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Smart digital ultrasonic allows preventive maintenance and process optimization.

Up to 10% of all electrical energy used in industry goes solely into the production of compressed air. Approximately a third of this air leaks away, causing not only wasted energy and increased costs in these processes but also malfunctioning of the relevant machinery. In consequence, maintenance staff are often faced with the task of detecting compressed air escapes with very narrow-band analogue testing equipment and very rough estimated values. It is not uncommon for test measurements to have to be written down by hand.

With this in mind, SONOTEC and IMMS have now developed an innovative, digital sonographic testing device. The hand-held tester with a five-inch touchscreen provides preventive maintenance by a first-time combination. It contains an innovative measuring system that covers a wide frequency range (from 20 to 100 kHz) and innovative sensors for both structure-borne and air-borne sound, combined with smart apps that are intuitive in use. It features storage of test data, levels and spectrograms, generation of test reports and camera documentation of leaks. To transmit data efficiently and to enable the data to be integrated into existing systems, the device uses interfaces like Bluetooth, USB and SD/MMC.

IMMS was the designer of the digital components of the hardware and the developer of the FPGA firmware which is crucial to the performance of the device. IMMS also adapted and ported the Android operating system and developed algorithms by means of which the ultrasonic audio signal is converted into audible output. This last feature enables staff to make the association they have been used to on analogue devices.

SONOTEC and IMMS cooperated closely on a pilot run and the testing of the devices manufactured. The leak-finder was presented to the public for the first time at the Hannover Messe in the spring of 2016, with great success. IMMS has supported SONOTEC in the further transfer of the device to series production.

Acronym / Name:

SONAPHONE / Finding leaks in industrial processes with ultrasound sensors – a digital solution for the analogue world

Duration:2014 - 2016


Automation technology and Industry 4.0|Preventive maintenance| optimization of industrial processes| leak detection in compressed air systems

Research field:Smart distributed measurement and test systems|Integrated sensor systems

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Prof. Dr. Peter Holstein, SONOTEC GmbH

“IMMS has designed the digital components of the hardware to be used in our new digital ultrasonic testing device. The signal processing performance achieved is largely based on FPGA technology, a field in which IMMS has excellent references. Our joint work with IMMS went off perfectly.”

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Dr.-Ing. Tino Hutschenreuther

Head of System Design

tino.hutschenreuther(at) (0) 3677 874 93 40

Dr. Tino Hutschenreuther will answer your questions on our research in Smart distributed measurement and test systems and the related core topics Analysis of distributed IoT systems, Embedded AI and Real-time data processing and communications, on the lead applications Adaptive edge AI systems for industrial application and IoT systems for cooperative environmental monitoring as well as on the range of services for the development of embedded systems.

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