After a year that saw massive underwater projects like the capping of the Gulf Coast oil spill and the continued development of offshore energy solutions, it’s not surprising that demand for imaging sonars has reached an all-time high. Even more surprising are the new applications other industries are finding for these tools.
“Our products allow people to do things they couldn’t do before: they provide the ability to ‘see’ through water that is essentially opaque,” said Joe Burch, co-founder and president of Sound Metrics. “Underwater professionals look for the most clarity they can get and our products have been increasingly well received. In 2009, our sales were up 41%. Last year that number increased by 52%.
In May of 2010, Sound Metrics agreed to deliver 20 diver-held sonars to the U.S. Air Force’s CSAR Guardian Angel Team to aid with search and recovery operations. Delivery was expedited so that these mission-critical tools could be deployed by teams as soon as possible.
“Our sonars are used in a lot of different places for a wide range of applications — monitoring the laying of oil pipe off the coast of Mexico, assessing hurricane damage to bridges in Texas, assisting with victim recovery in Florence, Italy,” said Burch. “But what they all have in common is that the operation’s success or failure relies on whether or not they have good, clear data.”
Burch also believes his company is just scratching the surface of potential customers. “Really, our audience is anyone, anywhere in the world, who has to work in turbid water. As we continue to grow and refine our products, we want to help these people do what they need to have done.”