Sensing success: Made-in-Ontario sensing technology stands up to harsh environments

“Fibre optic technology, which has been widely developed in the telecom industry, has a track record for transmitting optical signals over long distances. Now, companies like AOMS are proving the technology is capable of doing a lot more than just transmitting data.”

AOMS Technologies was launched in 2014 based on more than a decade of R&D at the University of Waterloo aimed at developing fibre optic sensor technology for industrial sensing applications. The R&D focused on developing technology for use in harsh conditions, hard-to-access locations, and hazardous environments where existing technologies have underperformed or failed. Today, the company’s innovative technologies – a fully integrated sensing platform that includes multi-point and multi-parameter fibre optic sensors (for sensing temperature, pressure, liquid level, vibration, etc), as well as an optical data acquisition device with advanced data management and analytics software – have been successfully deployed in challenging applications and industries across the globe.

AOMS Technologies logo

“Our technology succeeds where other technologies fail, underperform or simply cannot be used efficiently. That’s why we consider it a game-changer,” says Hamid Alemohammad, Co-founder and CEO, AOMS Technologies.

Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at University of Waterloo

Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at University of Waterloo

The company’s founders – Hamid Alemohammad, Amir Azhari and Richard Liang – have also developed a proprietary technology that encapsulates optical fibres within a variety of metallic and non-metallic structures, resulting in ruggedized fibre optic sensors with a large working temperature and pressure range in highly corrosive environments.

By combining the power of optics with high-grade super-alloys, AOMS fibre optic sensors provide multi-point and multi-parameter sensing while offering immunity to electromagnetic interference and high temperatures as well as resistance to chemicals, moisture and water permeation – critical features that have long been a challenge for electronic-based sensors.

Unlocking insights that drive performance improvement

“Our goal is to help industries improve performance, increase efficiency, reduce cost and, eventually, excel in their business by having the most advanced sensing technology in the world,” explains Alemohammad.

The sensor technology is electricity-free and offers a small form factor and high signal integrity over long distances. Because it can sense multiple parameters and comes with data collection, data aggregation, and analytics software, the system is a turnkey solution for everything from measurement to data analysis. An added bonus: the technology is designed to be part of a larger solution, as it’s compatible with many global industry standards for industrial IoT.

Impacting multiple markets

AOMS’ target markets include energy, environmental, process industry, oil and gas, utility, clean technologies, automotive, aerospace and defence markets.

The technology has already been deployed in Canada, the U.S. and Europe in environmental and asset monitoring applications. For example, in one application, environmental remediation service companies are using the technology to monitor the temperature and level of groundwater that is being heated to a target temperature for the purpose of removing contaminants from brownfields and contaminated industrial lands.

Moving forward

In 2016, AOMS Technologies moved to the Altitude Accelerator in Mississauga, a world-class incubator and innovation entrepreneurship hub designed to help entrepreneurs and technology companies turn innovative ideas into viable business opportunities. They also received government funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), NRC-IRAP program, Futurpreneur Canada, as well as a major investment from GreenSky Capital. The company has been able to fast track its transition from the customer discovery stage to customer creation and company building stage while quickly accessing international markets.

“We believe we are paying back that [support] by contributing to our economy through the development of advanced technologies,” says Alemohammad. And “we are continuing to develop innovative technologies, increasing sales, and hiring highly skilled people here in Ontario.”

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