Dynamic Isolation Systems is looking past buildings and bridges during earthquakes | nnbw.com

Dynamic Isolation Systems is looking past buildings and bridges during earthquakes

Brook Bentley | bbentley@nnbw.biz
Over the past 30 years, DIS has developed isolators in response to ever-increasing earthquake performance requirements.
Courtesy DIS |

Based out of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, Dynamic Isolation Systems specializes in developing cutting-edge engineered products designed to prevent structural damage and business interruption caused by earthquakes.

Their core business is protecting buildings and bridges during earthquakes but now they are looking to diversifying into other markets.

The company engineers and manufactures seismic isolators that decouple buildings and bridges from the ground during an earthquake. They have started creating and adapting this technology for other projects as well.

“A lot of the newer technology is for equipment and things that go inside of buildings,” Konrad Eriksen, president of Dynamic Isolation Systems Inc., said during a tour of the 60,000-square-foot plant.

The isolators absorb the energy generated during seismic activity and allow the structure to move relative to the ground. They work to minimize damage to critical structures. Eriksen highlighted data centers, communications facilities, hospitals and bridges around the world the isolators are used in.

The company has done over 450 projects worldwide in 22 countries with representatives in 13 of those.

“In places like San Francisco and Japan we typically see the buildings move two to two-and-a-half feet relative to the ground,” Eriksen said regarding what influences the size of the isolators.

“Each bearing is designed custom for each project,” he added.

Their facility in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center has extensive Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining capabilities to custom build and test every product before it leaves the facility.

While the plant is local to the northern Nevada region, Eriksen explained they have had few local projects, despite the risk that exists in northwest Nevada.

“The problem here is that people still think it (the area) is not very seismic,” Eriksen said.

The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology estimates a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake happens about every 30 years in Nevada. The last seismic event of that scale was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck Dixie Valley in 1954.

Eriksen and Dynamic Isolation Systems work closely with UNR’s Structures Laboratory to test prototypes for special projects.

For example, engineers at Dynamic Isolation Systems created a 3D isolation system to protect critical equipment on the Ruskin Dam in Canada. Development was done internally and prototype testing was performed on the Shake Table at UNR’s Structures Laboratory.

“This was exactly the solution that was needed to ensure the dam gates operate after a major earthquake,” Eriksen said in a press release.

Dynamic Isolation Systems has provided isolators for several retrofitted bridges on Interstate 80 near Carlin, Nev. Eriksen highlighted developments in the Bay Area that include a new Viscous Wall Damper that is being used in the Van Ness and Geary Campus Medical Center in San Francisco. They also isolated two supercomputers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, using a newly developed Floor Isolation System for use within the building.

As industries grow and relocate to northwestern Nevada, Dynamic Isolation Systems is in a position to market themselves to companies. Eriksen expressed their interest in using products like the Floor Isolation System in data centers and related companies.

“There isn’t really anybody doing what we do,” Eriksen explained.

“It is a good niche market, but when there is no one that does what you do, no one really knows the product,” he explained.

As a result, they are always looking at different ways to market themselves to potential clients.