On January 3rd, 1977, a group of eight scientists, engineers and technicians spun off from the Research Laboratories of RCA Canada and embarked on their own adventure. This exodus was the result of RCA Canada deciding to close their laboratories in Montreal, and the belief of a few that there was potential to stay and grow. MPB Technologies was founded by Dr. Morrel Bachynski, who was the Vice-President of R&D at RCA Canada at the time.
The Company did grow, and eventually diversified to include works in Communications, Space, Fusion Technology, Electromagnetics, the Forest Industry, Robotics, and Lasers. The company won numerous awards along the way including the Financial Post Canada Enterprise Award for Best Start-up Business Plan, three Canada Awards for Business Excellence, and the Canada Export Award.
|Four Precision Transponders (RPTs) used in RADARSAT calibration activities are installed at selected Canadian Calibration sites.Three more Precision Transponders were built for ESA, for the calibration of the ASAR transponder on the ENVISAT earth monitoring satellite. These units are located in the Netherlands.
Some of the more noteworthy early accomplishments included
An opportunity for MPB to enter the then new field of optical fiber telecommunications arose when the international consortium consisting of AT&T, British Telecom, France Telecom and Teleglobe Canada made the decision to deploy the second ever trans-Atlantic optical fiber system to carry commercial communications traffic between North America and Europe.
TAT-9 was the first fiber-optic system to operate at 565 Mbit/s, twice the speed of the first trans-Atlantic fiber optic system, TAT-8. It was also the first system to have the ability to switch traffic on demand between the five landing points: Canada, the United States, France, Spain and the United Kingdom. This enabled the smaller countries in the network to afford their own landing points, and also allowed the network to accommodate for large changes in traffic demands at any individual station, such as the dramatic increase during the Barcelona Summer Olympic Games in 1992.
MPB was contracted to design, develop, supply and support the Undersea Branching Multiplexers (UBMs) and associated Special Terminal Equipment (STME & STSU) for the TAT-9 system. The system went into commercial operation on March 2, 1992. The MPB-supplied equipment performed flawlessly throughout the 14-year lifetime of the system which was decommissioned in 2006 due to the plethora of higher capacity Trans-Atlantic fiber optic systems based on optical amplifier technology.
Following the completion of the UBM project, MPB developed a series of Optical Line Enhancing transmission equipment for repeaterless systems - to extend the range of fiber optic systems without regeneration.
Long unrepeatered links require the "ultimate" in equipment performance, namely high launch power into the fiber, control of non-linearities in the fiber, ultra low noise preamplifiers, etc. MPB continues to evolve its technology development in concert with these changing requirements for performance characteristics approaching the theoretical limits. MPB’s patented Super Raman technology, based on third-order pumping techniques, is recognized throughout the industry as a key enabling technology which appreciably augments the distance and channel counts of unrepeatered systems.
Technology developed through these systems for the telecommunications market has migrated over to MPBs Fiber Lasers and Fiber Amplifiers, both in demand from the aerospace and industrial markets where power efficiency, reliability and compact size are also fundamental requirements.
Since MPB’s proprietary Super Raman amplification is based on high-power Raman fiber lasers, the technological base existed to readily move into fiber lasers in general. This, coupled with the strong worldwide interest in fiber lasers and their numerous applications, stimulated MPB to expand it range of products. The key developments were two-fold: fiber lasers operating in the visible region of the spectrum, targeting biomedical applications, and modelocked fiber lasers, targeting industrial needs. Fiber lasers in the visible band have been developed at wavelengths not achievable through other technology approaches. Thus, these lasers have opened the doors to novel and breakthrough applications in biomedicine and imaging. The modelocked fiber lasers operate in the picosecond regime and provide the basis for micromachining systems to process materials with unprecedented quality and precision.
The Fiber Lasers have quickly built a reputation for their dependability, unprecedented power, compact size, ease of use, and versatility. The all-fiber laser design inherently ensures a narrow linewidth, diffraction limited linearly polarized output with unprecedented wavelength stability. The traditional concerns of keeping optics clean and cavity alignment sensitivity to temperature and mechanical vibrations do not exist. In addition, the lasers have a low-cost of ownership, with a long lifetime, low power consumption and no maintenance.
Some of the more noteworthy recent developments include
MPB provides engineering services in support of customer requirements. These services include optimization studies, network cost benefit analysis, system design, system engineering. MPB can provide an unbiased third party opinion on the "best" solution. MPB also provides system testing, installation and commissioning, as well as user training in support of its product offerings.
MPB Technologies and MPB Communications are located in Montreal, Quebec, in two adjacent buildings. Other MPB business units include the Electronics Test Centre in Ontario, and the Electronics Test Center in Alberta.
The Company reinvests approximately 20% of its sales each year into internal R&D. This allows MPB to maintain its technology leadership position.