NWE
DEEPTECH OF THE WEEK JUNE 4-10, 2018

Incubator: Sting

It all started with a master thesis project at Volvo Construction Equipment, as they saw the potential in building lighter machineries.

“We are listening a lot to our customers to help us make the right priorities.”

NWE is one of the 10 winners of the 2018 ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship – hence deeptech of the week!

ENTREPRENEUR: Martin Engman

COMPANY: NWE

INCUBATOR: Sting

 

Business idea:

For the first time enabling the manufacturing industry to monitor and control the quality of their welding in real time.

It all started with a master thesis project at Volvo Construction Equipment done by Eric Lindgren and Thomas Stenberg at KTH under the supervision of Zuheir Barsoum 2010.

– Volvo had recently developed a new corporate manufacturing standard were quality tolerances had a better connection to the structural integrity of heavily loaded components, says Martin Engman, founder of NWE. 

Volvo saw the potential in improving the production quality so that they could build lighter machineries, increase the payload and reduced the fuel consumption of their vehicles, he explains.

– With the new standard came new requirements and there were no reliable and robust solutions available to verify if the requirements set in production were achieved. Eric and Thomas developed a method which could do unbiased assessment of the produced weld quality in serial production.

The same way a modern nut runner monitors the tightening torque of every bolt being assembled in new vehicles to ensure that it is properly tightened, so does their method but for welds, Martin explains.

– I got involved when working at Swerea KIMAB together with Eric and because of the successful results and the potential we saw in the technique, a few years later we founded NEW.

Martin Engman has a five-year background in research and instrument development for non-destructive testing focused on laser ultrasound, as well as five years’ experience as systems architect in developing Automated Test Equipment (ATE). Before founding NWE, he also worked as a department and sales manager at Novator Solutions, gaining knowledge in sales and business strategy.

– My drive has always been to see the results of any task at hand, combined with a continuous strive to learn more and become better at what I do. I always have a very high energy level at work and I try and avoid inefficiency and pointless tasks.

Making the right choices

What’s the pitch? 

– Firstly, our system enables the manufacturing industry for the first time to monitor and control the quality of their welding in real time. Leading to quality assurance. And weight reduction, increasing processing rate, less scrapping. Faster and higher quality revision. Ability to use high strength steel. And faster process development.

Secondly, he explains, their system generates an enormous knowledge database gathering all the welding parameters enabling the manufacturer to make data-based decisions when designing a new product.

NEW is one of the 10 winners of the 2018 ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship.

– It means a lot to us. Getting financial support and recognition at this stage of our development is so important to enable us to do more and to do it at a faster rate. Our goals are set very high and we can’t reach them by ourselves. And not without financing, at least not within a reasonable time, Martin says.

Making the right choices has been a challenge, both from a technical and a business point of view.

– Anything from choosing our company name to our server software platform. Or which database technology to choose, what competence to recruit initially, and what business areas to approach.

Martin sums up lessons learned to the following four:

“Seek knowledge. Always double check facts and always get a second opinion within areas that are unknown to you. Reprioritize continuously and stay agile. And - when having enough knowledge, make a decision and see where it takes you.”

NEW is a part of the STING incubator in Stockholm since six months back. 

– It has been very helpful to have an experienced coach to discuss ideas with. We have had a lot of help with company structure issues, setting up milestones, making budget, and making long term strategical plans. It has been very good to have an impartial person to have present during discussions.

The team currently have three pilot customers running, a couple of them being involved in the development since day one.

– We are listening a lot to our customers to help us make the right priorities.

NWE’s also collaborating with institutes and companies for further development of their system, long term plans and IPR. 

– There are several national research projects being launched in which our system is key technology for the scope of the projects. These will also enable us to further develop our business model, says Martin Engman.