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About Us | Process Instruments > Company Background, Focus, and Overview > Company History

Company Profile

Process Instruments, Inc. is a high technology company located in Salt Lake City near the University of Utah.  For over twenty years, we have been advancing the state of the art in industrial process monitoring using Raman spectroscopy. In addition to the best Raman sensor technology in the business, we provide a complete information gathering and process control solution for various applications worldwide.  We are really an information company, not just an instrumentation company.

History

In 1983, Lee Smith, together with other colleagues from the University of Utah, founded a medical instrumentation company (Albion Instruments) to develop laser based Raman scattering for real-time anesthesia monitoring. The company raised $10,000,000 of venture funding over four years for product and market development. Additional funds were obtained from Phase I and II SBIR grants from NIH, EPA, and DOE. The first year of product sales with the medical Raman instrument reached 5 million dollars. In the second year (1990) the medical products company was sold to a competitor providing an exit opportunity for investors, founders, and employees.  

Process Instruments was founded in 1994 to develop Raman spectroscopy instrumentation specifically for industrial process monitoring. We brought together a development team focused on developing affordable state of the art spectrograph, lasers, and multiplexer. Our innovative engineers and scientists advanced our precision frequency stabilized narrow linewidth diode lasers, along with optically fast (f/2.0) and efficient spectrographs.  The development of a low loss sequential optical multiplexer enhanced our abilities with analysis of more than a dozen streams with a single instrument.  Building on our initial technology, we continue to be well positioned to provide customized advanced process control applications for various industries.

Process Instruments has installed over 100 Raman systems in some of the largest refinery and petrochemical plants in the world. This equipment is being used to optimize the production of fuels, chemicals, and polymers. We also work closely with pharmaceutical companies to develop Raman scattering technology for use in optimizing their manufacturing operations.

Our present focus remains on Raman instrumentation solutions. We are privately held via employee stock ownership.  Our specialty is problem solving for industrial process control applications. We do not just sell Raman instrumentation and components, rather we use Raman instrumentation to solve critical process control problems. Our ability to design our excitation lasers for any given wavelength (630 nm to 860 nm) allows us to provide lasers for optimum Raman signal collection while avoiding unwanted fluorescence. Our patented laser (U.S. Patent No. 6,100,975), spectrograph (U.S. Patent No. 6,028,667), and 18 channel multiplexer (U.S. Patent No. 6,859,581) designs allow for robust, compact, and stable Raman instrumentation. In addition, we offer very high power, stabilized lasers (>1,200 mW) for Raman applications that require greater power.