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Campbell Scientific, Inc.


815 West 1800 North
Logan, Utah 84321-1784

Telephone: (435) 753-2342
Fax: (435) 750-9540

Private Company
Incorporated: 1974
Employees: 200
Sales: $50 million (2002 est.)
NAIC: 334511 Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing; 334519 Other Measuring and Controlling Device Manufacturing

Company Perspectives:
At Campbell Scientific, we manufacture dataloggers, data acquisition systems, and measurement and control products used worldwide in research and industry. Our instrumentation is known for its flexibility, precision measurements, and dependability--even in harsh, remote environments. Since our inception in 1974, we have manufactured over 100,000 systems. We continually strive to develop innovative products that meet the needs of our customers. We at Campbell Scientific are committed to satisfying the instrumentation needs of our customers.

Key Dates:
1974: Eric and Evan Campbell found Campbell Scientific, Inc. (CSI) and market their first product, the Model CA9 Path Averaging Laser Anemometer.
1975: CSI begins making the Model CR5 Digital Recorder.
1978: Company reaches $1 million in annual sales.
1979: CSI introduces its Model CR21 Micrologger.
1981: The company relocates to an energy efficient building located on the outskirts of Logan, Utah.
1983: CSI reaches a milestone technological achievement with the introduction of its Model CR7 Measurement and Control System.
1985: The company establishes a subsidiary in England, Campbell Scientific Limited (CSL).
1993: CSI establishes a subsidiary in Australia.
2001: The company acquires Irrisoft.

Company History:

Campbell Scientific, Inc., headquartered in Logan, Utah, designs and manufactures dataloggers, data acquisition systems, and measurement and control products used worldwide in both industrial applications and in research. The company enjoys an excellent reputation for making instruments that are both very accurate and dependable as well as flexible enough for use in climactically harsh or remote environments. It specializes in developing systems for a wide range of applications, including the unattended long-term monitoring of air quality. Industrially, its equipment is used at smelters, refineries, tailings, mines, landfills, construction sites, manufacturing and processing plants, and industrial and hazardous waste sites. It is also used in such special applications as atmospheric monitoring at historical preservation sites and museums and libraries. The company is private and is owned by the families of its founders, Eric and Evan Campbell.

1974-78: Manufacturing Dataloggers

CSI appeared on the corporate radar in 1974 when two brothers, Eric and Evan Campbell, using family funds, began building it into a successful developer and manufacturer of special-purpose electronic measurement and control equipment, principally a line of dataloggers. Eric and Evan brought separate but complimentary skills to the undertaking. While a student of Utah State University, where he majored in physics and minored in electrical engineering, Eric developed his own company, Logan Scientific Instruments, which produced soil psychrometers. He then sold the company to pay for his university training and help bankroll his next business, CSI. Evan, who was studying manufacturing engineering, brought an expertise in mechanical design and systems to the enterprise.

In addition to their own funds, the two Campbell brothers had the financial support of their six brothers and their father, Sanford Campbell. They also had the help of Professor Gaylon Campbell of Washington State University, who directed them in product definition and conceptual design.

The Campbell brothers started out producing a product for the U.S. Army, the Model CA9 Path Averaging Laser S Anemometer, for application at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Campbell's modeled their anemometer on an earlier, larger instrument experimentally developed at the NOAA Wave Propagation Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The new company sold about 60 CA9s to military facilities and other installations involved in atmospheric research.

In the next year, CSI began marketing its Model CR5 Digital Recorder, a portable, battery-run datalogger employing CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) logic technology. According to Campbell, it was the first battery-operated system capable of taking time-averaged measurements from thermocouples, solar radiation sensors, and wind sensors demanding vector averaging.

Spurred by the sale of about 500 CR5s, by 1978 the company had expanded to 20 employees and close to $1 million in annual revenue. In that year, it also established its presence outside the United States, when Claude Labine obtained the exclusive right to distribute Campbell instruments in Canada. His business quickly expanded as the Canadian demand for CSI's products increased, and within two years he incorporated his company under the laws of Canada, forming Campbell Scientific (Canada) Corp. It was the first company in what would become CSI's international network.

In 1979, CSI introduced another product, its Model CR21 Micrologger, which would eventually reach 3,600 sold worldwide. This system was widely adapted for use in weather station applications that required reliability, minimal power consumption, and unattended operation.

1981-90: Growth Spurs New Products and Overseas Expansion

CSI moved its operations to a building on the outskirts of Logan, Utah, in 1981. A solar energy efficiency facility, the building conserved energy and used natural lighting to keep its utility expenses below those of more conventional buildings of similar size. The company, which used one of its own CR21 units to control heating, air conditioning, and ventilation, found the building agreeable enough to continue to call it home through the end of the century.

A major technological advance was achieved by CSI in the beginning of 1983, when it introduced its Model CR7 Measurement and Control System. It was first developed to expand the channel range of the CR5, but improvements made in integrated circuitry and new thinking about analog measurement placed the CR7 ahead of much field measurement technology. Many of the 180 CR7 units sold in 1983 were employed in new applications for CSI, including, for example, the monitoring of experimental car performance. At the same time, CSI continued to expand the sale of its systems for use in more traditional applications, including agricultural research and meteorology. Thanks to the wide application of the CR7, in just over a decade, the company sold close to 1600 systems.

In 1984, in a move to adapt some of the CR7 capability to a highly integrated, lower cost system, CSI developed the Model 21X Micrologger. It was achieved at a cost only slightly higher than that of the original CR21. Like the CR7, the 21X was a successful seller, and by 1994 SCI had sold 12,256 units of the micrologger. Also like the CR7, the 21X was adapted to new markets, including oceanography and automotive engineering.

With its development of new products and the need to interface with products of other manufacturers, in the 1980s CSI worked on further development of efficient and reliable communication and data transfer. It would eventually have the ability to transfer data using a variety of systems: switched network phone lines; cellular phones; dedicated lines; VHF, UHF, and spread-spectrum radios; meteor burst transmissions; and satellites. Among other things, it developed an RF modem for assuring fail-safe, two-way communication employing UHF or VHF radios. The new system was first tested with a 21X micrologger in mountains near Logan over a four-month period at the end of 1984 and the start of 1985. It would become a major component in a system of 140 portable weather stations operated by the Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Increasing sales in overseas markets led Campbell to establish a UK subsidiary in 1985. Named Campbell Scientific Limited (CSL), its main purpose was to combine the technology created by CSI with peripheral equipment then manufactured in the United Kingdom and to provide the end products and support services to customers within the European market area.

In 1987, Campbell introduced a new datalogger, its CR10 Measurement and Control Module. It very quickly became the datalogger of choice at many weather stations. The unit held the promise of greater efficiency, cost effectiveness, and reliability than other dataloggers, and it featured better shielding from radio frequency and electromagnetic interference and a tighter environmental seal. Over the next seven years, Campbell would sell 27,310 CR10s.

Throughout the 1980s, CSI collaborated with outside researchers in the development of sensors for measuring heat and water vapor released from crop and soil surfaces into the atmosphere. Using eddy covariance techniques, the method required the use of fast response sensors that could measure vertical wind, temperature, and water vapor changes. As part of this project, Campbell developed a fast-response humidity sensor capable of measuring ultraviolet light emitted from a krypton gas source tube. Also, from 1987 to 1991, CSI engineers engaged in a project to detect and monitor leakage from underground fuel-storage tanks, a study that led to an important breakthrough in the detection of changes in liquid levels by using ultrasonic transducers and digital signals. Campbell would later license the resulting technology to the Marley Pump Company.

1991-95: Development of Other New Products and Continued Expansion

In the 1990s, CSI placed increasing emphasis on developing software tools to aid data reduction and develop system program documentation. The work, first designed in the 1980s for the IBM PC, centered on microcomputers. In 1993, Campbell completed RTMS, a software package for datalogger networks. Its purpose was to support mutli-tasking, real-time monitoring. A major customer for the company was the state of Oklahoma, which installed over 120 remote weather stations that communicated with computers using RTMS. These computers then fed data to a mainframe computer at Oklahoma's Climatology Office.

The company was also developing other new products in the early 1990s. In 1991, for example, it introduced products designed to extend the utility of its dataloggers, particularly for the recording of volumetric water content through the use of time-domain reflectometry (TDR). Other new products included probes and interface products that would allow CR10 dataloggers to communicate with a reflectometer. In conjunction with other researchers, CSI developed and implemented software for use in dataloggers that would allow automated, remote-site measurement and recording of such information. Also in 1991, CSI began marketing its BDR320 for hydrological use. The unit was designed for use in harsh and remote environments that imposed a need for low power use and automated equipment. The BDR320, using simple sensors, took reliable measurements of temperature, pressure, force, or position and was perfectly suited to taking water-stage measurements and use in well draw-down tests.

Campbell Scientific further expanded through the 1990s. In 1993 it established a second subsidiary located outside North America, in Australia, with a similar purpose to that of CSL in the United Kingdom but covering the Southeast Asia and South Pacific regions. Also in 1993, CSI sold its first Trace Gas Analyzer, a sophisticated and highly sensitive instrument able to measure nearly infinitesimal amounts of CH4 (methane) or N2O (nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas").

In the middle 1990s, CSI also expanded and upgraded its assembly and work areas. Among other things, it incorporated the use of CAD (computer aided design) equipment for mechanical and printed circuit board designs and improved its computer-based MRP (manufacturing recourse planning) capability for improving its manufacturing efficiency and product control. In 1995, the company shipped its first CR9000, a new data logger with a much greater measurement and processing speed than any of its earlier models. The instrument's sensitivity and speed allowed its use in such demanding applications as noise and vibration measurement and turbulence studies.

1996-99: Keeping Pace with Changing Technology and Developing New Markets

The next year, 1996, the company's UK subsidiary, CSL, moved into a new 17,000-square-foot facility specifically designed to accommodate the company's manufacturing, service, and support activities. CSI also started delivering its CR10X, an upgrade of its CR10. It provided the same kind of functions as its predecessor, but it expanded the data storage ability, had a larger program capacity, and included such other features as non-volatile flash memory, an expanded instruction set, and a battery-backed RAM and clock. It was also the company's first datalogger to employ surface-mount technology, an improvement over through-hole technology because it allowed for, among other things, smaller components, a faster signal speed, and lowered RF emission.

Expansion abroad also continued after 1996. First, in 1997, Campbell established a subsidiary branch, Campbell Scientific Africa (Pty.) Ltd., in Stellenbosch, South Africa; then, in 1999, it established Campbell Scientific do Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Also, on the domestic scene, in August 1999 CSI made a $3.75 million investment in Kent, Washington-based Meteor Communications Corporation (MCC), one of the world's first designers and builders of wireless, packet switched networks using meteor burst communications (MBC) and extended-line-of-sight (ELOS) technologies. That company had begun providing these networks to various customers worldwide in 1975 for use in a variety of applications, including environmental monitoring. The investment was a strategic step for CSI, which made instruments and systems suited to Meteor's technology and had a big stake in seeing the messaging costs in data networking made economically feasible for it own customers, something it was convinced MCC could achieve.

2000-02: New Growth and Product Development in the 21st Century

Campbell Scientific's growth, diversification, and new product development continued apace at the beginning of the new century. In June 2001, the company acquired Irrisoft, Inc., a software development firm that Travis Barney and Steven Moore started up in 1998. Campbell bought the company in order to provide a variety of integrated software solutions, particularly programs designed to meet its product distribution needs. In addition, the company expanded its CR200 line of wireless sensors and dataloggers with the introduction of CR205. In the same period, it also developed, produced, and began marketing other products, including its CR5000 and CR9052 dataloggers, RF400 spectrum radio, and TDR100 time domain reflectometer (a device to measure the water content and electrical conductivity in soil and other porous media). Campbell's robust research and development and recent acquisitions argued a secure corporate future in its highly specialized field.

Principal Subsidiaries: Campbell Scientific Corp. (Canada); Campbell Scientific Ltd. (United Kingdom.); Campbell Scientific Australia Pty. Ltd.; Campbell Scientific Africa (Pty.) Ltd.; Campbell Scientific do Brasil.

Principal Competitors: Dickson Monitoring Solutions; Grant Instruments; Logic Beach Incorporated; Omega Engineering, Inc.; Omni Controls, Inc.; Onset Computer Corporation.

Further Reading:

  • Baker, M. Sharon, "Meteor Lands Millions to Spread Its Telecom System," Puget Sound Business Journal, August 13, 1999, p. 12.
  • McDermott, Kevin, "Selling High Technology: If You Have the Best Product, Isn't That Enough," D & B Reports, September-October 1987, p. 34.
  • Valenti, Michael, "Precision Logger Sent into Space," Mechanical Engineering, September 1995, p. 34.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 51. St. James Press, 2003.

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