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Measurand sensors help keep people safe across the globe

Mark Jenkins, production technician, places an X-mark on the end of a SAAF-model ShapeArray.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Measurand’s movement sensors have helped to save lives and protect the environment through real-time performance monitoring of mines, dams, tunnels and buildings around the world.

Established in 1993 to commercialize fibre-optic sensing technology, the company, based on the outskirts of Fredericton, New Brunswick, initially diversified into motor vehicle and human motion sensors before focusing on the detection of dangerous movements in earth and concrete structures.

Mark Jenkins (left), production technician, and Alex Currie (right), final assembly team lead, roll up a SAAX-model ShapeArray.
Miled Haddad, production technician, readies steel braid for manufacturing ShapeArray.

Measurand has grown to 69 employees, and exports its ShapeArray movement-detection instruments to about 25 countries, mainly in North America, South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia. Among other projects, Measurand has monitored tunneling for the underground light rail system of Los Angeles. ShapeArray has been installed under the vast Żelazny Most reservoir in Poland, Europe’s largest tailings pond serving three copper mines, to provide engineers with real-time performance monitoring of the structure, alerting them to any underground movement.

In London, England, the Canadian company was called in after designers of a massive underground rail tunnel discovered that an old brick sewer lay just 4.5 metres above the boring machine’s trajectory. ShapeArray provided real-time, three-dimensional data on earth movements in the vicinity of the sewer without obstructing its flow or requiring workers to venture in to collect data.

“It's a good field to be in,” says Lee Danisch, Measurand's founder and chief executive, “because automated and wireless sensing is a big and growing field.”

The company took a while to approach Canada's Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) for help with its export drive. Its first contacts with the service were in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, where, according to Mr. Danisch, “they did a marvelous job putting us in touch with potential customers.” More recently, collaboration with the TCS in Sydney, Australia, “has resulted in a real increase in sales.”

Mr. Danisch has never been tempted to move his company from New Brunswick to one of North America's more prominent tech hubs. “It's a nice place to live,” he says. “It's also a good place to have a stable workforce.”

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