems of electric vehicles there is a need for more accurate pressure sensors measuring the refrigerant pressure for both cabin and the battery system cooling. Also electric vehicles, require sensors for measuring current and temperature during charging. The use of sensors to improve battery life and improve safety and efficiency is also evolving. Battery companies are now looking at how sensors can measure current, temperature, humidity, chemistry and pressure of the individual battery cells.


In autonomous vehicles, there are also sensor requirements for LiDAR, radar, ultrasonic, and other guidance systems. In addition, in an autonomous vehicle with no driver to notice when something is not right, you need additional sensors to detect problems. For example, you need to have a sensor to detect when there is a wheel out of balance, or a knocking sound coming from the engine, or even if someone has gotten sick in the passenger area. (Yes, there are sensors for this!)
Sensors for cleaner internal-combustion engines are also creating new applications, especially in the after-treatment of the exhaust. These systems require various temperature sensors, in particularly locations around the catalytic and SCR converters. There’s also a need for sensors in Urea injection systems, which clean up NOx emissions in diesel engines. One new solution being addressed is a pressure sensor designed to measure differential pressure across particle filters in the exhaust. While these have been used in diesel vehicles for the past 10 years, they will begin appearing in gasoline engines soon. These will reduce smog, specifically the white haze that’s visible on a smoggy day, which is primarily caused by small gasoline-combustion emissions. These smaller light-colored particles are actually more hazardous than the larger diesel particles as they are more apt to get stuck in the lungs.