Platinum Award Winner

CEL won homeland security award

Cleveland Electric Laboratories won an Award! 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners Honored at ISC East, New York, 2017.

thermocouple manufactureer won homeland security award for security sensors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Seymour, PhD of Cleveland Electric Laboratories receiving award from Michael Madsen (L), Publisher of American Security Today.

 

CEL’s Fiber Optic sensors are used in security applications to monitor arrays of cameras and other sensors, or to monitor perimeters for intrusion detection. CEL’s Fiber Optic sensors are passive devices requiring no power and are immune to EMI. Fiber Optic sensors have a proven record of providing extremely accurate and repeatable data over a long period of time. Single systems can be designed to monitor multiple application simultaneously such as equipment wear, operational efficiency, leak detection and security. Multiple sensors can be installed on a single fiber and networked into one piece of monitoring equipment. This multiplexing capability drastically reduces cabling and equipment requirements, thereby reducing cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENSING SOLUTIONS FOR INTRUSION DETECTION

FiberStrike®: An advanced fiber optic sensing platform that is flexible and scalable. System architecture facilitates configuration for virtually any security monitoring application. Multiple sensor types address a broad range of intrusion detection applications.

 

User Interface

  • CEL’s advanced API provides a .net event output that allows easy integration with other existing Command and Control systems
  • Monitors and provides alerts, location information and data logging when discrete or distributed sensing systems are triggered or disturbed; remotely accessible
  • CEL offers the ICS SMS EnterpriseTM C3I Command and Control solution including customized graphic user interface; intuitive and designed to be used by anyone without a need for detailed training.

Advantages of FiberStrike® intrusion detection systems:

  • All FiberStrike® sensors (both distributed and discrete) are passive, have no electronic components, emit no signals and require no electrical power
  • Nonconductive optical fiber is immune to electrical interference and degradation due to chemicals or environmental factors
  • Multiple optical fibers are easily deployed for redundancy
  • Sensors may be 25+ kilometers from head-end monitoring equipment, no booster amplifiers required.

Click Here For FiberStrike® Security Brochure

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NCS4 Lab Tested CEL’s FiberStrike® Security Switch and Software

 

 

FiberStrike® fiber optic interlock switches are a solution created for intrusion detection at access portals such as doorways, vaults, hatchways, manholes and hand-holes. FiberStrike® will detect and locate attempts to cut, break, open, tamper, or intrude into integrated areas.  Additionally, sensors are passive and do not require power at the switch. The system can network sensors over non-conductive optical fiber into a single monitoring system that can be tens of kilometers removed from the sensing area.  The FiberStrike® system includes patented fiber optic sensors, software, and an interrogator capable of integrating surveillance technology into the intrusion detection system.

The FiberStrike® System was evaluated by a select group of subject matter experts (SMEs) from the sports security domain. This group consisted of professionals from public safety, sports and athletic facility operations, and information technology. The collective group of SMEs had a base of experience that encompassed collegiate and professional sports, and major event safety and security operations.

Request Here For Complete Report

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Come Visit US at the Ceramics Expo at Booth 500

Now in its third year, Ceramics Expo is the world’s largest annual free-to-attend expo for the advanced ceramic and glass community.

The massively expanded event stands as a unique showcase for all the latest start materials, industrial equipment, technical ceramic components, processing expertise, analysis and testing devices, thermal technologies and precision finishing systems that keep this sector at the forefront of manufacturing advances.

Due to its tightly focused approach and by maintaining a close relationship with all core stakeholders, Ceramics Expo guarantees the participation of respected and innovative suppliers. As the premier US ceramics exhibition, it draws in thousands of genuine decision makers and aims to set the agenda for ceramics manufacturing and applications.

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Innovnano’s new ceramic powder offers an improved alternative to 3YSZ for structural ceramic applications

In an exciting development for the structural ceramics market, Innovnano, a European manufacturer of zirconia-based powders, has developed a ready-to-press 2mol% yttria-stabilised zirconia (2YSZ) with an outstanding fracture toughness.

Read More | Apr 21, 2017

New Accessories for Sequoia’s LISST-200X

Sequoia Scientific (Bellevue, WA) has announced that two new accessories are now available for its LISST-200X submersible laser-diffraction instrument: the Path Reduction Module (PRM) and Full Path Flow Through Chamber.

Read More | Apr 18, 2017

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A Taller Ladder is Not the Answer By Alan Seymour, PhD of Cleveland Electric Labs

(Image Credit: Vanessa Pena via YouTube
What is really needed is a fiber optic system that can interact with the fence and that is also buried that will give location and notification without all the false positives. (Image Credit: Vanessa Pena via YouTube)

By Alan Seymour, PhD of Cleveland Electric Labs

Just under a year ago, the White House went into a security lockdown because someone was trying to scale the fence and the solution at that time was to build a taller and stronger fence.

The problem though is that if you want to get across a taller fence, you simply need a taller ladder.

A year later another man has scaled the wall and roamed the grounds for nearly 17 minutes before being apprehended by Secret Service.

(Mar 18, 2017 White House spokesman Sean Spicer, has said on Twitter, that a person has jumped over a bike rack in a buffer zone in front of the White House, but was not able to make it over the fence and into the property. Courtesy of USA TODAY and YouTube)

Whether this is due to ignoring alarms, as reported by some, or just not knowing the exact location of entry on the fence, a taller fence is not the answer, as it will not solve either of those problems.

If it is ignoring alarms, then there could be an issue that is seen on many security systems installed across our nation, false positives, where the alarm goes off but there is no real issue.

What happens is not as some have stated in ignoring the alarms purposely, but the fact that they go off so often that the mind tends to negate the noise or the alarm.

If one has ever attended college and lived in a dorm, fraternity or sorority house, you remember all the false fire alarms, to the point that you just did not react to them anymore.

This is not to say that happened, but it is being reported that the Secret Service, one of our great institutions, supposedly may have ignored some alerts.  I think it more plausible that it is an issue with false positives than our men and women protecting our President just plain ignoring the situation.

They are some of the best trained agents in the world, and it just does not fit that there was a purposeful ignoring of an alert.

(Image Credit: YouTube)

The need is really not a taller fence that can be scaled by a decent climber, just look up on YouTube at all the people that free-solo up buildings with ease.  A taller wall is just a few more seconds of climbing or attaining a higher ladder to get over it.

What is really needed is a fiber optic system that can interact with the fence and that is also buried that will give location and notification without all the false positives.

Building a taller fence today is like still using Windows XP and saying you just need more RAM in your computer for it to work better and be more effective.  The answer is not the RAM, it is your operating system.

Taller fences are not the answer, it is the operating procedures for protecting our perimeters.  Just as the Windows XP had to be upgraded over time, so does how we protect our most valuable assets, our American citizens and leaders.

A Fiber Optic system, like Cleveland Electric Labs’ FiberStrike perimeter security system, is where security should be heading.  The system can be mounted right onto the fence going around the White House that will keep the visibility of our great iconic building to the public, and then buried a few meters beyond the fence in a closed loop to give an additional source of intrusion detection.

The fiber optic system will report from multiple locations within five seconds to a single command/control center for monitoring and the system will integrate with any command/control already being utilized.

The FiberStrike system will give location of the event where the fence was scaled and if Secret Service cannot reach that particular location in time, then there is the buried fiber that will give another indication of direction of where the offender proceeded.

The system can be tied to the current camera system so the intruder can be recorded and monitored immediately for identification and additional location information, making it nearly impossible to avoid detection.

Fiber optic systems are immune to EMI, EMP and lightning strikes as there is no electricity going through the fiber and only light, that is continuously monitoring the perimeter.

There is no issue with weather, as wireless systems can have, because it is a direct fiber optic connection and weather does not have an effect on its operation.

The materials are corrosion resistant and will last for the long term.  There is a military grade protective material over the fiber and if anyone were able to cut it, all it would do is give their exact location.

False positives can be removed through the software by the system learning the first week it is installed.

There are unique acoustic signatures in how things behave, and the system will differentiate between a bird landing on the fence, high winds and a human grabbing the fence and trying to scale it, virtually making false positives a thing of the past.

Each type of occurrence makes its own disturbance that is analyzed and reported in the software, making it much easier to weed out false positives.  The Secret Service can then react to actual alarms and not have to deal with false intrusions.

With software offered like Cleveland Electric Labs Intellioptics, the field agents can be sent a text of an intrusion right to their phones, giving immediate confirmation of an event and quicker response times, not allowing for a potential terrorist to have any amount of time to get across the yard targeting our nation.

The software capabilities tied with the fiber optic security, gives a complete system and an upgrade to just having a fence as a deterrent.

(FiberStrke Detection System, apply to a wide range of applications. Courtesy of Alan Seymour and YouTube)

Building large fences becomes an eye sore, and an irritant to the public.  They are required to keep the bad out, but as they get taller and thicker, it can start to give the appearance they are to keep the good out as well.  It can create an isolationist perception of our leadership and our country.

FiberStrike allows for a fence that is eye appealing, can still give a great perceptual view and at the same time give better detection of intrusion.

Not only is it a better aesthetic option, it creates a less stressful environment, as psychologically when you have intrusive obstacles, it tends to create more issues with people trying to defeat the obstacle.

CEL

Fiber optics gives the appearance of freedom while still protecting the liberties of our leaders and nation.

Secret Service agents and snipers can still have great line of site and have less stress knowing the false positives will be nearly wiped out.

With cameras tied to the system, there is little chance for any potential perpetrator to make it three minutes on the grounds, let alone seventeen minutes.

At the same time, tourists feel they are connecting with our leaders and have access to view our nations White House that is a work of architectural art.

Between the border wall, and the White House there are consistent problems with keeping people from crossing the fence, and not only crossing the fence, but also figuring out location of where the intrusion happened.

Alan Seymour, PhD of Cleveland Electric Labs
Alan Seymour, PhD of Cleveland Electric Labs

Building taller, thicker or stronger is not the answer, as people will just buy a taller ladder, dig a longer tunnel or use better tools to cut through the wall.

What is needed is a fiber optic system, like FiberStrike, that will continuously monitor, give location of intrusion and not even seen for the most part as it is either buried or integrated onto the current standard or ornate fence, protecting federal property, the border, our nation and the White House.

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Cleveland Electric Labs on Red Wing’s Oil and Gas HSE Podcast

BY 2 COMMENTS

Red Wing's Oil and Gas HSE Podcast

The ability to identify a problem before it becomes an HSE incident is often a game of seconds; things often go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. But what if you could monitor your operations five times a second, during every phase of your operation?

The folks at Cleveland Electric Labs specialize in equipment that can do that, and more.

From monitoring the flow of bulk product through a pipeline to protecting a secure area from unauthorized entry, Cleveland Electric Labs has over 90 years of experience providing solutions to every aspect of industrial safety and security.

The Red Wing Oil and Gas HSE Podcast is hosted by Mark LaCour and Patrick Pistor. This is THE show for everyone who has an interest in HSE in the oil and gas industry.

Mark the Director at Modalpoint, where he manages a dedicated team of industry professionals, with a laser focus on the intersection of the Oil and Gas industry and your revenue stream. He has extensive experience in the Oil and Gas industry and sits on the API – Houston board of directors.

Patrick is the Managing Director at Lean Oilfield, where his team focuses on business process improvement and digital marketing for the oil and gas industry. He has worked for drilling contractors in the Gulf of Mexico, Angola, Australia and Singapore and sits on the board of directors for the IADC – Houston chapter

Click Play to Hear the Oil and Gas HSE Podcast Episode 32 – Cleveland Electric Labs

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CEL Competes in 2017 ASTORS Homeland Security Awards

Unmonitored manhole/vault covers pose significant vulnerability access points to sensitive governmental areas & critical infrastructure locations for physical attack, frequently missed in perimeter protection strategies, as evidenced for example, by the Metcalf attack

Unmonitored manhole/vault covers pose significant vulnerability access points to sensitive governmental areas & critical infrastructure locations for physical attack, frequently missed in perimeter protection strategies, as evidenced for example, by the Metcalf attack (Learn More)

When dignitaries or high-profile individuals visit cities, municipal crews often weld manholes shut in vulnerable locations to ensure safety, costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each time they must be welded and then cut open again.

Manhole covers and similar access points related to sensitive areas as well as critical infrastructure locations have proven to be a source of significant vulnerability, and many malicious acts such as vandalism, material theft, and even terrorism have occurred due to ease of access through manholes that generally are unprotected.

Electrical utility manhole cover
Electrical utility manhole cover

Utility companies, telecom providers, and municipalities are increasingly installing cabling and other components of their physical infrastructures underground.

Power is carried over metal cables, but most data and telecommunications infrastructures utilize fiber optics, and these vital links commonly pass through underground vaults.

The data and telecom traffic carried on these lines is sensitive at a minimum, and the access points to such lines need to be secured to help maintain both the integrity of this vital infrastructure and the security of the information carried by it.

Although the jacket of a fiber optic cable may appear virtually identical to a cable containing copper wires, a thief in a hurry may not distinguish between the two; and as the following account illustrates, metal theft may not be the only motivation for lifting a utility vault cover.

At the lower end of the threat continuum, thieves frequently enter manholes to cut power cables in order to steal metals to be sold for scrap.

For these efforts, they may gain a few hundred dollars from a scrap yard, while causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage and the loss of critical public safety services, power, and telecommunications to nearby industry, the surrounding community and its citizens.

Soft targets

At the higher end of the threat continuum, literally hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of manholes around our nation give easy access for a physical attack against vital components of our infrastructure, and the Metcalf attack demonstrates this easy access.

In addition to access points for vital components of our national infrastructure, manholes in and around city centers, stadiums, coliseums, hospitals, campuses, government agencies or similar public venues where large numbers of people gather at one time may also be points of vulnerability.

The Need

A safe and durable means of continuously monitoring the position of manhole or vault covers, in order to detect when they are opened and closed, is needed to help protect our vital communications and power infrastructures installed in manholes and underground vaults.

Monitoring of manholes near public venues where many people gather also would be beneficial to immediately alert authorities of any unauthorized entry; such monitoring would help maintain perimeter security and improve public safety.

The Vulnerability, an Example – The Metcalf Attack

Metcalf Attack
(Image Credit: WSJ)

On 16 April 2013, just before 1AM, intruders lifted the heavy cover of a telecom underground utility vault near the Metcalf power substation just south of San Jose, CA.

They cut fiber optic telecom cables in the vault, disrupting communications in the area; a few minutes later, they entered a second vault nearby and severed more telecom cables.

Then, starting around 1:30, they focused rifle fire on high voltage transformers inside the substation fence. The shooting lasted nearly twenty minutes, and then the saboteurs vanished into the night.

Law enforcement officers arrived only a moment later, saw nothing suspicious, could not get past the locked fence, and left.

The attack caused leakage of 52,000 gallons of cooling oil and disabled 17 transformers; a blackout in portions of Silicon Valley was narrowly averted through power re-routing and conservation.

Jon Wellinghoff, then chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, visited the site afterward and brought along military experts.

They concluded that it was a planned professional job, and Mr. Wellinghoff stated the attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the US.

(Hear from Jon Wellinghoff, and Mark Weatherford, former deputy undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, about future risks and protection directly, courtesy of Homeland Security Mgmt, PBS and YouTube)

The Department of Homeland Security defines terrorism as any activity involving an act that is “dangerous to human life or potentially disruptive of critical infrastructure or key resources.”

By this definition, the Metcalf attack was a double act of terrorism.

Such classification may or may not deter would-be thieves or saboteurs depending on their determination, knowledge and speed, but the development of systems to continuously monitor access points and help protect the security of vital infrastructures located underground has not kept pace with the expansion of such infrastructures themselves.

If a well-coordinated attack on these systems were to occur again today, how quickly would we know the location?

What if we could identify, in less than five seconds after it occurred, exactly which manhole cover was disturbed?

Given this capability, might the Metcalf event have turned out differently?

Desirable attributes of a suitable manhole/vault cover intrusion detection system include the following:

LCM-610 sensor
LCM-610 sensor
  • Reliably, continuously and simultaneously monitoring of the position of multiple manhole covers
  • Individual and unique identifiers for every manhole or vault in which the system is installed
  • Immediately report a change in the position of any manhole or vault cover
  • Sensors that are environmentally rugged and resistant to corrosion
  • Sensors that are intrinsically safe for use in explosive atmospheres
  • Sensors located in each manhole/vault that do not require electrical power
  • Sensors and interconnecting lines that emit no signals and are immune to electrical interference
  • Sensors that cannot be bypassed without detection
  • Sensors that may be deployed kilometers distant from remote monitoring equipment, if required.

The CEL Solution

LCM-610 sensor in protective cowling, mounted to concrete manhole wall using adjustable adapter plateLCM-6100 systems are part of the FiberStrike suite of fiber optic sensing systems made by Cleveland Electric Laboratories (CEL) in Tempe, AZ, which have been deployed both domestically and internationally.An effective solution exists in LCM-6100 manhole cover position sensing systems, which are specifically designed to help protect the security of underground utility infrastructures by monitoring the position of covers at the manhole or vault access points.

FiberStrike sensing systems use light (not electricity) to sense position or movement, and system attributes address all of the criteria listed above.

An LCM-6100 system for monitoring manhole or vault covers consists of LCM-610 sensors, LCM-2600 monitoring equipment at a remote location, optical fiber that links the sensors with the monitoring equipment, processing software, and a graphic user interface that is intuitive and easily used without requiring extensive training.

Protective mounting hardware also is available that adjusts to virtually any manhole wall configuration.

Value

“The ROI for a FiberStrike system may be estimated by comparing how many times a city has to go through the aforementioned process of welding manholes closed and reopening them (at top), or estimates of how much will be lost in the event of thefts, vandalism or terrorism, against the system installation cost,” said Rodger Shepherd, VP Advanced Technologies, CEL.

“Type SMF-28 fiber is commonly used in telecom systems, and if dark (unused) fiber of this type already passes through manhole/vault spaces to be protected and testing confirms it is suitable, installation costs may be reduced by using such fiber to link cover position sensors and the LCM-2600 remote monitoring equipment.”

“Up to fifty LCM-610 sensors may be multiplexed on one fiber, making efficient use of available fiber and further reducing installation costs.”

“The FiberStrike system continuously monitors the position of manhole or vault covers and immediately reports a change at any cover; the LCM-2600 equipment can simultaneously monitor hundreds of cover sensors if desired, with every cover individually and uniquely identified.”

“Alerts also can be transmitted to multiple authorized recipients via voicemail or text.”

“Individual identification allows exact location of any attempt to access a manhole or underground vault through a cover on which a sensor has been installed, and facilitates an immediate focused response by security or law enforcement personnel if appropriate,” concluded Shepherd.

Cleveland Electric Laboratories

CEL in 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

The 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, organized to recognize the most distinguished vendors of Physical, IT, Port Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, (Fire, EMT, Military, Support Services Vets, SBA, Medical Tech) as well as the Federal, State, County and Municipal Government Agencies – to acknowledge their outstanding efforts to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.’

As an ‘ASTORS’ competitor, Cleveland Electric Laboratories (CEL) will be competing against the industries leading providers of innovative sensor, intrusion detection systems for critical infrastructure.

2017 ‘ASTORS’ Winners will be honored at the ‘American Security Expo 2017’ to be held November 8-9, 2017, in the Meadowlands Exposition Center, at the 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon which will take place the afternoon of November 8, 2017.

The full two-day conference & exhibit venue in the New York City area, will include full schedule of conference meetings and speakers – plus an Unmanned Security, Robotics & Drone Exhibition Arena, Hiring Event & Education Opportunities.
ASTORS HSA 2017

Good luck to Cleveland Electric Labs on becoming a Winner of the 2017 American Security Today’s Homeland Security Awards Program!

For more information on LCM-6100 systems, as well as other FiberStrike intrusion sensing systems, readers are encouraged to contact Cleveland Electric Laboratories’ Advanced Technologies Group (CEL-ATG) by phone at 480-967-2501 or via email at sales@celatg.com.

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SIA Member Spotlight: Cleveland Electric Labs Readies Perimeter Security Breakthrough

Executives from Cleveland Electric Labs visited SIA headquarters recently.

by Mickey McCarter, Manager of Communications in SIA Membership

Cleveland Electric Labs, a new member of the Security Industry Association (SIA), is on the verge of introducing an innovative new perimeter security product to the commercial security marketplace.
In a visit to SIA headquarters recently, Cleveland Electric Labs executives, including President Jack Allan Lieske and Vice President of Advanced Technologies Rodger Shepherd, described how their company assessed current perimeter security sensors and found them lacking. Many customers of existing solutions report unacceptably high rates of false alarms, the executives said.
1But eventually Cleveland Electric Labs was able to deploy its fiber optic sensor tech in a truly exciting solution.
“We immediately knew we could not try to follow anything like that same architecture,” Shepherd told SIA. “So we worked very hard to develop completely different architectures that would give us different signatures.”
The first method Cleveland Electric Labs began exploring was direct-buried fiber optic cable. The limitations of that approach became evident quickly, said Shepherd, as varying soil types and conditions affect the reliability of sensor readings. Soft soil makes it easy to detect footprints over the fiber optics while hard ground makes it difficult. Cleveland Electric Labs shifted its focus away from that effort, although the company continues to explore options.
The second method the company assessed was fence-mounted tech. Cleveland Electric Labs discovered it could make a breakthrough using this model. Without going into detail, Shepherd said the company’s engineers were able to measure movement through their fence-mounted fiber optics in a way that would avoid false alarms such as strong wind blowing on birds landing on the fence.
Soon, Cleveland Electric Labs will unveil its first customer for its fence-mounted perimeter security solution. That same customer also purchased a buried fiber solution for detection of whether an intruder attempts to dig under a fence, a problem much easier to solve than detection of footprints across various grades and conditions of ground soil.
Cleveland Electric Labs, a 97-year-old company headquartered in Ohio, traditionally was involved in industrial temperature control sensor manufacturing, Lieske said. It provided sensors to longtime clients like Honeywell and Northrop Grumman among others. Eventually, Cleveland Electric Labs sold off some of its other legacy business and focused solely on sensors.
More than a decade ago, Cleveland Electric Labs acquired a partner in Phoenix, Arizona, and deepened its focus on small sensors and fiber optics. The acquisition of the Arizona company led to building a site at a University of Arizona research park in Tempe, Arizona. In the Tempe facility, the company built out its perimeter security business, employing about 40 people in that location to develop products, build them and as necessary install them. (Cleveland Electric is ready to work with integrators as well as complete installations itself.)
With its perimeter security solution nearly complete, Shepherd voiced confidence that Cleveland Electric Labs would be able to discern locations of intruders much more precisely than other products. With the completion of software development for the fence-mounted solution, Cleveland Electric Labs will start widely marketing the security package. The package will consist of a mid-range price product that will deliver exact location to clients, Shepherd said.
“We see a gap in what is available right now,” he added. Many perimeter security clients have turned off their solutions to cut down on false alarms.
That could eventually lead to disaster at critical hubs like airports. In the case of U.S. airports, the 31 highest volume airports have experienced more than 250 intrusion attempts since 2011, whether trespassers were attempting to cut through, drive through or climb over perimeter fencing.
“We are not taking any product to market that is going to be susceptible to the same problems as existing platforms,” Shepherd vowed.
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Crain’s Business Magazine – With success in one new market, Cleveland Electric Labs eyes another

The Twinsburg company, best known for making thermocouples — a fairly low-tech item to measure temperature but one that is used in countless industrial applications now hopes it can sell high-tech sensors to monitor pipelines and national infrastructure.

Jack_LieskeThat might sound like a stretch, and it might be one for most companies. But CEL has been down this road before. The company previously set its sights on supplying fiber optic sensors to monitor the soundness of the nation’s bridges and other transportation structures. That was not long after the I-35 Mississippi River bridge in Minnesota collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people.
Thermocouples remain the company’s biggest source of revenue, but installing sensor systems to monitor bridges has become a significant business for the company. CEL owner Jack Allan Lieske said the private company does not break down its financial results for public consumption, but its annual revenue is about $35 million a year.

CEL got into fiber optic technology when it purchased an Arizona company with which it had been partnering on projects. The six-person operation was known then as Instrumentation Specialties Inc. Now, a dozen years later, the Arizona operation has more than 30 employees and functions as CEL’s Advanced Technology Group — and its source of fiber optics expertise. It is run by former Instrumentation Specialties president Rodger Shepherd.

“One of the first areas where we started using this (fiber optics technology) was in bridge monitoring, and now we have some very sophisticated systems in place around the U.S. and Mexico,” said Shepherd, now a vice president at CEL.

For example, the company recently installed a fiber optic monitoring system on the Indian River Bridge in Delaware, a system that includes about 175 sensors and cost roughly $1 million, Lieske said.

Now, the company is installing a similar system on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

“We’re starting on the (Manhattan) side and we should get over to Brooklyn in about four to five years.” Lieske said, explaining that the sensor work is following other bridge renovations as they progress from one side to the other.

CEL will continue to pursue new work on bridges and other infrastructure, but it is also continuing to expand its product line and the markets it serves, Lieske said.

That includes monitoring systems for underground infrastructure in cities around the nation, too, Shepherd said. The company has developed sensors that can constantly monitor underground environments and alert city officials if any unauthorized access takes place. That’s important, in part, because cities more than ever need to protect underground copper wiring from thieves, as well as secure phone, data, sewer and water lines.
Now the company hopes the oil and gas industry will be its next big market. CEL has developed a system that uses electronic components and fiber optic communication lines to monitor pipelines, compressor stations and the internal pipes and plumbing of natural gas processing centers and oil refineries.

“It’s basically a microphone, and we’re listening to the flow of material through the pipeline. Anything flowing makes a certain sound,” Shepherd said.

The system can tell by changes in the frequency or amplitude whether anything has disturbed the pipeline, or if a leak has developed, Shepherd said. Soon, he hopes, it will be good enough to tell pipeline operators the volume of gas or oil flowing through the line at any given time.

Currently, oil and gas companies monitor their in-use pipelines largely via aerial observation. That process has become cheaper and easier to implement in recent years, thanks to drones, but it still only provides a snapshot of the pipeline’s condition.

Shepherd and Lieske said a chief advantage of their system is that it provides constant, real-time information.

What they don’t yet know is how many microphones the system needs or, more specifically, how far they can be spaced apart. That will determine the cost of the system, and the company’s test facility in Arizona does not allow for long stretches of pipeline to be installed and tested.

CEL is looking for a company in the oil and gas industry to work with to test the system on longer runs. So far, it has found no takers, though officials just started looking, Lieske said.

The company hopes its new fiber optics products do well because its infrastructure and pipeline monitoring systems bring in higher margins than its thermocouples. It also hopes that these new markets prove to be faster growing than the steel, glass and other old-line industries that are its biggest customers for thermocouples.

Recently, things might have turned a bit in CEL’s favor, too.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to both increase infrastructure spending and to be more friendly to oil and gas development in the U.S. If he follows through, that could mean more investment in pipelines and infrastructure.

Virtually all of the nation’s bridges could benefit from structural monitoring, and some of them desperately need it, Lieske said.

“This could be a huge industry nationally. Imagine if the country did a couple hundred bridges every month,” Lieske said.

But the tailwinds are also far from reliable.

Though investments in drilling and pipeline construction have increased somewhat in recent months, low prices for oil and gas are still depressing activity and environmental concerns have slowed some pipeline projects.

But just developing its new products has given CEL a head start in some new markets, along with eight patents on its new technologies.

“We don’t have competitors in a lot of these new markets, and we have new patented products that we never thought we’d have,” Lieske said.

http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20161217/NEWS/161219885/with-success-in-one-new-market-cleveland-electric-labs-eyes-another

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Fox News 8 Features Cleveland Electric Labs Fiber Optic Bridge Products

fox8news

 

 

Cleveland Electric Laboratories, headquartered in Twinsburg, has been working for the past 11 years to create an arsenal of tools that can be placed in strategic places on bridges and will warn of potentially hazardous changes.

“We realized about 11 years ago that being a sensor company and dealing with fiber optic, and the intensity of that particular measuring device that we could apply those to some of these cracks and vibration and stress portion of bridges, and give very accurate information,” said company president Jack Lieske.

Read More On the Fox News 8 Website >> http://fox8.com/2016/10/06/twinsburg-company-makes-sensors-to-detect-bridge-problems/

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