Have you ever heard of Photon Control (http://www.photon-control.com)? They are a small British Columbia-based venture firm that has come up with some interesting products they create using fiber optics. They have produced optical switches, pressure sensors, temperature sensors, a novel device for measuring sulfer in diesel fuel, and now some extremely interesting gas flow meters…all using fiber optics as their measurement principle. Well, maybe not that small. According to their website, sales for January and February put them on an annualized pace of between $4 and $5 million. Even in loonies, that’s a bunch of lettuce for a first year in the market company. PHO is traded on the Toronto Venture Exchange section of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The flowmeter is unique. It is a transit time laser system, useful for steam,commercial grade gas, stack gas, producer gas, and any other gas with a small amount of particulate suspended in the flow. Unlike doppler laser velocimeters, it doesn’t require seeding to produce a consistent reading, although like doppler laser units, there must be particulate in the gas. The flowmeter is available as a wafer type meter, a spoolpiece, or as a hot-tap insertion meter.
The very interesting thing about their switches, temp. and pressure sensors, and flowmeters is that they are all non-electrical at the sensor end, meaning that they can all be installed in hazardous areas without further enhancement with enclosures, IS modules, and the like.
It will be very interesting to see what Photon Control does with their product lines…the last company that looked this good to me was CiDRA Corporation, which recently concluded an agreement with Siemens to market their novel flowmeters.