smaXteck animal care GmbH

success story

Development of inside monitoring systems for dairy cows

pH - probe for the application in dairy cattle rumen (intraruminal)

About the company and the project impact

SmaXtec animal care is a worldwide market leader for intraruminal sensor systems for dairy cattle. SmaXtec produces and distributes bolus sensors that are placed in the rumen of dairy cows to monitor the animal’s wellbeing and certain nutrition efficiency parameters. The bolus sensor's benefit is precise long-term monitoring of pH in a chemically hostile environment.

SmaXtec has the biggest collection of respective pH data worldwide, including their interpretation, and has the potential to serve a broad customer range with products, as well as a user-friendly, automated interpretation of the data. To fully exploit the huge market potential and to apply the unique knowledge about pH in dairy cattle rumen, the pH-Sensor needs to become cheaper, as well as more robust and durable. Therefore, the project’s main objective was the successful establishment of a more durable alternative to the probes presently used in the company's sensor units.

KET Technology Advanced materials

KET Technology Centers involved

  • Joanneum Research | Austria

  • RISE ICT/ Acreo - Sensor Systems | Sweden

KET Technology Micro-/nano-electronics

The establishment of service life for the pH probe of up to 18 months (compared to 6 months for the technology used in the company's commercial products) was essential for taking full advantage of the analytical and diagnostic potential of the rumen sensors. It enables much more precise conclusions and nutrition instructions for scientific purposes, as well as for livestock farmers. The Project’s outcome thus implies a significant leap towards more efficient and reliable bolus sensors and will support the extension of the company's markets from mainly scientific customers to also livestock farmers, who will be able to increase productivity and reduce emissions.

The sustainability of the product is expressed in the following ways: Largely expanded service life of the pH probe, for the first time covering the full period of interest for permanent monitoring of the animal’s wellbeing with all due accuracy; Improved cost-efficiency of probe production, thus enabling a more pronounced market penetration; Improvement of animal wellbeing in livestock farming, resulting in higher profits and a smaller number of veterinary issues; Improvement of nutrition “precision”, resulting in reduced methane emission.

KET4CleanProduction enables us to proceed in big steps towards an optimized manufacturing process for advanced and more reliable bolus sensors, all to the benefit of our end customers. Leading-Edge efficient procedures in dairy cattle nutrition require precise and permanent long-term monitoring of the processes inside the single animal – enabled by smaXtec sensor solutions. Very unique requirements to the sensor materials used in our products imply the necessity for close cooperation with scientific partners.


Key success factors

The key success factor of the project was very open, goal-oriented communication between SmaXtec and the research partners.

The KET TCs valued but also challenged the company´s existing approach and provided alternative solutions. smaXtec was not only able to expand its technical expertise in this very specific field of application, but could also broaden its horizons with regard to approaching complex issues in cooperative research through the intense exchange with the KET TCs. The cooperation with the project partners was enriching in every respect.