Company History


Energy Instrumentation was founded in 1984 by John Bonnard as a company specialising in calorimetery.


The first instrument to be produced was the “Autocal”. It was based on a number of ground breaking ideas that John patented locally and in some foreign countries, including the USA. Most significant of these ideas was the use of a bayonet locking mechanism to close the bomb in place of the traditional threaded cap, the latter being prone to wear that can become a major hazard if not frequently checked or replaced. Next, the bomb was built into the instrument, the bombcap being automatically loaded by a system of pneumatic cylinders. This totally removed the cumbersome handling of bombs from the operator’s work load, while another novel concept was to thermally stabilise the bomb by flowing water from a constant temperature tank through it’s assembly, improving speed and repeatability.


This technology was licensed to Parr Instrument Company. With some changes it has formed the basis for Parr’s top-of-line calorimeters ever since.


Subsequent instruments from Energy Instrumentation were the MC-1000 and Supercal/Supercal 2, where the bombcap was manually loaded into a top opening bomb. These instruments were of modular design - a number of modules could be run on one controller operated by a single operator, saving space, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.


In 2010 the company moved into dry bomb technology. This resulted in our  highly successful “Drycal”, currently the best selling calorimeter in South Africa. Novel patented features include a high safety bomb design that incorporates an interlock to prevent pressurisation of a bomb that is not fully locked, or of inadvertent opening of a pressurised bomb. Careful design of the thermal transfer characteristics have yielded a waterless calorimeter with none of the biased results previously seen in some waterless instruments.


Development of an entirely novel patented method of igniting samples in calorimeters was brought to practicality in 2016. In this a precision dispenser is used to inject a minute amount of a flammable liquid into a special cell located above the sample crucible. Once ignited the liquid travels downwards while burning onto the sample, igniting it in turn. For obvious reasons this device became known as the “Dragon Ignitor System”. The major advantage offered by this development is speed and convenience, leading to greater sample throughput.


The “Dragon” system was however not intended solely as a more convenient way of igniting samples, it finally opened the way to the ultimate instrument in calorimeter development, that of a fully automated instrument, able to accept a carousel of pre-weighed samples that would be processed through the entire determination without any further operator intervention. Thus the “Robocal” was born, able to accept twenty four samples for totally automatic determination of Calorific Value. Tooling up for production is underway on this instrument, with first deliveries expected mid 2019.