By Rachael Rees
Bend-based Dent Instruments, which makes power- and energy-measuring devices, and a Massachusetts company that makes building sensors have agreed to jointly develop products to measure energy consumption.
Dent’s technology will be embedded in the new products, said Vice President Tim Van Slambrouck, which could to lead to an increase in sales and employment for the Bend company.
The two companies plan to collaborate on devices that will monitor energy use in commercial, industrial or institutional buildings to help owners control their costs, said Chris Brooks, product manager of Setra Systems Inc. They finalized their agreement last month, Van Slambrouck said.
Setra sees “energy consumption as a growing need and trend in the building control industry,” Van Slambrouck said. “They came to us to help them develop technology to perform power metering that allows their customers, building control companies, to capture energy consumption in buildings.”
The companies’ first project will be a power meter called the Power Patrol, estimated to cost $500 and will be available starting in May.
Van Slambrouck said the Power Patrol will give a facility manager the ability to see variations of energy consumption patterns — such as thermostats set too high or lights left on too long — in real time.
“By continuously monitoring the energy consumption in a building, changes can be made to reduce that excess consumption,” Van Slambrouck said.
Van Slambrouck said working with Setra will allow Dent to access new markets.
“The relationship with Setra is going to leverage their long-term position in the building-controls marketplace,” he said. “It will accelerate our presence in that marketplace.”
Setra is a subsidiary of the Danaher Corp., whose various companies had 63,000 employees in 50 countries at the end of 2012, according to its latest annual report.
When Dent Instruments was founded in Bend in 1988, it employed a couple of people and made data-logging devices that measure and record when lights go on and off and for how long. It expanded into portable recording power meters. Today, the company employs 22 people and specializes in both power meters and data loggers.
Setra’s project manager said both companies will benefit. While Dent provides Setra with technical skill and an understanding of the market, Brooks said, Setra will help Dent access more sales channels.
“They’re a gem in the rough,” Brooks said. “They’re a small company in Bend, Oregon, but they are very world class when it comes to their technological capability and their professionalism.”
— Reporter: 541-617-7818,