Sensor maker Micatu looks to change grid
BIG FLATS – By changing the way the world senses with light, Micatu Inc., has the potential to become a major employer in the Southern Tier.
The company measures voltage, current, vibration and temperature using optical sensor technology, rather than electronics, revolutionizing sensor technology which Michael Oshetski, Chief Executive Officer at Micatu, says has been unchanged for more than a century.
Chemung County Industrial Development Agency President Michael Krusen said Micatu, currently located in the IST Center at Airport Corporate Park, has turned into a wonderful, growing enterprise.
“It started out about four years ago with just three employees,” Krusen said. “It now has about 45 workers and it expects that number to nearly double in the near future.”
Oshetski said Micatu recently agreed to purchase the old Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, on Daniel Zenker Drive, and plans to add about 40 high-paying jobs by the end of the year or in early 2018.
“We are starting to get into the ramp up production phase, which means we have to produce optics for customers,” said Michael Jagielski, Micatu Inc. chief operating officer. “We have been in the research and development phase for about the past five years.”
Jagielski said the sensors measure voltage, current, temperature and vibration for just about everything used today.
“The growth has been driven by using optics sensors,” Oshetski said. “Optics more accurately measuring things. They can help utility plants better regulate their operations, which will in turn benefits the environment. It allows companies to have more intelligence of what can be on the grid.”
Oshetski said what that does is allow utilities to produce the power needed or that is actually being demanded during peak periods.
“We provide the information to make it smart,” Oshetski said. “To do that you really have to be able to take the data and make sure it’s accurate and precise, so you can make intelligent decisions of what to do with the grid. That’s what we do. We have the only optics technology that can really do that.”
Jagielski said sensors that use optics rather than electronics are more accurate and precise, and they are immune to the electromagnetic interference that often plagues electronic sensors.
“We are fundamentally changing the way the world senses with light,” Jagielski said. “We are changing an industry.”
Jagielski said that work, along with several state and federal grants, have given Micatu the capital needed to create a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility as it prepares to bring its optical sensors to market.
Jagielski said the company has been awarded each of the six state and federal grants it has applied for since 2012.
“That has never been done before, ever. It allowed us to get the necessary capital to kick the growth,” Jagielski said. “We are six for six on federal and state grants.”
Micatu received state funding in 2012, 2013, 2015, a pair in 2014, and the last one in early July, Jagielski said.
“The total of grant funds received is about $10 million dollars,” Jagielski said.
Oshetski called Micatu a great grassroots company.
“That’s all the way from the support of state and federal (officials) to our staff of employees,” Oshetski said. “That’s our story. Everyone here loves the company and what they do and we look forward to future growth.”
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