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- For the village in Samoa, see Vaisala (Samoa)
|Type||Public (OMX: VAIAS)|
|Founded||1936 (as Mittari Oy)|
|Key people||Kjell Forsen, CEO|
|Products||environmental and industrial measurement instruments|
|Revenue||273.6 million EUR (2011)|
The major customer groups and markets are national meteorological and hydrological services, aviation authorities, defense forces, road authorities, the weather critical energy sector, life science and high-technology industries and building automation.
Vaisala had nearly 1,400 employees and net sales of €273.6 million in 2011. Vaisala serves customers in more than 140 countries; sales outside Finland accounted for 98% of net sales in 2011.
The parent company Vaisala Oyj, domicile in Vantaa, Finland, is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. Vaisala Group has offices and operations in Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, China, India, Sweden, Malaysia, South Korea, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Japan and Australia.
- 1 History
- 2 History of acquisitions and divestments
- 3 Vaisala business areas
- 3.1 Meteorology
- 3.2 Weather Critical Operations
- 3.3 Controlled Environment
- 4 Product groups
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Vaisala's origins date back to the 1930s when Professor Vilho Väisälä, Vaisala's founder and long-time managing director, invented some of the operating principles of a radiosonde. He sent the first Finnish radiosonde aloft in December 1931. After the first sounding, Väisälä continued with further development and tests until a radiosonde could be brought into production and deliveries started in 1936. From the very start, Vaisala was an international business, exporting 95 percent of the production. As the Vaisala radiosonde became internationally renowned, the demand for them increased. In 1944, Prof. Väisälä established a company called Mittari Oy ("Gauge Incorporated") and set up manufacturing facilities for radiosonde systems. The first sounding system included a semi-automatic radiosonde receiver, a calibration device and a ground check set. The company employed 13 people at the time. Later, in 1955, the name of Mittari was changed to Vaisala.
From a modest start, the company evolved to become a world leader in many measurement fields and to establish a noteworthy Finnish export industry. At the end of 1954 a modern manufacturing plant was relocated in Vantaa. Since then, the headquarters have been expanded several times and Vaisala's product range has been diversified and expanded greatly. Nowadays Vaisala employs over 1,400 people and exports 98 percent of its production to over 120 countries.
Professor Vilho Väisälä (1889–1969) was an inventor as well as the founder and long-standing Managing Director of Vaisala. Vaisala’s origins date back to the 1930s when Professor Väisälä invented some of the operating principles of a radiosonde. He sent the first Finnish radiosonde aloft in December 1931
Commercial production since 1936
After the first sounding, Väisälä continued with further development and tests until a radiosonde could be brought into commercial production. Radiosonde deliveries started in 1936. Amongst its first customers was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1937, Väisälä's radiosonde won a gold medal at the World Fair in Paris. As the radiosonde became internationally renowned, demand increased.
Recovering from the wars
World War II, the Finnish Winter War 1939–1940 and the Finnish Continuation War 1941–1944 disrupted many lives, and upset business and delivery activities internationally. The post-war decades witnessed a strenuous effort to revive the national and international economies. Vaisala grew to employ 60 people in 1954. The first issue of Vaisala News magazine was published in 1959. Thanks to major product development efforts, during the 1950s and 1960s the Vaisala Sounding System became completely electronic, the first automatic radiosonde receiver and the world's first fully transistorized radiosonde were introduced, and the first weather satellite image receiver was delivered. Yrjö Toivola took over as the Managing Director of the company when Professor Vilho Väisälä died in 1969.
Vigorous 70s & 80s
The 1970s and 1980s were busy decades for Vaisala. Thin-film technology was developed for Vaisala HUMICAP relative humidity sensors - the first in the world. The Vaisala CORA Automatic Sounding System - along with automatic weather stations, road weather stations and aviation weather systems - was introduced. In 1975, Vaisala employed over 200 people. During the 1980s, numerous new offices were established to ensure the company's ability to serve customers worldwide - in the UK, Japan, USA, Germany, and Australia. A traffic weather company was also acquired in the UK. Vaisala's first clean room was built to enable the design and manufacture of semiconductors in-house. Vaisala BAROCAP barometric pressure sensor technology was introduced, as well as a new radiosonde family - the Vaisala Radiosonde RS80. The Professor Vilho Väisälä Award was established in cooperation with the WMO, to stimulate interest in meteorological research involving meteorological observation methods and instruments.
CEO Pekka Ketonen was appointed in 1992. This could be seen to mark the beginning of yet another era in Vaisala's development. The company was listed on the Helsinki Exchanges in 1994. By then, it employed over 600 people. Further product developments included the introduction of GPS technology for upper air wind measurement, the Vaisala CARBOCAP CO2 sensor, and Vaisala DRYCAP sensor technology for industrial dewpoint measurement. New offices were established in France and China, and business acquisitions in aviation weather and surface weather further enhanced Vaisala's presence in the USA.
The new millennium was kicked-off with yet more business acquisitions - in wind profiling, lightning detection and aviation weather. U.S. manufacturing operations were concentrated in Boulder, Colorado. New product launches included a new radiosonde product family - the Vaisala Radiosonde RS92, as well as the Vaisala Weather Transmitter, which measures the six most essential weather parameters in one compact instrument. A new and improved clean room is another recent introduction, and a clear sign of the company’s commitment to quality and innovation.
CEO Ketonen retired October 1, 2006. Vaisala's board of directors appointed Kjell Forsén the new company CEO. Forsén last served as president of Ericsson Finland before joining Vaisala on September 18, 2006.
History of acquisitions and divestments
The Vaisala Group strives for global market and product leadership in selected business areas  The goal is achieved mainly by organic growth and supplemented by corporate acquisitions.
- March 2010 the Group acquired Veriteq Instruments Inc of Vancouver, BC, Canada
- December 2009, the Group acquired Quixote Transportation Technologies (QTT), a subsidiary to Quixote Corporation.
- January 2009 the Group acquired Aviation System Maintenance Inc. (ASMI), Kansas, USA.
- January 2006 the Group acquired Sigmet Corporation of Westford, Massachusetts, USA.
- July 2005 the Group acquired CLH Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
- March 2002 the Group acquired Global Atmospherics Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, USA.
- June 2001 the Group acquired the Meteorological Systems Unit of Radian International LLC of USA.
- October 2000 the Group acquired Jenoptik Impulsphysik GmbH of Germany.
- February 2000 the Group acquired Dimension SA of France.
- October 1999 the Group acquired Handar Inc. of USA.
- March 1999 the Group acquired AIR Inc. of USA.
- July 1996 the Group acquired Artais Weather Check Inc. of USA.
- June 1995 the Group sold Vaisala Technologies Inc. to Breed Technologies Inc. of USA. Vaisala Technologies Inc. (VTI) manufactured silicon capacitive sensors for the car industry.
- August 1989 the Group acquired the British Thermal Mapping International Ltd. of United Kingdom. Thermal Mapping specialized in measuring the thermal characteristics of roads and runways and in providing forecast models.
- 1985 the Group acquired Tycho Technologies Inc. of USA, manufacturer of upper air windprofiler.
Vaisala business areas
Vaisala’s core business is environmental measurement, especially weather measurement, and corresponding industrial measurements. The Business Areas are based on customers' measuring range and needs: Broad range, medium and operation specific range, and closed environments. The three Business Areas are further divided into ten market segments:
- Established markets
- Emerging markets
- Weather Critical Operations
- Weather Critical Energy
- Targeted Business Development
- Controlled Environment
- Building Automation
- Life Science and High Technology
- Targeted Industrial Applications
The Meteorology business area serves national meteorological and hydrological institutes whose primary interest is the safety and wellbeing of people, as well as safeguarding property. The business area is divided into two segments.
The Established Markets segment caters for customers that typically purchase products and services according to standard specifications. The focus is on reducing customers’ operating costs by increasing the cost-efficiency of products, automation and remote monitoring, as well as expanding the services offering.
The Emerging Markets segment caters for customers that ask for turnkey projects and capability upgrades to predict severe weather. Their needs also include standard weather observation equipment, systems and services. Damages from natural disasters increase, driving the need for capability upgrades within hydrology and meteorology.
Weather Critical Operations
The Weather Critical Operations business area serves operators and authorities whose primary interest is the safety and effectiveness of operations under all weather conditions. The business area is divided into five segments.
The Airports segment provides weather observation solutions to airport customers. It supports effective operational decision-making, and improves efficiency, safety and environmental compatibility of airport operations.
The Defense segment serves defense forces and security organizations. Awareness of weather is a basis for better decision making and improved safety and efficiency in air, land and sea operations. In addition to their defense functions, many national defense organizations also control civilian airports and contribute to national weather forecasts.
The Roads segment serves road authorities with complete weather observation, traffic counting, and highway advisory product offerings. Vaisala's products and services support operational decision making to optimize traffic management and road maintenance operation efficiency and ensure safety.
Weather Critical Energy
The Weather Critical Energy segment focuses at electrical energy customers including electrical generation, distribution and transmission. It also includes energy load management and forecasting together with hydrology customers focused at hydro-electricity.
Targeted Business Development
The Targeted Business Development segment seeks for new market segments and serves customers in the Weather Critical Operations business area which do not belong to any other segment. New segments are searched systematically through analysis, piloting, and entry phases, each with specific development activities.
The Controlled Environment business area serves customers who operate in tightly controlled and demanding areas where the measurement of precise environmental conditions is required to increase operational quality, productivity and energy savings. The business area is divided into three segments.
Life Science and High Technology
Life Science and High Technology provides measurement solutions for highly controlled research, production and storage areas to continuously monitor precise environmental conditions.
- Life science: pharmaceuticals, bio-technology, medical devices
- Hi-tech: Electronics, semiconductors, batteries
- End customers and related equipment manufacturers
The Building Automation segment caters for applications focused on the control and optimization of indoor heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings. Energy optimization and indoor air quality are the driving forces for customers. Customers include:
- Building automation system (BAS)original equipment manufacturers
- BAS integrators and contractors
- BAS distribution channel
- Facility HVAC management
Targeted Industrial Applications
The Targeted Industrial Applications segment caters for customers in selected demanding applications in industrial processes and equipment manufacturing. Customers include:
- Compressed air and drying
- Industrial ovens and heat treatment processes
- Process inlet air monitoring
- Insulation of high voltage equipment
- Lubrication and hydraulic systems
- Humidity and temperature measurement instruments
- Dewpoint measurement instruments
- Barometric pressure measurement instruments
- Carbon dioxide measurement instruments
- Moisture in oil measurement instruments
- Oxygen measurement instruments
- Wind measurement instruments
- Weather multi-sensor
- Optical weather instruments
- Radiosondes and sounding systems
- Surface weather systems
- Thunderstorm information systems
- Weather radars
Service Solutions and Data Subscription Services
- Service Solutions[clarification needed]
- Customized solutions, such as network operation, decision support services and tailored service packages
- Data Subscriptions
- Data through Vaisala's own observation network.
- Vaisala's research on desertification processes
- Vaisala's History website
- Vaisala Stock Exchange Release 5 November 2008