Proekspert launches smart machine components production in Germany

Cord Winkelmann and Marko Sverdlik in Bremen, Germany / Sensorise establishment

Last week Proekspert and German entrepreneur Cord Winkelmann established Sensorise in Bremen, Germany. Sensorise will produce, market and integrate smart machine components and perform machinery surveillance via IT solutions. Proekspert holds a 50% share in the new company.

“The golden rule is that if you want to enter a foreign market you need to have unique technology to offer, and you have to be close to the people you’re trying to sell to,” said Marko Sverdlik, Proekspert CEO and Partner. “And if you want to operate on the German market, it’s important that you’re based there and can speak German. In that regard, we begin in a strong position thanks to our co-owner, Cord Winkelmann. We got off to a good start at the Hannover Messe trade fair, where potential clients showed interest. Business will begin with contracts signed with four clients.”

Co-operation with manufacturers of standardized components

Sverdlik added that while Sensorise produces smart machine components itself, it will also work with manufacturers of standardized components.

“Sensorise integrates sensor elements into normed machine components. The standard components have all the certification needed for that. Cord’s knowledge will be of huge help to us where that’s concerned since he’s been involved in integrating sensors for the last 10 years.”

Measurement data for smarter business decisions

Cord Winkelmann is optimistic about the future of the new firm. “The idea of establishing a company oriented towards Industry 4.0 in Germany came to us in mid-2018 when I went to Estonia to see for myself what Proekspert was all about. Smart machine components are highly compatible with existing machinery. The generated measurement data, in turn, needs to be processed into information that the customers need for their production and business processes. That’s what the specialists at Proekspert will be doing, and it’s thanks to their smarts that Sensorise will have such a strong starting point for its future.”

A patented solution sets apart from the fierce competition

Sverdlik admitted that there is fierce competition in the Industry 4.0 field.

“But we stand out from others because we offer a unique, patented solution for measuring static and semi-static loads on the machine components. Plus, Sensorise can provide retrofit solutions for old systems and factories, bringing them closer to Industry 4.0.”

Sverdlik says that the point of Industry 4.0 is to help companies avoid unexpected technical issues and equipment breakages that could bring operations to a halt. “And that could be for weeks at a time,” he warned. “Take a wind turbine out at sea, for example – if it breaks down, Sensorise smart machine components prevent damage from occurring that could run into millions of euros. Newer generators are a lot more powerful, and since we have no long-term experience with their durability, getting information in real time is important to operators and manufacturers. By way of comparison, look at cars: we’ve been making them for almost a hundred years, and that century of practical experience means virtually no one’s being left on the side of the road anymore because their car inexplicably breaks down.”

In describing Sensorise’s solutions, Winkelmann highlighted what sets them apart from the competition. “Schaeffler, SKF, and others are working in the same sort of areas, but the focus with Sensorise is on applications that monitor machines with slow or static motion, like conveyors. In addition, our patented smart screw provides exciting new opportunities for monitoring static structures like wind turbines where a lot of screws are subject to a mandatory monitoring obligation.”

Similar business cultures

Winkelmann added that in his opinion the business cultures of Estonia and Northern Germany share similarities.

“Perhaps it’s because we both were part of the Hanseatic League all those centuries ago. I really liked Proekspert’s company culture from the start, because it’s so open and international, and so it’s absolutely not about its managers. That’s one area German companies get bogged down in. But I think Sensorise will embody all those positive elements.”

Machinery as a target market

Target clients for the new company are manufacturers of wind turbines and operators of wind parks, companies in the timber industry, the mining industry (which utilizes large numbers of conveyors), builders and operators of LNG vessels, heavy industry (where there are large numbers of slow-moving bearings), and the automotive industry.

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