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For the village in Samoa, see Vaisala, Samoa
Public (OMX: VAIAS)
Founded 1936 (as Mittari Oy)
Headquarters Vantaa, Finland
Key people
Kjell Forsen, CEO
Products environmental and industrial measurement instruments
Revenue Increase 318.5 million € (2015)[1]
Increase 29.6 million € (2015)[1]
Number of employees
1,588 (31.12.2015)

Vaisala (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈʋæi̯sælæ]) is a Finnish company that develops, manufactures and markets products and services for environmental and industrial measurement.

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 1,588 employees and net sales of €318.5 million in 2015. Vaisala serves customers in more than 140 countries.[1]

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[2] and Australia.


A GPS sonde (RS92), approx 220 × 80 × 75 mm (8.7 × 3.1 × 3 in)

Vaisala's origins date back to the 1930s when Professor Vilho Väisälä(1889-1969), Vaisala's founder and long-time managing director, invented some of the operating principles of a radiosonde[citation needed]. 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.[3]

Commercial production since 1936[edit]

After the first sounding, Väisälä continued with further development and tests until a radiosonde could be brought into commercial production. Radiosonde deliveries started with the RS11 (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.

Recovering from the wars[edit]

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 RS13 (1965 -) 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[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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 (1981 - 2008). These units made use of a water activated wet battery that had a very long storage life and high power density but a limited working life. The Professor Vilho Väisälä Award was established in cooperation with the WMO, to stimulate interest in meteorological research involving meteorological observation methods and instruments.

The radiosondes have also been used in many upper air ozone research studies using an attached detector that had the sensor data multiplexed with the standard meteorology dataset. GPS positioning information was added to gain more accurate wind speed information.

New millennium[edit]

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 (2003 - in production), as well as the Vaisala Weather Transmitter, which measures the six most essential weather parameters in one compact instrument. This was much improved from the previous generation device and now included consumer cells [4] to make up the battery due to energy saving techniques. 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.

Vaisala technology has played a part in space exploration for some 30 years, for instance the Mars Rover Curiosity and Schiaparelli EDM lander contain pressure and humidity sensors manufactured by Vaisala.[5][6]

With new developments in miniaturisation, communications and sensors a new radiosonde the model RS41 (2014 - in production) was announced. This model had again made improvements in specifications.[7] Launch preparation made simple with the RI41 ground check device. It is smaller and has pre-flight dry-point humidity sensor calibration achieved by heating the sensor to drive off contaminants. It is also available in a model (RS41-SG) without a pressure sensor, the pressure reading is derived from the GPS altitude, temperature and humidity readings.

History of acquisitions and divestments[edit]

GPS radiosonde (RS92) in ground check set (GC25), used to perform a 'ground check' and also recondition the humidity sensor

The Vaisala Group strives for global market and product leadership in selected business areas [8] The goal is achieved mainly by organic growth and supplemented by corporate acquisitions.


  • 1985: the Group acquired Tycho Technologies Inc. of USA, manufacturer of upper air windprofiler.[citation needed]
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • July 1996: the Group acquired Artais Weather Check Inc. of USA.
  • March 1999: the Group acquired AIR Inc. of USA.
  • October 1999: the Group acquired Handar Inc. of USA.


  • February 2000: the Group acquired Dimension SA of France.
  • October 2000: the Group acquired Jenoptik Impulsphysik GmbH of Germany.
  • June 2001: the Group acquired the Meteorological Systems Unit of Radian International LLC of USA.
  • March 2002: the Group acquired Global Atmospherics Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, USA.
  • July 2005: the Group acquired CLH Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
  • January 2006: the Group acquired Sigmet Corporation of Westford, Massachusetts, USA.
  • January 2009: the Group acquired Aviation System Maintenance Inc. (ASMI), Kansas, USA.
  • December 2009: the Group acquired Quixote Transportation Technologies (QTT), a subsidiary to Quixote Corporation.


  • March 2010: the Group acquired Veriteq Instruments Inc of Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • August 2013: the Group acquired remote sensing manufacturer Second Wind Systems Inc. of Somerville, Massachusetts.[9]
  • December 2013: the Group acquired 3TIER, Inc., a renewable energy assessment and forecasting services company, headquartered in Seattle, Washington.[10]

Vaisala business areas[edit]

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:

  • Meterorology
    • Established markets
    • Emerging markets
  • Weather Critical Operations
    • Airports
    • Roads
    • Defense
    • Weather Critical Energy
    • Targeted Business Development
  • Controlled Environment
    • Building Automation
    • Life Science and High Technology
    • Targeted Industrial Applications


An earlier design radiosonde (RS80)

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.

Established Markets[edit]

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.

Emerging Markets[edit]

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[edit]

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 services to airport customers. It supports effective operational decision-making, and improves efficiency, safety and environmental compatibility of airport operations.[citation needed]


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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Controlled Environment[edit]

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[edit]

Life Science and High Technology provides measurement services for highly controlled research, production and storage areas to continuously monitor precise environmental conditions.

Focus areas

  • Life science: pharmaceuticals, bio-technology, medical devices
  • Hi-tech: Electronics, semiconductors, batteries
  • End customers and related equipment manufacturers

Building Automation[edit]

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.[citation needed] Customers include:

  • Building automation system (BAS)original equipment manufacturers
  • BAS integrators and contractors
  • BAS distribution channel
  • Facility HVAC management

Targeted Industrial Applications[edit]

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

Product groups[edit]

Measurement Instruments[edit]

  • 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

Measurement Systems[edit]

Vaisala Marwin Rawinsonde Set MW 12
  • Radiosondes and sounding systems
  • Dropsondes
  • Surface weather systems
  • Thunderstorm information systems
  • Weather radars
  • Windprofilers

Application and Services[edit]

  • Aviation weather systems
  • Traffic weather systems
  • Meteorological and hydrological systems

Services and Data Subscription Services[edit]

  • Customized applications, such as network operation, decision support services and tailored service packages
  • Data through Vaisala's own observation network.


  1. ^ a b c "Vaisala's Financial Statements 2015" (PDF). Vaisala. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Vaisala's research on desertification processes
  3. ^ Vaisala's History website
  4. ^ "Nalezli jste radiosondu?". Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Mars Rover Curiosity Equipped with Vaisala's Pressure and Humidity Sensors" (Press release). Vaisala. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Vaisala and Finnish Meteorological Institute Head for Mars with the ExoMars Mission" (Press release). Vaisala. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Comparison of Vaisala Radiosondes RS41 and RS92" (PDF). Vaisala. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Vaisala Stock Exchange Release 5 November 2008
  9. ^ "Press Release: Vaisala Expands Presence in Wind Energy through Acquisition of Second Wind Systems Inc.". August 14, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Stock Exchange Release: Vaisala Acquires Renewable Energy Assessment and Forecasting Services Company". December 17, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]