I founded Sensmet with my colleague, Kalle Blomberg, and other co-founders a good two years ago. We shared a vision to bring real-time and very sensitive water quality analysis available for extreme industrial and environmental applications. Now, as we have grown to almost a ten-person company we decided to share our views on the future of water analysis technologies, interesting applications, and our visions where the whole industry is going.
This is Sensmet Ltd.’s first blog to start sharing our views and knowledge on cutting edge analytics of water. I’m honoured to start by sharing a couple stories about the early days when Sensmet did not even exist. I am writing the first blog on a train as I am returning from the Sensmet headquarters in Oulu, Finland after two days of great strategy work. The train is passing by some typical Finnish pine forests and it is already a bit chilly and rainy out there, as is usual in the Nordic in October. The weather pretty much felt the same in November 2006 when I joined the University of Cambridge, UK to start my post-doctoral studies. After having spent a decade with gas and atmospheric sensor development, everything seemed to pave the way for new ideas when I joined the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The new and very inspiring environment in Cambridge indeed soon initiated some new thinking. As I had become surrounded by talented chemical engineers and biochemists I started to study if something novel could be developed for liquid measurements. It was an eye-opening moment to realise how limited the real-time analytics of water was – and it is still so if you think how little real-time data you can find on Google about the water quality in your nearby river, lake or sea. There’s plenty of room in water analysis for new technologies and innovations. It was then I decided to jump into the cold water.
My fruitful time in Cambridge with full focus on optical measurement science continued for four years. Towards the end of the period I started to think how metals could be measured in water in a comprehensive and real-time fashion. I got the idea to use a micro-plasma for elemental water analytics. After my return to Finland, I was looking for a PhD student to start working with me on such water sensing ideas and it was then I met Kalle Blomberg who was looking for a job after graduation. Together with Kalle we toured the country with our ideas for a couple of weeks and visited many companies and the Finnish innovation agency to secure a research budget to enable starting our research on the water monitoring ideas.
After a few years of research, we noticed that we had made some really good progress in continuous water quality measurement. Encouraged by our sponsors, it was time to jump into the deep end of the pool: we kicked off Sensmet Ltd. in late 2017. As a fresh group of excited aquapreneurs we started to commercialise the real-time multi-metal analysis of water. In November 2019 we launched our first product, the µDOES® (Micro-discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy) Multi-metal Water Analyser which has already gained good traction in the mining and steel industries. µDOES® technology covers nearly 30 metals in industrial process and environmental waters. µDOES® is easy-to-use, robust and field-proven in industry. This makes a big difference between the Sensmet technology and more traditional water measurement technologies. This is very well aligned with our original vision.
It has been a lot of work, ups and downs as you can imagine for pioneering work. However, the development of the micro-plasma technology for real-time water monitoring has steadily progressed and each new generation of the technology has been a big step forward. Most importantly, every day has been exciting to work on this topic surrounded by great colleagues and partners.
This is my introductory story on how we jumped into the deeper end of cold water. Please stay tuned with the blogs and newsletters to come and let’s work together to develop water technologies that will save the water environment for the future generations and strengthen the economy of water processes.
– Toni Laurila, Sensmet CTO –