Fredericton-based Smart Skin Technologies, whose pressure-sensitive products help packaging companies operate more efficiently, has closed a $3.1 million round of funding.

Schott AG, a German maker of glass, glass-ceramics and packaging, is the lead investor in the round. It was joined by returning investor New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.

The 10-year-old company has developed a product called Quantifeel  -- a pressure-sensitive container that can be fed through a production line and warn packagers of costly bottlenecks.  

“This is an exciting period of growth for Smart Skin,” CEO Evan Justason said in a statement. “The funding will support the company’s platform development and market expansion, both geographically and in industry diversification.”

A team led by CTO Kumaran Thillainadarajah started Smart Skin in 2008 to commercialize technology developed at the University of New Brunswick that can detect pressure on a surface and chart it in real time on a computer or other device. After testing a few markets, the team hit on a product for the beverage industry.

Food and drink companies with huge production lines have problems regulating the flow of cans. If too many pack the lines at once, bottlenecks occur and the system must be halted and fixed, reducing productivity. By placing Smart Skin’s Quantifeel drones — fake cans lined with a pressure-sensitive skin — in the production line, managers can monitor pressure and motion in the lines and prevent bottlenecks.

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The company said it is now used by global brands in beverage, food production and pharmaceutical industries.

In conjunction with the strategic investment, Fabian Stöcker, Schott Pharmaceutical’s Vice President Global Strategy and Innovation, will join Smart Skin’s Board of Directors.

“The addition of Mr. Stöcker to the board of directors perfectly aligns with Smart Skin’s evolution and his industry expertise will be invaluable,” said Justason.

Schott has more than 130 years of development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of products and intelligent solutions. It is also one of the world’s leading suppliers of parenteral packaging for the pharmaceutical industry.

Smart Skin has won the World Beverage Innovation Award in the category “Best manufacturing or processing innovation” for the Quantifeel System.

In late 2013, Smart Skin raised $3.9 million in venture capital in a round led by Rho Canada Ventures, Build Ventures and the GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund. The round also included investment by NBIF and angel investors.