COMPANY STORIES. THE STORY BEHIND AQMESH COMPANY & PRODUCTS
AQMesh is a small sensor air quality monitoring system that was originally developed by Geotech in partnership with the Cambridge University. Geotech was a market leader in the field of manufacturing high precision gas detection and analysis equipment in harsh environments and, in collaboration with researchers from Cambridge, applied that expertise to developing small sensors for accurately monitoring pollutant concentrations in ambient air.
The product was commercially launched in 2012 after extensive testing in real-world conditions. In 2015, Geotech split into Environmental Instruments Ltd, which continued to manufacture, supply and develop AQMesh. The product has evolved over time, with continued extensive real-word testing, to become the flexible and customizable platform being supplied today.
Originally beginning as a pod that could monitor only 3 or 5 gases, AQMesh can now be configured to monitor a single gas or up to 6 gases out of a combination NO, NO2, O3, CO, SO2, H2S, TVOC and CO2, along with PM1, PM2.5, PM4, PM10, noise and wind speed & direction. It offers all the benefits of a full air quality monitoring station without increasing in size and a range of autonomous power supply options, including a bespoke solar pack, and completed with seamless data delivery using lattest communications technology.
Interview with Amanda Billingsley, Managing Director at AQMesh.
Easy Engineering: Which are the fields of activity where you are operating?
Amanda Billingsley: AQMesh pods are deployed in a wide range of air quality monitoring applications and environments across the globe, including: mining, construction, smart city, research, urban background, traffic management, baseline studies, volcanic emissions and ventilation and mitigation systems triggering, to name just a few!
E.E: Which are the most significant projects in the history of the company?
A.B: The Breathe London pilot saw 100 AQMesh pods installed throughout London to measure local air quality, with the results published on a live interactive map showing current pollution levels across the city. The results from the AQMesh pods and the pilot study validated the use of small sensor systems for this type of application and enabled the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a blueprint for deploying networks of air quality monitors across towns and cities. Similarly, the Citi-Sense project was a ground-breaking European project which showed what could be achieved with small sensor air quality systems, engaging with citizens of eight cities.
E.E: What projects were the most challenging?
A.B: The team have been able to overcome a number of challenges related to supporting projects in far corners of the world, including a customer who had 16 pods installed across Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippines and Mongolia via a chain of parties making communication with the end user to resolve any technically issues very difficult. Eventually, the AQMesh team were able to take over direct support of the pods to keep them up and running.
E.E: What are the ranges of products and what types of services do you offer?
A.B: We manufacture, supply and support AQMesh air quality monitoring pods across the world either directly or through a network of trained, authorised distribution partners.
E.E: Which are the most innovative products / services and what special features do they have?
A.B: The ability to perform remote diagnostics is a huge benefit to our global customer base. The majority of issues can be spotted, diagnosed and resolved completely remotely without any reason to visit the installed pod. This is of great value to customers who may be deploying the equipment hundreds of miles away from their base and/or they can avoid expensive field technician visits. The AQMesh data processing algorithms are unique in that no other manufacturer has access to the sheer amout of comparable data sets AQMesh has after over 10 years of extensive co-location comparison trials against certified reference equipment in real world conditions and environments. Also, the AQMesh smart solar pack allows for autonomous power all year round and features smart connectivity with a mobile app for checking power output and running diagnostics.
E.E: What was the research behind the products/solutions and how important is R&D?
A.B: Our research is ongoing based on a wide range of co-location comparison trials around the world in real-life conditions. We have pods on trial in all continents, weathers and seasons which allows us to continually develop our data processing to account for cross-gas interference and environmental factors.
E.E: What products / solutions are you going to launch in the future?
A.B: Future developments including adding a methane sensor to the suite of parameters already available.
E.E: How important are the after-sales services?
A.B: After-sales service is very important to us. All our users’ pods are proactively maintained and upgraded for 10+ years life, and there is no charge for technical support at all.
E.E: Tell us about social responsibility and what part does it play in the company?
A.B: AQMesh helps customers improve air quality. We have a small product range with a low carbon impact, but we are always looking for improvements on how to make this even better.
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