Freewave President and co-founder steps down

FreeWave Technologies, a leader in industrial, secure Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) wireless networking solutions, has announced that their cofounder Steve Wulchin is leaving his role as President of the company. Wulchin remains as the company’s single largest shareholder and will continue to be actively involved as a Board Member in the development of FreeWave’s new product platforms and in its expansion into international marketplaces.

“I have full confidence in the new executive team Kim Niederman (FreeWave’s new CEO, appointed 2014) has assembled, and the strategic direction they have laid out for FreeWave,” said Wulchin.

Involvement in New Start-ups

While continuing to be actively involved in the company, Wulchin plans to get more involved in the start-up community, both from the standpoint of active involvement and mentorship, as well as private investment.

As a co-founder, Wulchin helped the Boulder, Colorado-based company be a stable contributor to the local economy and community since its inception in August 1993. In fact, when TA Associates, a Boston-based private equity firm, invested $113 million in FreeWave in 2007, $9 million was distributed to all FreeWave employees.

Under Wulchin’s leadership, the company deployed millions of radios and helped its more than 5,000 customers achieve things never thought possible. Its solutions are relied upon for many aspects of daily life that make a difference in the world: FreeWave’s solutions are used in the agriculture industry to help provide food, in government and defense communications to help save and protect lives, and to enable safety, security and efficiency in critical infrastructures such as in oil/gas, water/wastewater and electric power. Specifically, Wulchin spearheaded the company’s efforts to become the #1 provider of wireless infrastructure radios to the Oil and Gas industry (where 29 of the top 30 companies use FreeWave); became the #1 provider in Precision Agriculture; and, the #1 provider in Group 2 and Group 3 Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones).

“Steve Wulchin is the rare entrepreneur who has led the company he founded for a full 20-plus years with the highest integrity, care for employees and a ‘customer first’ focus,” noted Gary Vacon, a FreeWave Board Member. “Steve always puts the company first, and this is evident in every single one of the millions of radios the company has deployed over the years. Over the past two years, he has led an effort to build a management team that can navigate the company to be the leader in IIoT wireless communications.  It’s been a privilege to work with him as CEO and President, and we look forward to his continued leadership in taking this company forward.”

FreeWave Shifting Focus to New Disruptive M2M/IIoT Strategy

With the burgeoning Industrial IoT market expected to easily surpass $200 billion this year, FreeWave has its sights set on disrupting the largest segment of the IIoT industry. “Steve has contributed greatly to our new strategy and the many new products in development that will be launched over the next several quarters,” explained FreeWave CEO Kim Niederman. These products will offer FreeWave’s groundbreaking technology called ‘S2STM’ that is built around our new ‘Sensor to ServerTM’ strategy.

“The Internet of Things is transforming the industrial radio and SCADA business and FreeWave is repositioning its internal skillsets to match the requirements of the new business,” Niederman added. “Hiring the right people with the right skillsets will ensure we continue to offer our customers and partners the very best services and technology solutions that will help them continue to grow and be successful.”

Niederman says that a new generation of wireless sensor networks will make deployments faster, more cost-effective and easier to deploy than ever before.  “FreeWave is poised to leverage its leadership creating new solution-oriented radio technologies to disrupt this evolving and rapidly growing market. Our new senior management team has the experience, drive and vision to take FreeWave from what was a great data radio company to a market leader in the Industrial Internet of Things and M2M marketplace,” he said.

  • k9isjujtxabno0dlztm0Educated at the University of Virginia, Steve cofounded Freewave Technologies in August 1993. Previously, he worked in finance at Hewlett-Packard and at Sievers Instruments. An industry veteran with decades of experience, Steve has guided FreeWave into becoming one of the most trusted developers and suppliers of wireless M2M solutions for the oil and gas, defense, agriculture, and utility industries.

Honeywell introduce a new DP range, the SmartLine transmitters

Honeywell Process Systems, at the EMEA Honeywell User Group meeting in Istanbul this week, launched a new range of industrial pressure transmitters, the SmartLine range, which will enhance communication abilities, improve operational efficiency and reduce lifecycle costs for process manufacturers.

In industrial process plants, field devices that measure pressure, flow and level are used throughout the manufacturing process to support safe and efficient production.  Large industrial complexes, such as those for refining crude oil, can have thousands of these devices to support their manufacturing processes.

Honeywell SmartLine pressure transmitters make it easier to support field devices and promote plant reliability with their unique efficiency-enhancing features, such as a graphic display capable of showing process data in graphical formats and communicating messages from the control room.  SmartLine transmitters also feature modular components to simplify field repairs and reduce inventory required to make those repairs. [In other words you can swap out all the internal modules live, on plant].

“SmartLine is designed to provide the lowest total cost of ownership at every point in the project lifecycle to help customers’ operations be more efficient, their process more accurate and their plant more reliable,” said Don Maness, VP Field Products, Honeywell Process Solutions.“Honeywell introduced the first industrial smart transmitter in 1983 and have since supplied millions of smart transmitters around the world. To build on this legacy, our latest generation was designed with input from our customers and distributors.”

The new display supports graphical process data in easy-to-read trend lines and bar graphs while also providing a unique platform for operator messages, comprehensive diagnostic warnings, and loop status for maintenance.  These capabilities are part of the transmitter’s Smart Connection Suite, and allow control room operators to send messages to the display to make it easier and faster for field operators to identify the correct transmitter and determine required maintenance tasks.  And, when integrated with the Honeywell Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), the transmitter can also display its maintenance mode – telling field operators in plain language messages if the control loop is in a safe state to perform maintenance.  Even installation is made easier with this new display.  Three-buttons at the top of the transmitter are used with the graphic display to completely configure the transmitter with no external handheld devices required.

The modular design streamlines maintenance by allowing replacement of individual transmitter components instead of the entire unit, even in hazardous locations. This design reduces plant lifecycle costs by providing purchasing flexibility, lowering inventory costs and reducing maintenance and repair work.

“SmartLine offers a number of unique benefits to customers,” Maness said.  “It exceeds industry norms for accuracy, response time, turndown and stability.  It provides the lowest lifecycle cost by leveraging a modular design for configuration, installation, upgrades and maintenance.  It communicates to all automation systems through open communication protocol modules and is even more tightly integrated with Experion PKS and legacy DCS customers.   Lastly, we designed it for the instrument technician to make it simple to configure with an easy-to-read display and without the need to use a field calibrator or to open the housing itself.”

Other safety and efficiency features include enhanced security alerts and wiring polarity insensitivity.  Tamper reporting alerts the control room and records any change in the transmitters’ configuration or write protection setting to allow operations to investigate any unauthorized access.  Unlike most other transmitters, SmartLine transmitters cannot be damaged by reversed wiring polarity and will function correctly if connected as such. This protection significantly helps during a plant startup, when time can be wasted locating and repairing incorrectly wired devices. 

Honeywell’s SmartLine pressure transmitters are available now.  

What this didn’t say is that the SmartLine unit is much more compact and weighs far less than previous Honeywell DP transmitter ranges, making the units far easier to install on large plants and at elevated positions! The initial offering allows ISA100 wireless communications via an adaptor, but later models will build in wireless communications capabilities.

New ISA100 and WirelessHART dual gateway

Nivis, a company that specialises in secure, open standard wireless sensing and control networks, has announced the release of the Nivis WirelessHART Gateway, a totally misnamed router for wireless sensor networks of any type: whether WirelessHART or ISA100.11a protocol based. Nivis call it a reliable and secure wireless communication gateway for real world industrial plant applications. Then they get round to mentioning that it is actually an innovative dual protocol solution for low-cost field device communication, based on both the WirelessHART and ISA100.11a standards. The communication stacks and hardware will simultaneously support both protocols and the network wirelessly integrates both types of devices.  As a result, Nivis users can retain complete flexibility to choose whichever wireless sensor style they want to use, and add to their networks as products evolve in the future.  The Nivis Gateway is available now.

The Nivis WirelessHART Gateway (but they don’t mean that really) is quoted to be an integral component in the creation of any wireless network, facilitating communication between host applications and field devices in the network. The Gateway has been successfully tested for interoperability with several WirelessHART adaptors, and other sensors from leading suppliers including Emerson, MACTek and STG. The Gateway is available in two models.

1) VersaRouter 910 (VR910), an all inclusive, fully-brandable, hazardous location certified gateway complete with enclosure.

2) VersaRouter 810 (VR810), a fully integratable and intrinsically safe certified module that is designed to be integrated into custom enclosures as an OEM module.

The VR910 and VR810 employ the Coldfire V4e MCF5485 processor @200MHz and with 64MB of RAM. Both offer Modbus TCP support and come with Nivis Management and Control System (MCS) that allows customers to manage their wireless networks securely and easily. Both products have passed HAZLOC certifications (i.e., ATEX Zone 2, C1D2, etc.) and EMC certifications (i.e., FCC, ETSI, etc.). A complete list of certifications is available upon request.

“The release of the Nivis WirelessHART gateway solidifies our position as an industry leader in secure wireless sensing and control technology,” said Trae Harrison, VP of Sales and Marketing. “The addition of the WirelessHART Gateway to the Nivis product line enables customers to utilize either ISA100.11a or WirelessHART using the same platform.”

Nivis claim to be the world leader in secure, open standard wireless sensing and control networks. Established in 1998, Nivis focuses on research and development of mesh networks and applications supporting mesh networks. From a history in custom engineering to a concentration in commercial and industrial products, Nivis has more than 500 man years of experience in research, development, and implementation of Smart Grid and industrial wireless technology.  Nivis is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with additional offices in Chattanooga, Bucharest and Cluj, Romania. For more information visit