R&D are at the center. Products are custom-made.
If you haven’t heard about NEO Monitors yet, you are not the only one. A few years ago they didn’t even have their logo on the walls of their building. Internationally however, they have experienced significant success. Gas analyzers are the main product, with Tuneable Diode Laser Spectrocopy as the key component. CEO Ketil Gorm Paulsen now expresses the need to be more relevant and visible in their home market of Norway.
– 97.5 percent of all production are exported. This is also the key reason why we haven’t marketed ourselves in Norway. We now see a need to prioritize marketing locally to easier recruit more skilled employees, said Paulsen.
The company’s roots trace back to 1962 when Tycho Jæger, a scientist employed at the R&D section of the Norwegian armed forces, for the first time managed to developed laser lights. This was the start of electro optics as a dedicated focus segment in Norway. In 1985 Norsk Elektroptikk was founded as a research company and it was not until 1992 the first commercial products became available. In 2003 NEO Monitors were founded to produce and market gas- and dust analyzers.
– We made our first analyzers for Norsk Hydro that needed better tools to detect hydrogenfluorid in their aluminum production. This gas is highly toxic.
The typical customer is a big industrial company that needs measurement devices for low concentrations. Most products are tailor made customer specifications. If electro optics are the key element then NEO Monitors own the rights, if the analyzer deliver processual benefits it’s often the customers that have legal ownership. Paulsen notes that they have around 10-15 competitors, plus some others that have niche products. Like other Norwegian companies that compete globally, quality has to be the most important deliverable for NEO Monitors.
– We ship many solutions to China. Ppm measurement often comes with significant challenges around noise signal, which is something our solutions handle well. The German organization TÜV have tested several of solutions for measuring ammonia, and have expressed that ours are best. This ahead of products from Siemens and then the rest of the competition.
This is instruments used in coal powered energy plants, and Paulsen believes demand will rise because they are important when it comes to reducing emissions.
– The Chinese works hard to reduce pollution and that is a key reason for our rapid growth in that market. We also collaborate closely with local industry players like Elkem, also after they were acquired by a Chinese company.
R&D is key
10 percent of all revenues are used for research and development. Most are handled by Norsk Elektrooptikk. The companies are closely integrated in all aspects.
– I believe we do well because we are creative and curious. We want to be our industry’s most innovative vendor and this is why so much are invested in developing new solutions. We are currently testing field measurement of SO2, which have previously not been possible.
Paulsen believes that one will not see big technology changes in the years to come, but more focus on product evolution and new functionality. Many companies use devices that are not based on laser, and this is a huge area to win even more market shares.
– These require a lot of work when installing and for maintenance. We will see more and more tunanle tuneable lasersystems and we are positioned to lead the way in this market, promises Paulsen.