“Making your idea into a physical product”

Mikael Hegardt

Forty-seven techno geeks in one office outside of Lund: this is Svep Design Center, one of Sweden’s smartest consulting companies in innovation technology, product development and IoT, with customers including Sony, Tunstall and many others – all under strict confidentiality. 

Mikael Hegardt welcomes us to Svep’s offices, several floors up in a beautiful old building that was originally part of a mental hospital back in the late 1800s. Today the buildings are home to all kinds of businesses, Svep Design Center being one of them. Hegardt, Sales Manager with long experience of development, describes Svep as a company of techno geeks.

“Our favourite subject on coffee breaks range from stuff like capacitor discharge behavior to how self-driving cars work. We’re incredibly focused on technology and developing products, and we’re also very good at it.”

Broad expertise

Since joining Svep as a developer 16 years ago, Hegardt has helped to develop the Sony SmartWatch, security alarms and data transfer systems for the medical devices industry, as well as many other solutions at the leading edge of technology.

“What we do is all about product development, from the electronics level to embedded systems with apps and data systems connected to the cloud,” he says.

Precision measurement

One of the company’s developments for the furniture industry is high-precision technology that measures the thickness of the paint on furniture, which makes it possible to detect paint run. Other projects include a solution to measure sheet metal thickness, and one to measure drilled holes in wood boards.

“If the drill assembly breaks, which happens quite often, suddenly a few wood boards on the line don’t have holes. Our measurement solution gauges directly whether there are holes and if they have the right dimensions,” explains Hegardt, adding that this kind of industrial application is of great interest for IoT (Internet of Things).

Gains and risks

He says there is a lot to gain from linking up processes. For instance a company can keep a constant eye on how a machine is performing, and adjust the production rate accordingly to increase durability, which can save a lot of money. Entire production processes can be measured and streamlined by collecting high-quality data and analysing it. Hegardt does, however, stress the importance of not being overly naive.

“One of IoT’s weak points is security. You have to know the difference between when it’s worth connecting, and when it’s not. And also understand that there are risks, such as hacking and undesirable surveillance. So it’s definitely worth bringing in an expert before connecting something new.”

IoT a competitive advantage

Despite some risks, Hegardt still thinks we should not be afraid of the new technology. It will inevitably be a necessary competitive advantage moving forward.

“As the Far Eastern countries automate more and more, we in Sweden must also continue moving forward and find ways of improving production processes, and providing functions and services, so that we don’t fall behind competitively,” says Hegardt, adding:

“At the moment we’re very good at working with RF transmitters of various kinds in industry, but we still have a lot to learn when it comes to how and why we take measurements. And the possibilities are endless.” 

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