1. Can you take us back to when it all started – what was the original idea behind starting Strainlabs?
The founders of Strainlabs knew that preload, the force which keeps a bolted joint together and able to withstand external loads, is fundamental. If you don’t get the preload right, then nothing else matters. On the other hand they also knew that preload in a joint varies over time due to natural causes and may result in failure if being too high or too low. The industries are well aware and inspect bolted joint at high cost, down time, sometimes at high risk and always without quantifiable results and without properly solving the problem of maintaining a correct preload level. By developing a wireless preload sensing bolt a huge issue could be resolved.
2. You have been involved in the development of all aspects of the Strainlabs System and market offering – what have been the key challenges?
The biggest challenge was to develop a completely new technology of measuring preload. A technology which is accurate over time, can transmit data wirelessly over long distances, is durable and last for a timespan which is realistic for heavy industries. On top of that, measurements must be stored, analysed, and illustrated in a cost effective and user-friendly way. All these challenges are unique in their own way for mechanic, electronics and IT and normally handled by specific companies. Strainlabs has managed all three in one turn-key-solution.
3. How have the market trends and interest for preload sensing technologies changed since then?
Since Strainlabs introduced its technology the first time, the interest has been growing and more companies/industries realize the benefits. In the beginning, engineers thought of preload sensing bolts as a way of monitoring specific joints which are particularly crucial. Now, we see that the idea of preload sensing bolts are relevant not specifically to engineering but also to management with a strategic standpoint of potential new sources of revenue related to services and maintenance. As a pioneer Strainlabs leads the way and helps companies to realize the potential of preload sensing bolts.
4. What are you most proud of in Strainlabs achievements so far?
Being such a small team and still able to create a technology and solution which much larger companies did not even try as it was considered too difficult and complicated. Strainlabs ability to create a user-friendly, complete system which does not require any adaptation of the customer behaviour.
5. What are in the plans ahead for Strainlabs?
As of 2021 Strainlabs begins a market introduction journey and we aim to start taking market share in 2022. Several global and listed companies have expressed interest in cooperating. Our Product Managers also have many ideas on how to further develop both the hardware side and the software side of Strainlabs System with even more outlandish features.