Piling Canada


Expansion into the Canadian market
Written by Lisa Kopochinski
February 2023

Torbjörn Rehnström (centre) is the con of Sigicom founder Christer Svensson, managing director. He is accompanied by Curtis McGrath, Sigicom Canada’s head of sales (left) and industry veteran Ron Mask (right)

Over the past decade, Sigicom has undergone a large expansion that includes a Canadian office.

As a leading supplier of measurement technology with a number of large companies as customers and users, Sigicom has been providing solutions for many key tasks on major construction projects for more than four decades.

This includes offering cost-efficient equipment for remote monitoring of environmental disturbances from construction projects and focusing on the development of autonomous robust measuring equipment and the accompanying software for presentation and reporting.

Essentially, the company designs, develops, manufactures, calibrates, services, sells and rents measurement equipment, in addition to developing and selling web applications.

Company history

In 1981, Christer Svensson – considered a true innovator by many – founded Sigicom in Fort Collins, Colo., as a small family business that developed innovative monitoring equipment for blasting.

“Throughout the following four decades, Svensson kept a keen eye for understanding the future of construction and blast monitoring, with digital sensors and presentation via internet technologies,” said Curtis McGrath, head of sales for Sigicom Canada.

“The mission remains the same with our current managing director and Svensson’s son, Torbjörn Rehnström. We use innovative technologies to create more rugged, reliable and efficient monitoring solutions for construction and blasting.”

Sigicom’s expertise in measurement, industrial operations and microprocessors is built into all of its systems. Computer technology is used to process, transmit, collate and present data in a way that relieves the mundane and time-consuming tasks from a human operator.

The company’s experience with complex product development targeted towards demanding and difficult applications, as well as more cost-sensitive applications, provides the team a good starting point for using clever combinations of existing and new technology for new and existing applications.

INFRA system

Sigicom is especially proud of its INFRA system, which is a combination of vibration and noise monitors and cloud software that form an efficient and remote monitoring solution.

The basic design philosophy behind the system is ruggedness and reliability, while also being extremely easy to deploy. The software allows users to manage their monitors in the field easily, as well as present the recorded vibration and noise data to a company’s exact preferences. It is a flexible system that works for a wide range of monitoring applications.

When considering vibration control and its importance in construction – especially in the deep foundations sector – creating a vibration monitoring plan for construction projects is not only a prudent safety measure for contractors, but also a legal requirement in many cases.

“Controlling vibrations of piling work gives contractors the peace of mind that they are complying with the requirements specified by the project owner and the local municipality,” said McGrath.

“If your piling work produces high amplitude vibrations to nearby structures at their natural resonant frequency, you will be liable for damages even years after the work has finished.”

Nearby structures such as hospitals, laboratories and computer server rooms may also contain vibration-sensitive equipment that can be easily damaged. This is where a simple monitoring plan can effectively mitigate risk.

Last October, Sigicom attended the Ground Engineering’s Smart Geotechnics Conference in London, England, and had the opportunity to demonstrate its INFRA System and display its wide range of measurement instrumentation.

The INFRA system is a combination of vibration and noise monitors, and cloud software that come together to from an efficient and remote monitoring solution

Unique Canadian project

One particular Canadian project that the company is especially proud of involved long-time customer GKM Consultants. Sigicom needed to perform vibration monitoring during the expansion of a major data centre building in Montreal. Due to the security restrictions of the internal server room, the vibration monitors had to be battery-powered with long autonomy, compact in size, require no maintenance from staff and provide the client with real-time data reports in root mean square values.

“GKM found that Sigicom’s C22 wireless vibration monitor was the only product in its class able to meet these strict demands and were able to install six of them within the confines of a single server room,” said McGrath. “It was a job well done!”

As for the company’s plans for the next few years, McGrath says Sigicom is especially pleased with its new hardware in development, as well as new software features from customer requests around the globe.

“With our investment in Canada already bearing fruit, we are looking to grow further with a rental fleet of vibration and noise monitors in 2023. Our customers operate in an increasingly more complex and time sensitive environment than ever before. Sigicom will continue to grow as a business partner that adapts to these challenges.”

“Controlling vibrations of piling work gives contractors the peace of mind that they are complying with the requirements specified by the project owner and the local municipality.”

– Curtis McGrath, sigicom canada

International expansion

Over the past 11 years, the company has undergone a large international expansion. Presently, Canada, France, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. have fully staffed and equipped offices.

“In our industry, it is critically important to have a domestic central hub that can cover all your customers’ needs such as calibration, technical support, education and repairs,” said McGrath.

“We located our Canadian office in Ottawa to ensure that all customers nationwide receive shipments the next day. Short lead times are the name of the game in the monitoring world and, fortunately, we are set up to react accordingly.”

With more than 70 employees globally, there are currently four team members in Canada, with more to be added this year.

McGrath says since the Canadian office is a small start-up, it was important that each team member came with an experienced background in multiple core functions – expertise in vibration and noise monitoring, technical support, calibration and logistics.

“Additionally, we hired industry legend Ron Mask, a 35-plus year veteran of the monitoring business, to help guide our team.”

Core strategy

With a core strategy strictly to sell and service its vibration and noise monitors, McGrath says that Sigicom will never compete with its customers on bid packages, installation or data consultation.

“We leave that to the many qualified expert consultants across Canada,” he said. “Sigicom has invested in Canada big-time, and we have a full calibration lab for all the monitors and sensors we manufacture.”

The Ottawa office is dedicated solely to Canadian customers and the company is proud of the fast turnaround times it provides.

“We know customers need their monitors back in the field as soon as possible. And, furthermore, we have invested in a dedicated local technical support resource, giving all our customers a live expert to call on demand. When it is Friday afternoon and you need to install a new type of sensor, this free service is invaluable.” 

Photos supplied by Sigicom

Category: Profile

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.

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