"The look and feel was a critical part of the design,” Peter Hosking, head of Globalpower, said. “QTC touch technology enabled us to create a really intuitive, touch control interface that is very responsive with the slightest changes in pressure on the sensor, instantly changing the speed of the drill. Peratech's touch technology forms the very core of the design and our marketing of the new Touch drill.
"The drill is also designed to be used in the toughest of conditions with a five year warrantee so we needed to have a switch that was ultra-reliable. QTC sensors have no moving parts so they have a very long operational life and are proof against the dust, dirt and liquids that always go hand-in-hand with drilling."
"This is start of a new phase for Peratech,” said David Lussey, Peratech's CTO. “We are developing a new range of QTC inks with the assistance of the UK Centre for Process Innovation. These new inks enable QTC switches and sensors to be printed using standard printing techniques. This makes them very easy and inexpensive to mass produce plus they can be printed at the same time as other printed electronic components onto plastics, textiles, etc. QTC pressure sensors are the next generation of switch and sensor technology that can be used in a wide variety of control interface applications ranging from touch screens and white boards to vehicles and household goods. These solid state sensors have no moving parts, nothing to wear out, and no air gap to become contaminated."
Peratech makes extensive use of government grants to help fund new R&D into Quantum Tunnelling Composites. As a result, there are three PhD students working on this area of material science along with two University laboratories.
"This is all done on a commercial basis," explained Lussey, "and helps Peratech develop the whole area of QTC material science much faster than we could do on our own. Thanks to this government funding, we have doubled the number of patents that we are filing every year. This will really accelerate our presence in the market so that, within ten years, QTC technology could be in almost every electrical and electronic device providing innovative, ultra reliable, human machine interfaces."
The core of QTC technology is that QTC materials change their resistance when a force is applied such as pressure. This enables pressure sensors to be created that function as on/off switches or with a resistance change proportional to the pressure applied. The sensitivity can be fine-tuned to suit the application right from being so sensitive that QTC materials can sense pressure through glass for touchscreen applications to ultra-rugged designs for military use.