everything RF recently interviewed Mr. Ashish Mehta, the CEO and Co-Founder of TransferFI, a company that is dedicated to creating long-range, safe, and efficient Wireless Power Network (WPN) technology. The company has developed a wireless power solution that eliminates batteries and cables for Industrial IoT Applications.
Here is the full interaction we had with Aashish over his company and how they are transforming the wireless power industry:
Q. Can you tell us more about the Company? When was it founded, where is it based and what was the objective?
Aashish Mehta: TransferFi (TFi) was incorporated in Singapore since 2017 with the mission of creating long-range, safe and efficient Wireless Power Network (WPN) technology. Me and Dr. Reza, met during the Entrepreneur First program in Singapore and were aligned on creating technology that could make an impact on society. By creating cutting edge wireless power technology, we knew we could create a steep change in humanity pursuing a vision of providing access to power to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Q. Can you tell us more about the Technology that you have developed? How does it work?
Aashish Mehta: The TFi WPN IIoT system is very similar to a wireless communication system, but there’s wireless power added to it. A typical user will install a TFi Gateway, which will be plugged in or battery operated and mount a maximum of 32 TFi Sense devices anywhere within a certain radius from the TFi Gateway. They’ll switch the system on and the TFi Gateway will automatically calibrate and start delivering power to all the TFI Sense devices around a facility. The TFi Sense units will collect data from the sensors, perform edge analysis and send it back to the TFi Gateway. That’s all that’s required to run the wireless power network as pictured below.
Q. What is the range of this wireless technology? How much power can be transferred using it?
Aashish Mehta: TFi WPN is the first in the world to be able to power up sensors up to 50 meters away. With long range wireless power, we have deployed the TFi Sense devices for applications that require high data rates and edge computing, where batteries would typically last for about 3 months. As the Turin platform is optimized for industrial IoT, we are focused on reliability, sensor quantity and the data transmission rate. Currently, a TFi Gateway can power 32 TFi Sense units (equivalent to more than 200 sensors), at a maximum distance of 50 meters and a max data transmission rate of 5 Hz.
Q. Does the system require a Line of Sight from the Gateway to the Sensor?
Aashish Mehta: Previously, commercial deployments have always been unreliable and have never been optimized for scale. With TFi One Click™ calibration and time-sharing software, we are able to optimize targeting, time-sharing and beamform signals based on receiver targets’ location and application load without the need for a direct line of sight from the Gateway to the Sensor.
Q. Is Long Range Wireless Power Transfer dangerous? What safety tests have you conducted?
Aashish Mehta: The core breakthrough is all in the patented system level algorithms that TransferFi developed based on feedback from multiple pilots with Fortune 100 multinational companies, which have approved the reliability, robustness and quality of the system. The safety standards will be obtained once manufacturing is established by end 2020.
Q. Wireless Charging/Power has been possible for quite some time? Why do you feel it took so long to commercialize?
Aashish Mehta: In 1906, Nikola Tesla built the Wardenclyffe Tower as an early experimental wireless transmission station. Wireless power has indeed been around for a long time but it was predominantly focused on powering existing devices, like mobile phones and consumer electronics. These devices were not designed to be power efficient and had to deal with many constraints such as range, cost and form factor.
There are no benchmarks or standards for wireless power network. At TransferFi, we are creating turnkey solutions for wireless power transfer. Our core technology is designed from the ground up, focused on specific application areas like smart buildings, predictive maintenance and logistics. This by far, creates a greater impact in terms of cost savings by digitizing a physical space without sacrificing downtime.
Q. What are the different parts of the TransferFi Solution?
Aashish Mehta: The design is a patented overall system level architecture with algorithms that optimize both the transmission and receiving end that safely extends the range of WPN for IIoT up to 50 meters. The beamforming and a signal optimization algorithms developed help focus the beam towards the target devices efficiently. The patents are focused on these areas: optimization for better RF to DC conversion and precise beamforming angles; shorter deployment time using TFi One Click™ calibration and time-sharing software; enhanced beam focus with a 16 channel TFi Gateway.
Q. Have you deployed this technology commercially yet? Can you tell us more about these projects?
Aashish Mehta: TransferFi is working with the world’s top industrial automation companies providing the TFi WPN platform which will wirelessly power up sensor networks for high value assets, providing seamless predictive maintenance and control capabilities. The platform provides a scalable solution which is specifically built for smart buildings, logistics, manufacturing plants where large-scale sensor deployments are necessary. The TFi platform is truly wireless and ideal with inbuilt edge computing capabilities coupled with temperature, humidity, air pressure, 3-axis vibration, sound and air quality sensors.
Smart building case study deployment - It’s expected that about 5,000 on average will be deployed for a smart building. Currently it’s hard to handle the scale with the expense of cabling infrastructure and the maintenance cost of replacing batteries. The sensors will control and monitor HVAC, lighting, maintenance schedules, access control and energy monitoring. We have showcased a drop of 50% in installation cost and more than 80% in deployment time with an uptime of more than 99.96%.
Q. What are the advantages of the wireless power solutions over existing wired solutions?
Aashish Mehta: Industrial concepts such as Industrie 4.0, smart buildings and smart cities are not a reality currently as it requires large scale sensor deployments which require complex wiring infrastructure that takes very long to deploy and hurts business with expensive down time.
With the current wired sensor deployments, majority of deployment time is wasted on installation & cabling, which consists of more than 60% of the overall sensor deployment budget. That figure is increasing every year as labor costs are constantly on the rise. The inevitable cost for wiring is creating a barrier to digitization, IoT and the dream of full autonomy.
Q. How reliable is it compared to wireless solutions for Industrial solutions? Are there any failsafes?
Aashish Mehta: Traditional wiring installations are subjected damage in power surges, wiring pilferage and cable damage which is costly to replace. Our deployments at world’s top industrial automation companies have approved the reliability, robustness and quality of the system with an uptime of more than 99.96%.
We have redundancies for power outages and our network has auto calibration that optimizes wireless power transfer. Our technology is based on 11 years of combined research in the field of optimization of far-field wireless power transfer combined with 8 years of experience within industrial automation.
Q. How much does the system cost to install and operate when compared to existing wired solutions? Can you give us some examples of cost comparisons?
Aashish Mehta: More than 60% of IIoT cost goes into cabling & installation. TFi WPN will reduce the cost of installation by 50% and reduce deployment time by 80%. The system is ready to be deployed and its value proposition cannot be ignored. As all the development is designed in house, we would be able to provide a customized solution according to the application. Customers can also choose to adopt our technology on a rental model based on the number of assets.
Q. Does it make sense to use this wireless power technology for a new installation or can it be applied to an existing one as well?
Aashish Mehta: TFi WPN is a fully customizable turnkey solution which can be used to reduce cost of installation and downtime for new and existing buildings. The platform provides a scalable solution which is specifically built for smart buildings, logistics, manufacturing plants where large-scale sensor deployments are necessary.
Q. In how many locations is your technology being used? Can you install this outside Singapore as well? How would you go about doing that?
Aashish Mehta: TFi WPN has been deployed in multinational companies to enable industrial IoT and can be used worldwide. Slight adjustments to frequency band might need to be updated specifically for certain countries.
Q. Who is your target audience for this wireless power solutions?
Aashish Mehta: We already have presence in the top 3 industrialized countries namely, the United States, Europe and Japan. Industrie 4.0 and Factory of the Future are drivers for our wireless power network and we are focused on providing scalable solutions specifically built for smart buildings, manufacturing plants logistics and data centres where large-scale sensor deployments are necessary.
About Aashish Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder, TransferFI
Mr. Ashish Mehta, the CEO and Co-Founder of TransferFI, a company that is dedicated to creating long-range, safe, and efficient Wireless Power Network (WPN) technology. He graduated from University of Wisconsin, USA, with a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. He joined NI in 2007 as an Application Engineer in USA, then moved on to the Singapore office as an FPGA Specialist and later took on the Application Engineering Manager role for NI ASEAN. He then managed the Marketing team for NI ASEAN, providing technical consultation to customers across the ASEAN region, evangelize NI, be a thought leader on panels, industry forums, professional groups and advise on new technologies or high-growth areas. His field of interest is in FPGAs. Currently, with his experience from NI, various startups, multiple DIY projects, he is working as a C0-Founder and CEO of TransferFi.
Aashish is a serial innovator and a tinkerer that has 8 years of experience within a cutting edge hi-tech firm, National Instruments, consulting system level solutions and representing ASEAN as the Industrial Internet of Things and Big Analog Data expert.
Click here for more information on the New TFi Turin Wireless Power Network that Eliminates Batteries and Cables for Industrial IoT.