An electronic nose (e-nose) is a substitute for the human sense of smells which detects odor and flavor. This device uses electronic sensing for comparison, identification, quantification, and even data storage and recovery. Electronic noses comprise three primary elements: a delivery system, a discovery system, and a calculating system. Presently, industries perform tests with the help of gas chromatographs and human experts to test the flavors and scents of goods during production, as well as to measure their levels of freshness and damage. The e-nose affords a comparatively higher number of benefits. For example, for companies handling large-scale production activities, it is not logistically possible to track the freshness, quality, and cleanliness of each product by means of human sensing. In these cases, the e-nose helps ascertain if the goods meet quality standards. E-noses are cost-effective and cover larger areas.
Usage of e-noses as the first line of defense against hazardous environments for health care and consumer goods is expected to grow during the forecast period. Artificial sensors which identify and test a range of parameters could be incorporated into an analytical apparatus and used to scan the general situation, or particularly to detect the leak of dangerous gases or decayed goods. E-noses are essentially a real-time tool identifying hazardous gases at a lower cost. In the food and beverages industry, they are employed to assess the freshness of goods used as both input and output – an essential step to verify product quality. Due to an increasing demand from this sector, manufacturers are estimated to raise their production capacities. E-noses are also helpful to store previously identified readings which could be used for future reference.
There is a rising incidence of sanitary and phytosanitary measures with respect to import restrictions in developed nations such as the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Major exporting countries such as India, Bangladesh, China, and Japan take measures to ensure quality product delivery, resulting in a high demand for the e-nose in these countries during the forecast period. A major influence on the market is also the implementation of micro-electro-mechanical sensors (MEMS) in e-noses. However, the bulky size of the device is a major constraint. Developments have been made in MEMS to produce miniaturized versions of e-noses. These sensors have a much greater variety of applications.
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The global e-nose market has only a few vendors and is therefore not very competitive. It is likely to expand at a low but steady rate. Manufacturers have constantly been engaged in R&D to create a low-cost, mass-producible, transportable device. Due to marginal profits, it is difficult for even the existing players to sustain.
End-users of the e-nose include laboratories, food & beverages, crime & security, and the rapidly growing health & security and environmental monitoring segments. With the development of a portable e-nose capable of providing accurate results in an open-air environment, the demand from the crime & security sector is projected to rise as well. The expansion of the food & beverages industry (especially cold and packaged food) plays a role as well. By region, this market is distributed over North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. North America accounts for a major share in this market, which is also estimated to grow steadily. The market in Asia Pacific holds a significant potential, owing to the development of the production industry.
Key e-nose manufacturers include Alpha MOS in France, E-Nose Pty in Australia, Electronic Sensor Technology in the U.S., The e-Nose Company in the Netherlands, and Odotech in Canada.