Can you remember? Bob and Mary Jane Engman can—they were in their house in Huntington Beach, California, planning a new company to manufacture the optically isolated, liquid epoxy-filled solid-state relays that Bob had drawn the design for at the kitchen table. That's Bob in the photo at the right.
This new manufacturing process made SSRs both more reliable and cheaper to build than others on the market. Good for the customers. Good for the business.
Bob and Mary Jane called their new company Optrol at first, but that name was already used by another company. So they chose Opto 22.
Why 22? Says Bob, "We had 22 SSR models at the time, and I figured nobody would already have that name."
Bob was right. And he was right about several other things, too, like these:
- It's more fun to work in a small company than a big corporation.
- You get a lot more accomplished if you don't have layers of managers to slow you down.
- If you treat people well—whether they're employees or customers—they'll stick with you.
- People want good products that last a long time.
- Automation's future lies in utilizing new technologies and open standards.
Forty years ago today, on July 23, 1974, Opto 22 was born. Forty years later, we still stand by the same philosophy.
No matter where you were in 1974, we're glad you're an Opto 22 customer now—and we'll do our best to give you the same quality of products and service for many more years to come!
No, not the DIN rail... What's really behind your automation system?
If you have an Opto 22 system, you can be sure that it's solidly backed by the people who designed it, built it, and support it. Here are some of us in a photo taken last year when we started shipping groov.
Did you know...
Opto 22 is owned and run by engineers. Always has been. So we understand automation and the challenges you face.
For all Opto 22 employees, the median length of time they've worked here is 15.3 years! No kidding. Why do we stay that long? For the same reasons our customers tend to be loyal: good products, good people, a company that treats us well.
Some of us started last week; some of us have been here over 30 years. We've got experience, but we've also got the vision and drive to build cutting-edge products that move our industry in new directions—like SNAP Ethernet I/O in 1998, the integrated SNAP PAC System in 2007, and the groov mobile environment in 2013. (Read more about Opto 22 history.)
All Opto 22 products are manufactured and supported at our factory headquarters in Temecula, California, U.S.A. Manufacturing and R&D are in the same building, so we work closely together to build products that fit your needs.
Since we have direct control over quality, we stand behind our products with a lifetime warranty on all solid-state SSRs and I/O. We can afford to do that because we don't do statistical testing; instead, we test every single unit twice before we ship it to you.
We base our products on open standards, so they're easier to integrate and use:
- We were a founding member of the OPC Foundation.
- We developed Optomux and documented it as an open protocol for others to adopt.
- We introduced the first I/O unit built on standard Ethernet networking and the Internet Protocol (IP).
- We based groov on Internet standards like HTML5, CSS3, SSL, and SVG.
Open standards work. Better for customers. Better for business.
Legacy products? We support our products as long as we possibly can, and offer an upgrade path when we must declare one obsolete. After all, if it's guaranteed for life, it's going to need support for a long time.
Have a question on a product? Need help with spec'ing a system? A real person answers the phone when you call Opto 22. Pre-sales engineering and product support are always free.
We're glad to help.
Customers are always telling us about their "old Optos" still working amid heat, floods, dirt, you name it.
In 2007 we discovered some right in our own factory, in an old substrate testing machine we were replacing.
When design engineer Ron Schmidt dismantled the machine to salvage parts, he found three Opto 22 solid state relays. But not the ones we sell today. These were from Opto 22's first product line, introduced 40 years ago.
And here's one of them, on the left in the photo. It's so old, it bears the original name—Optrol—and logo. This little guy is one of the world's first liquid epoxy-filled "hockey puck" relays—now an industry standard—and he was still going strong after constant use for 33 years.
Whether you're new to Opto or have been a customer for 40 years, we appreciate your continued support.
You're why we come to work every morning; your challenges and questions inspire us to develop new products and move the automation industry forward.
When we look back on the last 40 years we're happy with where we've been—and even happier to look ahead at where we're going.
With your help, this is just the beginning.
Happy 40th Anniversary from all of us!