Technostrobe turns 20! Customer Focus, Innovation, Engineering Excellence
13 May 2021
To mark Technostrobe’s 20th anniversary, we are taking a look back at what led a young engineer from Côteau-du-Lac to rethink obstruction lights by proposing innovative, efficient and reliable lighting solutions!
The beginnings, the dream, the vision
In the early 1990s, a young Guy Buisson (founder of Technostrobe) was called upon to perform a manoeuvre at an altitude of some 400 metres to repair obstruction lighting equipment on a broadcasting tower. Perched in the air, hands frozen, in the middle of an ice storm at - 4°C, Guy Buisson, then an engineering student at ETS (École de Technologie Supérieure, Canada) and working as a tower climber, thought to himself: "There must be a better way of making this equipment so that I don’t have to do exactly what I’m doing!". Determined and inventive, the idea of putting all the electronic power equipment at the bottom of the structures for easy access and maintenance, while keeping the lighting equipment on the tower, was born.
20 years later, the same idea of separating the optical module from the electronic power module still guides the design of the devices created by Technostrobe. This innovative concept makes it easier to service the electronic equipment on the towers with both feet firmly on the ground.
From left to right: Mr Guy Buisson, founder of Technostrobe, Mr Claude Vincent and Mr Francis Lacombe, the new president of Technostrobe, at the inauguration of the factory expansion in Côteau-du-Lac in 2017.
"Mr. Buisson had two qualities that made him a very good climber: he was not faint-hearted (having been brought up in an agricultural environment, on the family farm), and he had a knowledge of electronics, something which, at the time, was very rare."
– Francis Lacombe, Mr Buisson’s successor.
The same mission for over 20 years!
Our mission is to design, manufacture and distribute innovative, efficient and reliable lighting solutions for owners of navigational obstacles on land and at sea to help pilots navigate safely.
Francis Lacombe, President of Technostrobe, in the field, always attentive to customers’ needs.
Innovation and customer focus: Creating intelligent electronics!
The idea of creating a technology that separates the optics (lights) from the electronics still sets Technostrobe apart today, both in terms of ingenuity and complexity. In bringing electronics to the bottom of the towers, it was necessary to consider what is known as Ohm’s Law - fighting the loss of voltage in a cable over a distance. So, an intelligent electronic system was integrated to deliver the necessary voltage to the top of the towers to maintain the required light intensity.
However, before the concept could be developed and implemented, it was necessary to obtain the support of key customers; the owners of communication towers. With the support of its first customers, such as Radio-Canada and Hydro-Québec, Technostrobe was officially launched in January 2001. At that time, there were major gaps in the services offered to tower owners, and Technostrobe set itself apart with its innovative ideas, both in terms of the technology used and the quality of service that the company was able to offer locallyon the equipment. Guy Buisson quickly garnered the support needed to start the company and began manufacturing the first high-intensity Xenon equipment (270,000 candelas).
"Our vision is simple; to be seen and recognised as THE reference in obstruction lighting by all industry partners in both America and Europe."
- Francis Lacombe, President of Technostrobe.
Obstruction light with intensity reduction (LIDS Technology) at Mont Sainte-Marguerite (Quebec, Canada).
From Côteau-du-lac to the world
Today, Technostrobe has completed thousands of projects around the world. Obstruction lighting products for telecommunication towers, broadcasting towers, onshore and offshore wind farms (with the acquisition of ITO Navaids in 2018) on more than three continents. Its major achievements include the air and sea obstruction lighting of the Samuel de Champlain Bridge (Montreal, Canada), the obstruction lighting with intensity reduction (LIDS Technology) of Mont Sainte-Marguerite (Quebec, Canada) and the installation of the temporary aids to navigation systems for Vattenfall in the North Sea (Netherlands) to name a few. The company has more than 50 permanent employees working in Côteau-du-Lac (Canada) where design, product engineering, component assembly, performance testing and marketing are still handled, and 10 employees in the Netherlands. It also boasts multiple innovations such as LIDSTM (Lighting Intensity Dimming Solutions), several trademarks in Canada and the United States, as well as certifications in Mexico, Germany and France.
Prizes and awards :
- 2018 Innovation Award, Wind Energy Industry Gala; Wind Energy Technocentre, Gaspé Quebec
- 2012 Innovation Award; Wind Energy Industry Gala; Wind Energy Technocentre, Gaspé Quebec
Important dates in Technostrobe’s history :
- 2003: First contract with SRC/CBC.
- 2004: First contract with Hydro-Québec.
- 2005: Start of marketing for wind farms. First obstruction lights installed in Baie-des-Sables in Gaspé.
- 2007: Construction of the Côteau-du-Lac factory to provide a real working environment for the team and the facilities needed to produce the solutions.
- 2008: Start of the company’s international expansion. Francis Lacombe joins Technostrobe to oversee the company’s international development.
- 2009-10: Start of the conversion of products to LED technologies (Conversion finished in 2014). Previously, incandescent and Xenon were used.
- 2014: Launch of the range for very tall broadcasting towers (270k candela).
- 2014: Beginning of the collaboration with Drake Lighting, our American distributor.
- 2015: Launch of LIDS™ (Lighting Intensity Dimming Solution).
- 2016-17: Expansion of the factory in Côteau-du-Lac, which then doubled the size of the factory and, consequently, its production capacity.
- 2018: Acquisition of ITO Navaids in the Netherlands and addition of the aids to navigation segment.
- 2020-21: Francis Lacombe is appointed as the new president of Technostrobe, succeeding the founder of Technostrobe, Mr Guy Buisson.