Knudsen Engineering Limited

Knudsen Engineering Limited (KEL), is located in Canada and has been designing and building echosounders for most of its existence. Starting in the late 1980’s with the 320A, designed for helicopter surveys in the high Arctic, and continuing with the 320M, 320B and their derivatives, Knudsen echosounders are now used in more than 60 countries around the world. Known for their pioneering use of digital signal processing (DSP) technology, Knudsen sounders are used in a wide range of applications, from shallow-water hydrographic survey to full-ocean depth scientific research.

Knudsen Engineering, Perth Ontario.

Knudsen Engineering, Perth Ontario

Knudsen Engineering Limited is located in historic Perth, Ontario – close to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and also to the many nearby lakes and rivers that act as the company’s test and customer training sites. Incorporated in 1981 by the husband and wife team of Donald and Judith Knudsen, the company has grown steadily over the years from an engineering-driven R&D enterprise into a market leader, exporting over 90% of its production, with over 400 installations worldwide.

Unequalled Innovation. Unparalleled Customer Support.

Alistar Carnie, Donald Knudsen, Darren Gibson and Judith Knudsen standing in front of the KEL Booth. Oceanology 2004. London, England.

Alistar Carnie, Donald Knudsen, Darren Gibson and Judith Knudsen standing in front of the KEL Booth. Oceanology 2004. London, England.

A key strength of Knudsen Engineering is the complementary alliance of partners Donald Knudsen, President, and Judith Knudsen, V.P. Operations / Marketing – both of whom understand the importance of product innovation and customer satisfaction. President Donald Knudsen is the driving force behind the company’s technical team. Don gained early field experience as a senior engineer at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, where he was involved with the development of a variety of systems for airborne remote sensing. Previously, he worked at the Canadian Hydrographic Service, where he learned about sonar and signal processing, and survey technology. As Judith observes, “In this business there is no substitute for field experience.”

Donald and Judith Knudsen.

Donald and Judith Knudsen.

Donald Knudsen has also been acknowledged for his work in the field of digital beamforming technology, for which he received Canada’s highest award for innovation, the Manning Foundation Award of Distinction. His DAISY (Digital Acoustic Imaging System) was the world’s first high-resolution, broadband, dynamically focused sonar. This technology was subsequently licensed to a major defense contractor.

Anticipating market needs is something that Knudsen Engineering has been doing for a long time. Judith recalls, “When Knudsen Engineering arrived on the scene of a well-established survey market with entrenched competition, we immediately recognized that we would have to offer something new, and that was technology. So, we became one of the early pioneers of DSP technology, and this gave us a key advantage in a market where most of the competition was still based on analog hardware. We decided that our customers would prefer to buy from a technology leader, not a “me-too” company.”

Judith Knudsen and her dog, Angus.

Judith Knudsen and her dogs, Hamish and Gus.

Blending advanced technology with product innovation is business-as-usual at Knudsen Engineering. For instance, the “Blackbox Echosounder” concept was just that: a box, with no controls or display, and – significantly – no printer. By the late 1980’s, most echosounders had discarded the true “analog” printer with its belt and stylus in favor of a thermal printhead with discrete printing elements. Digital echograms were now the norm, even if the customer wasn’t always aware of it. KEL reasoned that since the echogram record was already digital, and could be recorded digitally, real- time printing was no longer a basic requirement. Not only that, but including printers added cost, size, and more things to break in the unit. Also, since most people today are “Windows-oriented” and carry notebooks, Donald Knudsen figured that they could come out with a truly portable unit by discarding the real-time printer, eliminating the control panel, and have the PC control the echosounder directly. They then wrote a Windows application program, and interfaced the notebook to the echosounder blackbox using a SCSI connection as the highway to pass information and/or control the unit. By using a SCSI connection instead of an RS232, the KEL blackbox unit can pass the entire greyscale envelope versus just a digital ASCII number. This innovation was unique to the industry.

Knudsen 320 series echosounders are currently used worldwide for precision measurement of water depths for a variety of applications, ranging from hydrographic surveys to oceanographic research.

Sounder and Chirp Echosounders

The all new Sounder Series Echosounders.

The all new Sounder Series Echosounders.

Our latest developments are the new Sounder and Chirp series echosounders. These two new series are KEL’s first completely new design since the introduction of the successful 320 Series and represent a great leap forward in echosounder design. Based on the latest generation of 16-bit Digital Signal Processors from industry leader Texas Instruments, the Sounder and Chirp will become the new benchmark for performance and accuracy.

The all new Chirp Series Echosounders.

The all new Chirp Series Echosounders.

Digital signal processing is key to the performance of the new systems. The Sounder and Chirp systems digitize the entire incoming signal over an exceptionally wide bandwidth of 230 kHz, and extract the frequency of interest entirely with digital signal processing software. The digital filters implemented in the Sounder and Chirp systems provide stability and selectivity simply not achievable with analog components, and the TI DSP has the processing power to recover the signal from even the noisiest environments.

320M Series Echosounders

The original 320M Echosounder, a well known and respected workhorse of the survey world has recently been updated and replaced with 2 new models to better meet today’s technology requirements and take our customers into the next generation of survey needs.

Continued Leadership in Product Innovation.

Future graphic

Knudsen Engineering has always been and will continue to be characterized by its advanced technology and product innovation in the area of underwater acoustics. KEL was the first company to develop a truly all-digital echosounder, to build a “blackbox” echosounder, to develop a Windows-controlled echosounder, and to develop a “paperless” digital echosounder. Many of our competitors in the single-beam market have committed themselves to multibeam sonar development programs at the risk of losing their position in the market and with their customers for their single-beam products”, notes Donald. “We have chosen to strengthen our technology lead in the single-beam arena”.