“Using sensors in our customers’ applications is not a new idea, but adding a sensor that communicates in real time via an app certainly is. It’s happening in our homes, so why shouldn’t it be possible to fit smart communication platforms on our sensors as well? That was our starting point,” says Johan Karlberg, Managing Director at Eigenbrodt.
The idea was to measure the water content in a vehicle’s hydraulic system using a water sensor linked to a device. Newer, eco-friendlier oils are more sensitive to water so there is a need for better surveillance of the oil’s water content. The sensor readings are automatically compared to previously collected and analysed data. The driver receives a signal if the water content is too high and can thus avert a costly breakdown.
The sensor manufacturer had the same vision as Eigenbrodt, but Johan felt the timeline was far too long. So Eigenbrodt started alone. After presenting the idea to Axel Johnson International and taking part in the group’s AxLab innovation contest, the company received a grant to put its idea into practice.
We always knew our idea would mean added value, but support from the group was crucial.
Just eight months after the idea was first floated, a beta version of the service was in place with a paying customer. Crucial to such a fast and efficient process was finding a company that liked the idea and was prepared to lend its technical platform. Another factor was that Eigenbrodt split the work into smaller projects, where financing became less critical and a finished result didn’t feel so far off.
“I see our process as proof that curiosity and a genuine desire to improve customers’ processes are more important than being fully conversant with the latest technology,” Johan says. “We can get the technological expertise externally, it’s our in-depth understanding of customers’ needs that lays the foundation for usable, relevant solutions. And the fact that we successfully raised the value of an existing product has really boosted our enthusiasm and made us want more. Just that in itself is of tremendous value.”