The thing I like most about the June 2 announcement of American Sensor Technologies' purchase of Macro Sensors is the part about how the new, combined company will continue to accomplish all of its production in the United States. According to Karmjit S. Sidhu, VP of Business Development for AST, his company made a significant investment in "modern technologies to achieve maximum productivity." This, he explains, enables the small, New Jersey-based company to compete with larger firms that have moved their production operations overseas to take advantage of low-cost labor. And that stance holds even for selling in Asia, as AST competes successfully in several Asian countries. Sidhu says the investment in automation pays off with "extraordinary quality and long-term labor savings." (That's a case for sensor technology if I've ever heard one!)
Barbara G. Goode
The world of sensor development has always been dominated by small companies developing specialized types of sensors. A database of sensor suppliers includes thousands—not hundreds—of companies. While we've seen that pool of developers consolidate over time, especially in the past couple of years, it's inspiring to hear this story of two similarly sized companies (AST, manufacturer of MEMS-based pressure sensors, transducers, and transmitters, is about $4.25 million; Macro Sensors, producer of LVDT-based linear and rotary sensors for both OEMs and end users, is about $3.5 million) that track similar, impressive growth percentages (30%–40%), and have no competing products but share a customer base. These factors bode well for the blended company to deliver on the partners' excitement about product innovation and customer service.
I feel a similar excitement about being part of a new company myself. Questex Media Group is, as of this writing, two weeks old (if you send e-mail, please note that our addresses now end with questex.com). The former owner of Sensors, Advanstar Communications, sold its technology magazines and trade shows (among other properties) in a management buyout to the former vice president for Advanstar's technology group. The smaller Questex is still a large company with vast resources, and its focus on technology markets will help Sensors serve you in the best way possible.
On the heels of this internal move came the annual Sensors Expo & Conference (June 6–9 in Chicago), which never fails to supply inspiration. What fun it is to see the array of innovation and problem solving on display in the exhibit hall! Next month we'll give a full report, including winners of our Best of Sensors Expo awards. But this month you can find out about the winners of the second annual Sensors Humanitarian Award, also announced at the show. Humanitarian inspiration appears on the next page.
And turn to learn about the technology behind one of the hottest opportunities in sensing today: automated meter reading (AMR). A recent report from ON World (www.onworld.com) forecasts that advances in wireless sensor networking will drive the fixed wireless portion of this market over the next six years. "We predict that fixed wireless solutions will make up 21% of all AMR endpoints shipped in 2008, up from 11% in 2004," the company says.
Barbara G. Goode, Editor in Chief