Michell Instruments celebrates 40-year anniversary

Precision sensor and instrumentation manufacturer Michell Instruments is celebrating 40 years of business this year. 

Established in 1974 in Cambridge, UK, the company started off in a small building with just a  few employees but now has three manufacturing locations and several offices in 10 countries.

In addition to manufacturing sensors and systems, Michell is a pioneer in the field of humidity calibration. In the 1980s, Michell worked closely with the National Physical Laboratory to develop the UK’s first humidity transfer standard. In 1986. Michell’s calibration laboratory became the world’s first accredited humidity calibration laboratory, with accreditation from the British Certification Service (a forerunner of UKAS – the United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

Another first for Michell was the development of the ‘dark spot’ technique to measure hydrocarbon dew point in natural gas. Hydrocarbon dew point is a key parameter in ensuring the quality of natural gas, especially at points of custody transfer. Michell worked closely with Shell Research to create the sensor, which was an adaption of their chilled mirror sensor used to measure water dew point. 

The resulting instrument, the Condumax, became the most reliable automatic method of measuring hydrocarbon dew point and was only superseded by the Condumax II which was introduced in 2006. Currently the majority of the online hydrocarbon dew-point analyzers installed around the world today are either the Condumax or Condumax II.

In the mid 1990s, Michell launched the world’s first two-wire dew-point transmitter, the Easidew Transmitter. This moisture sensor was both a highly accurate and reliable way to measure low dew points (i.e. trace moisture) and also very simple to use. This combination of accuracy and simplicity enabled moisture measurements to be incorporated into a wide range of processes across many industries, increasing efficiency and helping to reduce costs.

The world-wide growing awareness of the benefits of monitoring moisture for energy efficiency, safety and quality has continued to support Michell’s growth. In the 1990s, Michell expanded into Europe, opening offices in Germany and the Netherlands and eventually opening offices in France, China, Japan, Italy, the US, Middle East and Brazil. The manufacturing side of the company grew rapidly, to keep up with demand for its products, Michell opened the doors to its current headquarters located in Ely, Cambridgeshire. 

Looking to the future, Michell says it is committed to introducing new sensing technologies to its impressive portfolio. Some of these technologies include tunable laser diode analyzers to measure moisture in natural gas, a new generation of quartz crystal microbalance sensor as well as new techniques for measuring oxygen and other gases.

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