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Pullman tech company announces merger with Munich partner

Feb. 1, 2018 Updated Thu., Feb. 1, 2018 at 8:14 p.m.

By Samantha Malott The Spokesman-Review

Pullman-based Decagon Devices Inc. has formally announced its merger with UMS AG, of Germany, to form Meter Group Inc., a move the companies say will expand and improve their food and environmental sensor technology and research.

Colin Campbell, vice president of the environment division and senior research scientist, said Decagon and UMS, based in Munich, have worked together closely since 2001 and ultimately realized a merger was mutually beneficial. Officially merging Jan. 1, 2017, the two companies spent the past 12 months organizing the new company.

“The decision to merge was an easy one,” UMS President Georg von Unold said Thursday in a news release. “Decagon excels at turning complex science into simple, easy-to-use products, while we at UMS are focused on engineering and precision. Combining these approaches will better serve our clients.”

Product lines previously sold under the Dedagon and UMS names will now be sold under the Meter brand. Meter will continue to provide support for previous lines of lab instruments, environmental sensors and data loggers.

The new name is “symbolic of a renowned and even deeper commitment to try to solve problems … in a simple and precise way that helps enhance (consumers’) experience of whatever they are doing,” Campbell said.

Meter will look to combine expertise with creative user-interface design and to give customers a better experience while gathering the information they need to make job-critical decisions, he said.

“We’re focused on building systems that make our customers’ jobs easier,” Meter Group CEO Scott Campbell said in the release. “For example, the recently released SKALA system collects data directly from instruments and machines and delivers it immediately so food manufacturers can use it to diagnose and fix their processes in real time.”

The company includes two divisions: food and environment. On the food side, instruments are developed to help manufacturers ensure food is safe for consumers.

“Anytime you walk into a store and take it off the shelf, you want to know that you can eat it without getting sick,” Colin Campbell said. “Our chief instrument there makes sure there won’t be any microbial growth while it sits on the shelf.”

The environmental side of the company focuses on water, developing tools and conducting research to better understand the environment. Data gathered guides decisions related to systems such as irrigation management – when to water, how plants are using that water and how it is moving in underground aquifers, Campbell said.

The Pullman office currently employs more than 200, while the Munich office has 40 employees.

“For our local area, we have been able to increase the job opportunities really exponentially at this point with our hiring,” Colin Campbell said. “The goal of this company … was to really provide jobs and opportunities for people in the local area.”

As employee travel between the two offices grows, Campbell said, “it really opens our employees minds and what we can do.”

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