Magnetic Inks

Printable magnetofluids

Development work 2016 - 2018

This two-year development project focused on the development of liquid magnets for inkjet and pad printing, the printable magnetofluids or magnetic inks/colours. The application of these inks is mainly in the field of magnetosensor technology. The Berlin company Bogen Electronic GmbH, an established manufacturer of magnetosensors or magnetic sensing heads and magnetic marking systems, enquired about this development with us and was then our development partner for the development period. Since this type of development involved an immense amount of time, it could only be completed with the support of a funding project.



Magnetically Precise Positioning (GePos) -  Robots have to approach positions precisely in order to be able to process workpieces accurately. The optical sensors used for this can only measure linear and angular positions precisely in a clean environment, without contact and with high accuracy. For this reason, magnetic measuring solutions have established themselves for difficult applications.

Unfortunately, however, the magnetic measuring systems available today are inferior to optical systems in terms of measuring accuracy. Also in harsh measuring environments, such as machine tools or laser cutting, there is an increasing need for high-precision and low-cost measuring solutions that function in these environmental conditions. This can significantly expand the application of magnetic measurement technology.

Problem definition

The aim of the KMU-innovativ project GePos is a highly accurate magnetic measurement solution that combines all the advantages of magnetic with the high accuracy of optical measurement technology. The main focus is on the increase in accuracy and the considerably higher robustness of the magnetic solutions.


Technology and Methods

Sensors in which the electrical resistance changes due to an external magnetic field are called magnetoresistive. In the envisioned solution, such a sensor can read a scale printed with magnetic ink using the same reading technique as modern computer hard drives. With magnetic ink, a combination of printing and magnetic encoding makes it possible to create much smaller subdivisions on the scale than before. The position information is derived from the magnetic properties of the magnetic ink. With the help of the smaller structure sizes, a higher measurement accuracy is achieved. In the project, the sensor and the associated evaluation as well as the magnetic ink and the scale production are developed and prototypically tested.

To validate the results, a prototype will demonstrate the function of the magnetic measuring solution with printed scale.

Application and Results

After the successful completion of the project, the partners involved will be able to bring a magnetic measuring system into use that can compete with optical systems in terms of measuring accuracy. In addition, users can benefit from the advantages of magnetic measurement technology, such as reliable function in polluted environments and high reading distance. The expected lower investment costs represent a further advantage for end users. Together with the design freedom resulting from magnetic measurement technology, new automation concepts can be built that are not technically feasible with current sensors. In harsh production environments, the new solution will contribute to higher positioning accuracy of the machines and better process reliability.


Project partners and tasks

Bogen Electronic GmbH, Berlin (Germany)
Manufacturer of magnetic products: Development and validation of the overall solution and the plant realisation

Octopus Fluids GmbH & Co. KG, Dresden (Germany)
Manufacturer of chemical products: Development of printing techniques

Project link to Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)