Vaisala’s 85 years of innovation, part 2/3 - To celebrate Vaisala’s anniversary, we’ll publish a series of blogs, where we take a look back where it all started, and recollect what we have been up to for the past five years.
In the first part of our blog series, we discussed how curiosity has played a key role in Vaisala from the start: in identifying new measurement challenges and developing even better solutions to our customers’ needs. Curiosity and courage have also been crucial for our business expansion: during the past five years, Vaisala’s net sales have grown significantly and the operating result has increased from 22.3 MEUR to 44.8 MEUR.
New innovations and continuous product and system development are a great source for growth. In addition, we have accelerated growth during the past years by acquiring new business.
In October 2017, Vaisala acquired Vionice, a Finnish company specializing in machine vision and artificial intelligence.
In the following year 2018, the acquisition of the French company Leosphere marked the largest business acquisition in Vaisala’s history. Leosphere supplies remote wind-sensing lidar instruments for wind energy, aviation, meteorology, and air quality applications. Later in the same year Vaisala entered the liquid measurement market by acquiring the Finnish pioneer in the field K-Patents and its research and development organization Janesko. The acquisition broadened Vaisala's knowhow, application knowledge, and product offering from gas to liquid measurements and strengthened its position as the global leader in industrial measurements.
In August 2019, Vaisala acquired Finnish weather service company Foreca's B2B weather services business.
In addition to acquiring new businesses, Vaisala has entered new measurement markets through innovative product development.
In 2016 Vaisala presented a new innovation for online measurements for dissolved gas analysis of power transformers. Building on unique technology, we launched the Vaisala Optimus OPT100 DGA Monitor for Transformers to support continuous maintenance for transformers. The Optimus OPT100 helps the transformer industry safely run their assets right through to the end of their operational lifespan.
In 2017 Vaisala launched the Indigo family, a modular product platform designed to provide convenience, compatibility, and continuous accuracy even in the harshest industrial environments. The continuously expanding product family consists of interchangeable smart probes, transmitters, and Vaisala Insight PC software, which together create a strong chain of data to help streamline industrial processes and enable better and more timely decision-making.
During the same year, Vaisala also added a totally new parameter to its offering by introducing the first measurement instrument for vaporized hydrogen peroxide, the HPP272. The probe series is used in ecological bio-decontamination processes and has proved its value during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2017 we also saw a major geographical expansion by opening offices in Mexico City and Nairobi and investing in our distribution channels in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. This has strengthened our promise of being close to our customers.In 2018, Vaisala introduced the next generation automatic sounding system Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41, which is designed to work reliably even in the harshest conditions and in the most remote locations. The system allows fully automated sounding operations with low operating costs, remote flexible operation, and easy installation. The Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41 is designed for one month of automated operation at a time, which is more than double that of previous systems.
2018 was also a big success for Vaisala’s award-winning viewLinc Continuous Monitoring System, with the first deliveries of the eagerly awaited wireless CMS system starting. The system provides continuous real-time monitoring and is used in many GxP regulated environments. Among other applications, the system is used by leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in their fight against the COVID-19 virus. Vaisala’s 2019 kicked off with another great milestone with the introduction of the groundbreaking measurement solution MGP261 for the biogas industry. The world’s first in situ 3-in-1 biogas measurement instrument allows customers to get more value from waste. The MGP261 measures methane, carbon dioxide, and humidity and can operate in explosive atmospheres. This new measurement instrument helps our customers to optimize their biogas production process, improve the quality of biogas, and make production more profitable. As a renewable energy source, biogas has accelerated Vaisala’s mission to create a better world and support the circular economy and sustainable development.
In 2019 Vaisala expanded its weather radar offering to include an advanced X-band radar. The smaller size and lower cost of an X-band radar makes it an ideal instrument to enhance the weather detection capabilities of a specific location. In difficult terrain, it fills the gaps to reliably detect snow, rain, and other weather activity. Adding X-band radars to an existing network will also improve the accuracy of precipitation measurement, providing better data for flood warnings or hydroelectric power plants, for example.
To help reliably monitor and forecast weather, Vaisala also announced a project to modernize Ethiopia’s weather and climate observation and forecasting systems. The project will help Ethiopia to become more resilient to climate change and promote the nation’s sustainable development. Top-of-the-line environmental observations, forecasting, and early warning systems help safeguard both lives and property. The project was announced in October 2019 and is planned to start in 2021.
In the beginning of 2020, the COVID-2019 pandemic hit not only the global economy hard, but our lives too. From early on Vaisala's measurement technologies were used to fight the COVID-19 virus. Despite the global crisis, there are still milestones to highlight. Firstly, our long-standing President and CEO Kjell Forsén stepped down after his successful 14 years in the position. New president and CEO Kai Öistämö was announced to take up the position later in the year.
In July, Vaisala’s sensor technology was once again launched to Mars, this time onboard NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover, in collaboration with our long-term scientific partner, the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
It is a great honor for us that our pressure and humidity sensors, which are used in a multitude of applications
on Earth, have again been selected for planetary exploration.
There was also a new market entry for our Industrial Measurements business when Vaisala introduced theJade Smart Cloud remote monitoring system, which takes Vaisala’s world-class measurement data to the cloud to save operating costs and facilitate remote access to the data.
During the year, our modular Indigo product family kept growing, our renowned biogas instrument received recognition in an innovation challenge, and we announced several new solutions for our weather customers, such as the Vaisala Wx Horizon and partnership with Hyundai Motor Company.
The new decade has rolled out truly exceptionally and has created many global challenges that continue to impact our lives also in 2021. In the next and last post in this anniversary blog series, we will take a closer look at how Vaisala’s 85th year has rolled out so far, and what is the role of reliable measurements for our planet – for two planets, in fact – now and in the future.
<< Read the first part of our anniversary blog series
Read the third part of our anniversary blog series >>