Context Nr1 Dec21 English

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LIFE! 00:59:35





AGENDA Electrification in our DNA


Innovation and sustainability AS PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING to focus once more on issues other than Covid-19, at least in Sweden, business optimism is increasing again – and industry demand is rising swifter than ever. Despite the supply shortages and transport bottlenecks the world is facing, I think it’s safe to say the economy is booming. For Consat’s different companies too, it’s full steam ahead. Our group is expanding, not just in terms of companies and employees, but also because we’re offering new solutions and services. Many of our clients have started to view sustainability as a permanent priority. In times like these, when the world is changing, they find themselves in need of innovative and creative solutions – which is right up Consat’s alley. Companies around the world are competing to develop solutions these days, though, so remaining innovative and proactive will be crucial for Consat’s competitiveness and appeal. We’re already doing a lot of good, which we should not be afraid to tell the world about. This autumn, for example, we will be joining the UN’s Global Compact for sustainability. However, we should be doing even more. I’ve been working in this sector for a while now, watching trends come and go – and seeing companies scramble to follow them to avoid looking passé. These days, sustainability, digitalisation and electrification are all the rage. Compared to previous trends, however, we’re not just seeing empty promises – real change is actually happening on many levels. Consat has of course been working with electrification for years already, designing everything from charging stations to electric vehicles. Several of our companies are developing IT systems to monitor chargers, make them more accessible and enable smart charging. The public transport sector is electrifying at a rapid pace – a development supported and made possible by Consat Telematics’ solutions. Electric buses, for example, are usually charged at night, in large depots. Thanks to the data we collect, we know the state of charge of each bus, the amount of energy they will need the next day, and when they should turn on their engine in the morning. This input helps

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us optimise the way we use bus chargers – so we don’t overburden the net, but still charge all vehicles in time to pick up passengers the next day. So far, 2021 has been a good year for Telematics, with many successful tender bids. We’re finally entering the Stockholm market and are gaining ground in Norway (especially in Oslo). Now that the pandemic is causing less trouble in Australia, we’ve resumed installations Down Under. We’ve also won a prestigious contract in British Columbia in western Canada, which means the sun will soon be shining 24/7 on our systems around the world! Consat Engineering is expanding with new colleagues and more projects. I’m always amazed by the way our work spans so many different areas – especially when we manage to combine several kinds of technology in a single project. Engineering has actually just reorganised its organisation, to get better at cross-sectoral projects. Traditionally, Engineering has always produced its solutions in Sweden, for customers abroad. Now, however, we’ve begun to partner with companies in other countries. We’ve started working with the Indian IT company Orahi, for example, which has fantastically skilled and passionate staff. Just like for Telematics, electrification is a growing business for Engineering. You could say we’re digitalising electri-

fication: we develop service and maintenance systems for chargers, and we enable what is basically ‘limitless roaming for electric vehicles’, by facilitating charging for customers and vehicle manufacturers (not to mention the companies that supply charging infrastructure!). We’re also doing exciting work to support battery manufacturers’ production development. Consat SES is another one of our companies that is expanding: its turnover for 2021 is set to be almost twice as high as last year! Clients have taken note of SES’ successful energy-efficiency projects and are lining up to place orders. The company still focuses on the Swedish market, but since a tip-off from Telematics, it’s also been considering projects in Norway. As many of you may already know, SES has started developing solutions to farm insects as an alternative source of protein. In October, it delivered its first system to the startup Tebrito, which has a factory in Orsa. Production will begin any day now – I can’t wait! Consat Data is moving in the right direction with its IT and telephony services. We’re particularly glad that Data’s staff now gets to share a new office in Stockholm with SES and Engineering. Consat Innovation Partner (CIP) is working on several exciting projects. The

first heat exchangers it designed for SES with the aid of Consat Engineering were recently installed at a client’s site (more on that in another article). Firms that excel at sales but don’t have the capacity to actually develop their own products are turning out to be an interesting target group for CIP. I’m incredibly pleased and proud of everything we’re achieving together here at Consat. With Jenny Fredér as our Marketing Manager, we’ve also become significantly better at communicating with existing (and potential) employees and clients. We were named one of Sweden’s 100 most attractive employers for the tenth year in a row – a feat no other Swedish company has ever managed. The jobs portal on our new website has won awards, and we’re more active on social media, with an increase in followers as a result. Expanding our reach on social media requires teamwork, though, so please like and share any post that catches your eye! No company is perfect. But I genuinely believe that Consat can make a difference with its innovative products and projects – that we can actively help make our world more sustainable. Martin Wahlgren Consat Group CEO, Consat AB

For many, this may be the first time you read ConText. ConText is the magazine that takes the time to tell in more detail about our innovative and challenging projects and not least what it is like to work at Consat. Our ambition is to use interesting articles and good visual material to describe and highlight in which contexts Consat operates. +46 31 340 00 00

Publisher: Martin Wahlgren Editor in Chief: Jenny Fredér Text Editor: Mattias Johnson Editing Assistant: Gabriella Wendt Design: Happy Camper Reklambyrå Graphic Design: Andreas Eklöf Print: Billes Tryckeri

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Ulrika Lin, Life Science Business Developer, is in charge of Consat’s new initiative in the field of medical technology and med-tech manufacturing.


VER THE YEARS Consat Engineering has worked on a range of projects with companies in the medical technology sector, with many of Consat’s employees working with related technology at clients. While the company has medical technology experience and know-how, life science is however a separate sector with its own specific needs and criteria. Consat needs to get better acquainted with the sector to be able to work in it. Which is why Consat Engineering has hired Ulrika Lin as its Life Science Business Developer. Lin’s mission is to strengthen Consat’s presence in the sector, develop and expand its expertise in specific areas, and make the company the go-to partner for medical technology firms that need help with product or production development. Lin joined Consat in the spring of 2021, leaving Alten, where she headed a team that was focused on life sciences. She has extensive and

broad-ranging experience in both project development and leadership. The road to heading Consat’s new life science initiative has been a multi-country journey. Let’s just say Ulrika has done and seen her fair share.

TRAVERSING THE WORLD As many others at Consat, Lin took the first steps of her technical career at a Swedish university. “I studied Mechanical Engineering in Luleå before joining SKF as a trainee,” Lin recounts. “Then I spotted an ad for a position at Ericsson Hewlett Packard Telecommunications (EHPT) that would allow me to travel. I was offered a contract and learned how to code on the job, so I could tailor EHPT’s

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apps to different international clients. I did a bit of Java programming, some C and a lot of scripting,” she remembers. “Our department had an ongoing ‘competition’ to see who had travelled to the most countries. I don’t think I ever won, though. I spent a few years in Greece and travelled to France, South Africa and the Balkans. Sticking to one time zone, really,” Lin says and laughs. “The job was so much fun! After moving around for a while, my husband and I moved to Switzerland, where we stayed for four years,” she goes on. “I did an MBA there and got a job as a Business Support Analyst at Orange. They used the same EHPT products I’d already worked with, so I helped develop and provided support for those applications at Orange. “When we had our first child, we decided to return to Sweden. I first went back to Ericsson, working in many different roles before applying to join Alten, where I became Team Lead for the company’s Embedded Systems unit. It was at Alten that my journey into life sciences took off,” Lin says.

EXPERIENCE OF THE SECTOR “I formed an inhouse group of 30-35 people at Alten that focused on medical devices and life sciences. We developed several fascinating med-tech devices, including a dosimeter to adjust medication levels – a single project and product that drew on broad-ranging expertise in mechanics, electronics and other fields. We needed to learn about all the different standards and brought together people with a wealth of different skills.” “But life sciences is a sector, and teams at consultancy firms tend to be skills-based rather than sector-based,” Lin warns. That disaccord turned out to be a problem at Alten, a major consultancy group. “All kinds of specialists work in the field of life sciences, from lab analysts to chemi-

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cal or biological engineers and validation technicians. Quality assurance is crucial, because there are so many standards that need to be respected, both during development and production. And there’s a whole different vocabulary, different terms. Finding an audience for these highly specialised skills outside of the field of life sciences isn’t always easy, which can be a problem for a consultancy firm,” Ulrika explains. “The problem was that the organisation, which formed teams based on skills, didn’t quite know what to do with my sector-based team. After endless rounds of discussions, Alten decided to break up the team and assign its members to other departments. At that point, I decided to look for other opportunities.”

THE PATH TO CONSAT “I already knew Ragnar (Hallgren) from Consat. He had given me a good impression of the company and I was looking for a job that was more closely related to the tech side of things. I really like Consat’s slogan ‘Passion about Technology’,” Ulrika enthuses. When she met with Orvar (Hurtig, CEO of Consat Engineering) and Ragnar, Consat expressed an interest in life sciences and asked Lin to head a new initiative. Lin sees plenty of opportunities for Consat to engage with the sector, given the company’s track record and the numerous potential clients and partners in and around Gothenburg and the rest of Sweden. “Gothenburg is already a life science hub because of Astra [Zeneca] and the startups at GoCo Health Innovation City. And a host of companies continue to develop [PerIngvar] Brånemark’s legacy of titanium implants and osseointegration,” Lin adds. “But we shouldn’t just limit ourselves to Gothenburg; there are plenty of life science companies in the Stockholm area too,” Lin says.

“Since joining Consat, I’ve mainly been reviewing and summarising what the company has already done in the field – which is actually a lot!”

“Since joining Consat, I’ve mainly been reviewing and summarising what the company has already done in the field – which is actually a lot! When I ask them about life sciences, many colleagues who’ve been with Consat for ages say ‘Oh, we don’t know anything about that, we’ve never done any of that.’ But we’ve worked with a long list of clients in the field, from Astra in Stockholm to Cochlear, Wellspect and Fresenius Kabi!” Lin laughs as she recounts the situation. “Like I said: I’m targeting a specific sector, which needs many different skillsets. I plan on forming a core team to handle the specific needs of the sector itself, but I’ll also be working to help Consat’s other skills-based departments access life science clients.” “I’ll be the proverbial glue that holds Consat’s life science initiative together. Naturally, I’ll start with the know-how we already have and established products like Consat’s vision system, CQV,” Ulrika adds.

OPPORTUNITIES APLENTY FOR CONSAT “I believe we should focus on three tracks right now,” Lin says. “First, we need to expand our operations in fields we’re already working in, like mechanics and production or CQV. Next, we need to establish our inhouse capacity to develop medical technology products. I’ll be looking to recruit someone who knows the relevant medical technology standards, to manage the project. Third, I want Consat to become a household name in the sector, make sure everyone knows we possess these skills and that our consultants are working with life science clients,” Lin sets out her strategy. “I also think there are a lot of opportunities for us to work with SES here, for example with clients who are struggling with the indoor environment of their production facilities,” Lin adds.

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HÅKAN TIMDAHL – Consat’s very own Gyro Gearloose 8 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021


Håkan Timdahl has worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer for Consat Engineering AB for more than 18 years. He is one of our long-time valued ‘Gyro Gearlooses’, whose inventiveness has led to seven product patents, among other feats. “I’ve tinkered with technology and innovation all my life, which is why I really enjoy working at a company where I get to indulge my passions,” Timdahl says.


IMDAHL JOINED CONSAT in 2003, after years of working as a Machine Designer in the consulting sector, including in the field of space engineering. Timdahl’s CV lists both a degree in Engineering and a teaching degree in Industrial Technology. Still at Consat today, he mainly works on special-purpose machines but is occasionally called in to assist with product development, given his background as a Tool Designer and his experience of tool-based manufacturing. The result? No less than seven patents for two different companies.

RESOURCEFULNESS RESULTING IN PATENTS Timdahl’s invention of various mechanisms and new functions for a hands-free paper dispenser led to four patents for a major hygiene & health firm. He also helped finetune a modular pallet system by one of the leading manufacturers of freight systems – the patent for several of the modules is in Timdahl’s name. The automated system consists of adjustable modules, which makes it easy and straightforward to construct either simple or advanced layouts to balance, buffer and position pallets. Several of the inventions that were patented are the result of Timdahl thinking outside the box: he himself calls his innate

inquisitiveness one of his key strengths in the workplace. “You’ve got to be resourceful and keep honing your technical expertise. That’s the thing with patents: you’ve got to come up with an idea no one has thought of before and that requires endless curiosity and ingenuity,” Timdahl explains.

CONSTANT CHALLENGES AT CONSAT While Timdahl has been having plenty of success as a Product Developer (to say the least!), he is happiest at the SpecialPurpose Machinery department where he works today. Timdahl would like to continue his journey at Consat; the company’s stimulating environment is one of the main reasons he has stayed for so many years – a decision he doesn’t plan on reversing any time soon. “No two working days are the same here. You get to shape your own role based on your preferences. I sometimes serve as Project Manager, for example, which lets me see what other departments are working on. Consat operates at a very high technical level. I like how the projects we take on always throw new challenges at me. Every problem we need to solve is a brainteaser we’ve never encountered before. That variation is one of the things I like best,” Håkan Timdahl concludes.

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CONSAT DATA’S TELEPHONY OPERATIONS EXPANDING SOUTH In 2017, Consat Data AB diversified its business and began to offer telephony services. Since then, the department has grown organically and focused on gradually becoming an established name in the market. Today, Consat Data is gearing up. It already has offices in Partille (outside of Gothenburg) and Stockholm. LAST SPRING, it hired Fredrik Bergström, who will be based in Malmö – thereby expanding Consat Data’s telephony operations to the south of Sweden. Bergström’s recruitment has proven to have been an excellent decision these past six months, and Pelle Märs, head of Consat’s telephony branch, is convinced it will continue generating positive results. “Few actors in Sweden today offer services as comprehensive as ours, with a switchboard connecting Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. But even more unique is the mentality we have at Consat. Practically every single person who works here enjoys their job. Consat is a great company to work for. I think that’s one of our most unique selling points: the fact that our staff thrives,” Märs says before continuing: “We think technology is fun. Very few companies that start out with just 10 to 12

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people and then grow to employ several hundred manage to retain that small-company mentality, that ‘us against the world’ feeling,” Märs says proudly.

STEADY GROWTH FOR CONSAT DATA TELEPHONY DEPARTMENT Four years ago, Pelle Märs suggested Consat expand its operations and start offering telephony services. The idea soon became a reality, which Märs ascribes to the timing being just right. Today, the department offers telephony and switchboard services, conference equipment, and signal amplification based on smart methods to improve indoor coverage. The goal for Consat’s innovative communications solutions is to strengthen productivity and give clients a sense of freedom. Märs emphasis that, as it expanded, the telephony department’s challenge has been to retain the Consat spirit and grow at a pace that allows the team to keep prioritising quality and expertise. “People often find themselves trapped in long-term, expensive contracts they don’t want to have, with operators who don’t care about them. That’s the polar opposite of what we represent and want to offer. When a client is happy, they’ll recommend you to others. That’s the best way for a company to grow,” Märs concludes.

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FOR DANIEL CRAIG’s first Bond movie Casino Royale, Consat developed a telematics system for Aston Martin’s Bond car, which of course we want to take advantage of and celebrate. On September 30, we were in Bergakungen’s VIP cinema, where we invited customers and suppliers to the premiere of the new Bond movie No Time to Die. Here you can see a selection of pictures from the fun and successful evening.

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Consat investing in

INSECT PROTEIN For almost a year now, Consat Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) has been working with the startup Tebrito AB to explore ways of using insects as an alternative, environmentally-friendly source of protein. Consat SES has helped Tebrito design a new factory and make its incubation cells more energy efficient, and will soon help the startup automate its production processes. AS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC CAUSED A SPIKE in global insecurity, Consat SES – which used to mainly focus on the property sector – began to look into new fields it could help make more energy efficient. Which is how the SES team stumbled across insect company Tebrito AB. Project Manager Thomas Gugger recounts how the partnership introduced the company to new challenges: “I’d never considered insects as sources of protein before, but thought the idea sounded exciting and cutting edge. I’m actually a Hardware & Software Engineer who’s mostly worked in the life sciences sector, but I’ve always felt a keen interest in the natural world around me and have always liked learning about new developments,” Gugger says. 14 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

“I’d never considered insects as sources of protein before, but thought the idea sounded exciting and cutting edge.” CONTEXT / #1/ 2021 15


“Tebrito’s idea is to turn its insects into a neutral-tasting protein powder, which can then be added to smoothies or protein bars or used to make meatballs and burgers.”

MEALWORMS: THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE With mealworm production, results stand or fall on the establishment of an optimal cultivation climate. Consat SES contributed with its knowledge of energy and production efficiency, which helped make the project financially viable and optimised production. Tebrito’s idea is to turn its insects into a neutral-tasting protein powder, which can then be added to smoothies or protein bars or used to make meatballs and burgers. In 2021, the European Union made mealworms the first insect to officially be classed as ‘food’ in the EU, thereby providing a real boost to startups like Tebrito. One of the main reasons why Consat SES decided to get involved in the project is the environment: mealworms require significantly less energy and water to produce than many other alternatives to meat. 1kg of edible protein from mealworms requires 2.5 cubic meters of water, while a 1kg of edible protein from a cow requires as much as 9700 cubic meters of water. “We want our business to actually serve a purpose. We’re not trying to develop a new technique just for the heck of it; we want to optimise processes that can make a difference in more ways than one. Twelve months into our partnership with Gothenburg-based RUAG Space, for example, we had cut our energy consumption by 10 million kWh, which is incredible. The same applies to insects: they have so much to offer. Not just to the customer or to ourselves, but to society at large and, eventually, the whole world,” Gugger enthuses.

RAMPING UP PRODUCTION FROM 1 TO 1,500 TONNES OF INSECTS Tebrito will move its production to a new address (still in Orsa) in October. Up until now, the startup has been producing a tonne of protein per year. The new factory, however, should be able to produce twelve times that amount. “The move will allow us to really ramp up production. And we’ll soon start designing a factory that will have the capacity to produce 60 tonnes during phase 2 and 200 tonnes during phase three. If all goes well, we’ll eventually move again to be able to produce 1,000 to 1,500 tonnes each year,” Gugger says before continuing: “We hope there’ll be production facilities across the country in the future. Today, roughly 95 percent of the larvae we produce are turned into an actual product. The remaining 5 percent are placed in incubators, where the larvae pupate and grow into mealworm beetles that mate and lay eggs. Then the next generation of mealworms is born. So the product kind of produces itself. All the factory really requires in terms of input is water, energy and vegetable waste. Almost all of the byproducts are put to use as well. The worms’ excretion or ‘frass’, for example, is a high-quality and practically odourless fertiliser. It’s fascinating when you compare it to how other factories work: they need to purchase huge amounts of resources just to get production going, only to be left with a mountain of waste and rubbish to try and get rid of. Insects are a fantastically sustainable alternative,” Thomas Gugger concludes.

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RECYCLER Creating a world-class, innovative product – from initial idea to actual device being produced – isn’t easy. But the Geiser™ greywater heat exchanger is yet another example of Consat knowing how to do just that.

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A NEED, AN INITIAL IDEA, underlying calculations, methodical testing of solutions, a design based on years of experience and ingenious creativity, smart project management, cooperation to ensure production is efficient: the Geiser™ greywater heat exchanger, which has just been installed at a client’s for the first time, is a textbook example of smart product development. And it is proof of Consat’s companies possessing plenty of creativity and know-how – enough to design innovative products without ever needing to turn to third parties for help! The Geiser™ heat exchanger is the brainchild of Consat Sustainable Energy System’s CEO, Ian Hostetter, who is always looking for ways to save resources and waste less energy. Hostetter looked at the products that were available on the market to recover energy from greywater (that is:

warm and relatively clean wastewater from showers and similar sources). He wasn’t impressed. Consat could do better, he thought. Much better. The task a greywater heat exchanger actually performs is so simple and self-evident, any improvement would have to be performance-related, resulting in flawless functioning and high efficiency. Basically, a greywater heat exchanger extracts energy from relatively warm wastewater and uses it to preheat the cold water a building’s boiler has to turn into hot water. It’s as simple as that – no pumps or other high-energy systems required. As a result, the boiler only has to heat up lukewarm rather than cold water, which is much less work. Pretty neat, right? The process works best in buildings where warm water is constantly being used and flushed down the drain almost

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT À LA CONSAT Consat is made up of several companies, each with their own orientation and know-how. They are all independent and tend to work on projects and products in their own niche. But being part of a group whose main watchword is ‘partnership’ means you only need to knock on your neighbour’s door if you need help pulling off a project that will require additional resources or skills your own company doesn’t quite specialise in. And since Consat works across so many different areas of expertise, there’s almost always a neighbour to turn to!

simultaneously – like in public swimming pools, where showers run practically non stop. Of course, the system does have its issues and there are some obstacles. There is a high marketing threshold, for one: you need to convince potential customers of the long-term benefits of separating hot shower wastewater (greywater) from cold, slower-flowing wastewater from toilets (blackwater) in places like swimming pools, large buildings and factories – quite an investment to enable energy savings. In new buildings, the decision to invest in a heat exchanger is relatively easy to justify. But most of the time, installing one requires major work to be done on buildings that were (re)built long before anyone ever even thought of turning wastewater into energy. The benefits of such a major overhaul have to be clear and quantifiable before clients will consider it. The product needs to really be worth it, in other words. In the end, Emil Brandt from Consat Innovation Partner was brought on board to reinvent the heat exchanger inhouse. 20 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

The Geiser™ greywater heat exchanger project is a perfect illustration of the process. Consat SES needed help developing a product, so it talked to Consat Innovation Partner, which specialises in innovative projects. The latter in turn brought in an experienced designer from Consat Engineering. Together, the three Consat companies were able to complete the project as efficiently and with as little ‘waste’ as the actual product they created. The fact that Consat is used to working with third parties to create products only contributed to the success of the venture. There was actually even a fourth partner involved: Consat’s internal Marketing department quickly and easily produced an instruction manual and advertising brochure for the product for Consat SES!

Emil Brandt at Consat Innovation Partner asked Martin Hogander from Consat Engineering to assist on the project. They put their (particularly clever) heads together to tackle its challenges. The project has come a long way already: the first heat exchangers have been installed at a client’s, brochures have been printed and the instruction manuals are ready to be handed out to users. And the product has been given a catchy name: Geiser. At first sound, the name might make you think of water leaks. But as soon as you see the water flow through the heat exchanger, it all makes sense – that’s when you realise how well the name fits. Just like every little detail of this Consat product. Because a great deal of thought went into Geiser™. “We tried to construct the heat exchanger in a way that would make it work in any situation. We wanted the product itself to have as few limitations as possible,” Emil Brandt says. Maximum efficiency, well thought-through production, the ability to have several units working in tandem, easy installation and maintenance, an internet connection to measure efficiency over time, etc. Every single aspect was taken into account. The design was also finetuned, with each prototype more compact and easier to manage than its predecessor.

FLEXIBLE AND INFINITUM The current design can easily be shortened, to create a less majestic version for buildings with lower ceilings. “It’s relatively easy for a client to order and for us to build a


Shower area 2

Shower area 1 Hot water

Cold water


Plumbing Geiser™

Geiser™ Cold water

Preheated cold water

Incoming cold water


Cold water


Water trap

HOW GEISER™ WORKS This drawing illustrates how two Geisers™ working in tandem can recover heat from water produced by 20 showers (regardless of whether they run simultaneously or not). Every Geiser™ has ten heatexchange tubes; roughly speaking, one tube can recycle water from one shower. Blackwater produced by a building’s toilets is kept separate from the greywater produced by showers. The heat of the showers’ greywater then preheats the cold water that the building’s boiler will eventually turn into hot water, which means significantly less energy is needed to achieve the same water temperature. The tops of both Geiser™ units are installed at the exact same height. Because the two-level units communicate with each other, the water in their tubes (which create a water trap) evenly flows into all of the tubes – which maximises the recovery of energy.

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“But as soon as you see

the water flow through the heat exchanger, it all makes sense – that’s when you realise how well the name fits.”

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Turning the initial sketches into an actual, finished product took a great deal of thinking, testing and tweaking. Cables and connections were moved around; the heat exchanger was initially placed on a stand; the team even worked on a bulkier, rectangular design for a while. Everything kept changing and improving with each test, discussion and ‘aha’ moment. All to get to the solution that exists today: a design that is more compact, lighter and easier to manufacture and maintain, not to mention better looking.

Geiser™ with shorter tubes. The basic design remains the same; it may be a little less efficient, but not much,” Brandt says. The heat exchanger can not only be shortened but lengthened too (which increases its efficiency ever so slightly), and an infinite number of units could in theory be installed alongside each other, to handle massive volumes. The materials used to make the heat exchanger can handle regular shower wastewater without any problem. More durable materials are needed for industrial facilities like slaughterhouses; in those cases, the inside of the tubes require a special coating. Brandt and Hogander believe Geiser™ would work anywhere a greywater heat exchanger might be needed. “One tube of the heat exchanger can handle one shower, give or take. Each Geiser™ has ten tubes, so one

unit can serve ten showers. When volumes are greater, we just install extra Geiser™ units,” Hogander explains.

COMPETITION “We do have a few competitors. Some of their products are unnecessarily complicated and require more than half a metre just to lead the water into the tubes, which then need to be shorter than ours even when the ceiling has the same height. Others are made from stainless steel, which has just a fraction of the heat conductivity of the copper we use. Many seem really hard to clean too,” Hogander lists.

TWO NUTS TO CRACK? MAKE THAT THREE From an engineering point of view, projects like this often require a small handful of crucial problems to be solved for the final product to be a suc-

cess. The same applied to Geiser™. “The two main challenges we struggled with were how to handle residue in the water – like hair or other bits that might be sucked down the drain – to prevent the heat exchanger from clogging up, and how to evenly divide the water flow between the ten tubes (or any multiple of ten, if we’re installing more than unit),” Hogander says. The first problem was solved through engineering ingenuity, common sense and repeated rounds of experimenting. We can’t say much more about the first part of the solution, however, because Consat filed a patent for it. Which is unfortunate, because it is an invention Hogander and Brandt are justifiably proud of. The second part of the solution, however, will be apparent to anyone with a basic understanding of physics and technology who sees Geiser™. CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 23


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“Basically, a greywater heat exchanger extracts energy from relatively warm wastewater and uses it to preheat the cold water a building’s boiler has to turn into hot water.”

Hogander explains: “The way things work is that the greywater enters the unit towards the bottom and then overflows at the top, which basically turns the entire unit into one big water trap once it’s filled. The greywater runs from the sewer line above down into Geiser™ and then up again; when Geiser™ is perfectly level, the water overflows and evenly divides itself between the ten tubes. The fact that the tubes are placed in a circle makes for a compact design and symmetrical inflow of water. The unit itself can easily be adjusted because of its three feet.” The fact that these three feet allow for quite a bit of upwards or downwards adjustment makes it easy to install several Geiser™ units next to each other irrespective of the slope of the floor: as communicating vessels, the tops of the units need to be at the exact same height, to let the greywater level out in all of the tubes, regardless of the number of units and regardless of whether any of them is disconnected. “We discussed filters at length, to see if they’d let us prevent hairballs and other residue from clogging up the tubes. We looked at one nifty solution after another, but in the end, we decided not to have any filter at all: we’d

simply prevent dirt from getting stuck and make it easy to get rid of any buildups that do occur. Still, Geiser™ is designed in such a way that a filter can be added if necessary,” Brandt adds. “If something does get stuck, we know where the build-up is and fix it with the backwash valve. Performance would go down if a tube got clogged up or coated with a biofilm, so we constantly measure the amount of energy that’s recovered as an indicator of when it’s time to clean the tubes,” he explains. The design is prepared for all kinds of scenarios; observing how Geiser™ works in practice at different premises will help Consat tailor cleaning routines. Brandt adds that a third aspect (which is actually related to the problem of how to handle dirt) factored heavily in the design process: efficiency. A heat exchanger only ‘works’ if it can demonstrate an extremely high level of efficiency. But handling dirt and maximising efficiency is exactly what Geiser™ excels at, thanks to the patentable part of its construction. (We’ll happily talk you through the entire design, but that bit will remain a secret!)

TESTING AND FINETUNING Designing the actual heat-exchange tubes that transmit the energy from

the greywater to the incoming cold water required a lot of thinking and experimenting. The final product had to be able to both deal with dirt and transmit energy in an optimal way – without being too difficult to manufacture. Any design that failed to meet all three criteria when submitted to practical tests was discarded. Yet again, Consat’s underlying philosophy of being brave enough to try and fail proved its worth. Brandt and Hogander carefully considered any idea that might lead to positive results; they tried out several ‘daring’ solutions, learning from their attempts as they went along. Ideas were logged and evaluated in a ‘test database’, with their precise level of efficiency calculated for different amounts of water. “We didn’t shy away from trying out things that might lead to something. We looked into using graphene as a coating, for example, to prevent things like hair from getting stuck, because it’s slick like PTFE. But it didn’t work because the surface became hydrophobic (water-repellent) instead,” Brandt says with a laugh. “What that test did do, however, was teach us how we could coat the inside of tubes of more than two metres – knowledge that might be useful

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“The materials used to make the heat exchanger can handle regular shower wastewater without any problem. More durable materials are needed for industrial facilities like slaughterhouses; in those cases, the inside of the tubes require a special coating.”

to us in the future,” he says. “We’ve been working together for such a long time we don’t need to sugarcoat things, we can explore anything in our discussions,” Brandt describes. Creating a maximum-efficiency heat exchanger for liquids of course depends on using materials that are good at conducting heat (Geiser™ uses copper, an excellent conductor) without being eroded by or contaminating the fluids it comes into touch with. More than anything, the flow needs to be directed through the material in an optimal way. If fluids flow along the material in a laminar way (swift and ‘parallel’), part of the volume will fail to give off/absorb sufficient thermal energy. The fluids need to swirl just enough and flow at just the right speed to work with the heat exchanger’s geometry and size. All without the device getting clogged up by microscopic residue in the 26 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

greywater. Which is not as easy as you might think. Hogander was able to solve this final yet crucial detail through endless experimenting, complex calculations and brainstorming sessions with Brandt. Because Consat has applied for a patent for the final result, however, we can’t reveal or show exactly how clever the heat-exchanging geometry of Geiser™ actually is. What we can say, is that the final product (the result of much experimenting) has an efficiency of approximately 70% with standard water flows, and is not difficult to produce nor features any narrow, complex passages that risk getting clogged up. A stunning feat of engineering genius, in other words! True to the spirit of Consat, the team never failed to consider how the heat exchanger would actually be produced, constructing and trying out

the machinery that would manufacture the tubes at the same time as they conducted their geometry tests.

SMART SOLUTIONS If you’re into tech and understand the basic principles of physics, you’ll enjoy discovering Geiser’s many clever solutions and details, plenty of which are not patented. Hogander and Brandt brainstormed and drew on their combined experience to come up with a design that works extremely well, is compact, easy to service and relatively simple to produce. And, even if we do say so ourselves, a beauty to look at. “We’d first planned to put the unit on a stand, but then realised we could skip the stand and make the heat exchanger ‘carry itself’ by having the tubes themselves serve as a stand instead. That’s also one of the reasons why it’s so easy to adjust the height,” Brandt explains.

“The top of our device, where the water gets diverted into the different tubes, measures just ten centimetres: some of our competitors require more than 50 centimetres to do the same, and then need to shorten the entire device to make up for the height of the ceiling, which affects performance,” Brandt proudly compares. “It would actually not be that hard to dismantle a Geiser™, even without specialist tools, to get it through the doors or up the stairs of a building,” Brandt considers. The product’s ‘greywater monitoring’ is a prime example of smart technology. As the illustration shows, the greywater inlet and the heat exchanger (or exchangers, if there are several) together form a water trap that ‘overflows’ at the top. This of course requires the inlets and outlets, which are also part of the water trap, to be able to handle stagnant water,

but that is a small price to pay to be able to fill X number of heat-exchange tubes with the exact same volume of greywater, at an optimal flow. The greywater flow through the heat exchanger can also easily be bypassed using the service valve; in the unlikely event that the heat exchanger does get completely clogged up, a spring-loaded valve automatically diverts the water past the unit. This basically guarantees that the heat exchanger won’t cause any issues for the drainage of wastewater. The heat-exchange tubes can easily be removed and taken apart to be serviced – or upgraded at some point, should Consat discover a revolutionising outer coating or a way to finetune the geometry even more. “To make installation simple and straightforward, all contact surfaces have been treated to make things fit without any adjustments. Everything

is sealed with O rings, no pipe dope here,” Hogander declares. To heat the incoming cold water that has to exit a building’s taps and shower heads as hot water, Brandt and Hogander were forced to add a non-return valve and dirt filters to the cold-water inlet, to prevent any water that’s been heated from being pressured back into the cold-water tubes. “We also considered galvanisation and oxidation, to prevent corrosion – we opted for stainless screws, for example, because electroplated ones with a zinc coating wouldn’t work,” Hogander explains.

HITTING THE BUDGET’S BULL’S EYE When Ian Hostetter ordered the heat exchanger from Brandt and Brandt brought in Hogander as the engineer, giving him more or less carte blanche to make the hundreds of design choices a project like this entails, they disCONTEXT / #1 / 2021 27

FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE USERS Andreas Eklöf at Consat’s Marketing department designed a user manual and advertising brochure for Geiser™ in cooperation with Hogander and Brandt. All necessary steps ahead of the product’s release. Eklöf used Hogander’s technical drawing in 3D to create a stylish and instructional 3D model, rendering it from various angles to explain in a pedagogical way how to install and service Geiser™. Even the marketing photographs were produced inhouse.

played another Consat value: trust. None of the team’s members broke this trust during the project, something Brandt and Hogander are very proud of. “I told Ian ‘this is what it will cost to develop the whole thing and this is what each unit will end up costing’. We managed to stick to the budget almost to the penny, including tests and development of production methods, which we hadn’t factored in from the start,” Brandt recalls.

CONNECTED Geiser™ comes equipped with a standard meter (the grey box with a display shown on the photos) that can measure any increase in temperature of the incoming cold water. The meter is connected to the internet, so both Consat and the client can view its measurements online. Monitoring energy input this way generates statistics on how much energy is saved and will also eventually signal when it is time to clean the heat exchanger. Consat will keep a close eye on the first Geiser™ units from the moment they are switched on. “Should we see less energy being generated, we can let clients know it’s time to clean the units,” Hogander clarifies. 28 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

“We could actually use Consat’s new IoT platform; then a Geiser™ app on clients’ phones could show clients how much energy they’re saving and send them maintenance notifications,” Brandt considers. “We know we’ve created a fantastic product – so we’re unafraid to show clients its exact results in real time, which we’ve actually not seen any of our competitors do,” he adds.

PRODUCTION As mentioned previously, Hogander and Brandt kept production and maintenance in mind while they were developing Geiser™. The heat exchanger is designed in a way that facilitates production, which of course affects the product’s price. Consat contacted several manufacturers, to set up a flexible and efficient production line. “We got in touch with both bigger and smaller suppliers during the project. In the end, we picked a supplier who listened to what we said, but also chipped in with their own expertise. They worked on [the project] with us, as a partner. We even changed certain dimensions, so they would be able to produce everything themselves, using machinery they already have,” Brandt shares. “Cooperation is always the key to success for projects like this. We don’t see them as ‘just a supplier’, we see them as a business partner,” he emphasises. “Once again, cooperation and trust are key. Ian trusted me, I trusted Martin, and the two of us in turn trusted our manufacturing partner. This allowed us to take swift decisions without incurring any additional costs. The result is the best greywater heat exchanger in the world!” Brandt bursts out laughing.

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ONE PROJECT, TWO REVOLUTIONS Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), Consat Engineering now offers smart digitalisation solutions that can meet practically any need. A new system it has developed for a Scandinavian client to support EV chargers combines digitalisation and electrification. 30 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

FROM PRODUCT TO SERVICE We live in an era of technological revolutions. And the two most revolutionising transformations taking place in tech today, are electrification and digitalisation – connecting devices to the so-called Internet of Things, or IoT. Electrification (a revolution happening faster than most people predicted) is mainly taking place in the transport sector, where electricity is replacing internal combustion engines. Both revolutions will drastically change the lives of people around the world – including engineers! The end goal is using more environmentally-friendly resources, in a smarter way – a necessity in a world that will soon face major climate changes and social unrest caused by a lack of resources. But electrification and digitalisation will also transform the way companies do business. Ever more sectors are making the shift from selling things/hardware to selling what these products actually do.

Companies will increasingly sell services rather than the products that perform these services. Digitalisation is the key to doing so: connecting a product to the internet allows it to be monitored and managed remotely. Much like the ever-available internet ‘superpowered’ mankind’s knowledge, a digitalised and connected industry and hardware sector will be a lot smarter, more resource-efficient and powerful than its offline predecessor. The survival of companies that used to simply sell products will depend on whether or not they manage to pull off this transition in time. This trend is also an ever more important part of the work of Consat Engineering’s Connected department: it is racing to develop solutions that will let customers connect their products to the internet and enter the modern, service-based world of tech. An entry Consat Engineering wants to make as swift and painless as possible.


Jonas Valkonen (left), Thomas Gyllin and Ragnar Hallgren (right) are in charge of Consat Engineering’s digitalisation efforts, including this charger-monitoring project.


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“The parts of the system that are tailored to the client are custom designed, but we combine these with a standard foundation that is both scalable and affordable – the perfect mix of power, cost-effectiveness and bespoke sophistication.”

AN IOT PLATFORM To be able to offer all clients, regardless of their size, the opportunity to swiftly and flexibly digitalise their products in a scalable way, from manufacturing equipment to consumer goods and household appliances – we need flexible and dependable software that can serve as the central information node of an entire network, a kind of data manager for the entire IoT. This software has to work for any kind of device: connecting anything from 200 woodburning stoves to 30,000 EV chargers to the internet. A digitalised platform like that would be based in the cloud, constantly communicating with all its units to gather data and manage their various functions, while giving users access to a customised interface on their computers, tablets and smartphones. Ragnar Hallgren, Head of the Connected department at Consat Engineering, called on Jonas Valkonen and Thomas Gyllin to help him develop solutions for this new IoT platform. “To quickly develop a cost-effective solution and simultaneously assure the quality of our work, we decided to base ourselves on an existing platform,” Hallgren says.

“By establishing a link between the platform and our clients’ (hardware) units on one end, and designing smart and easy-touse interfaces on the other end that are tailored to our clients’ needs and wishes, we can digitalise a client’s existing or even future infrastructure in very little time,” he explains. “The parts of the system that are tailored to the client are custom designed, but we combine these with a standard foundation that is both scalable and affordable – the perfect mix of power, cost-effectiveness and bespoke sophistication.”

PLENTY OF PROJECTS Connected’s IoT platform features both readymade solutions and solutions developed on a project basis. Consat’s CQV vision system, for example, is now available as a connected service, with all the advantages that entails. The department is also working on a similar solution, for an electricity supplier looking to connect its hardware to the internet. “The idea is that we’ll be able to use our IoT platform for practically anything, really. The response has been incredible! The combination of our extensive expertise and the platform’s tailored functionality appears to be a real hit,” Hallgren says with a smile. Consat is also working to connect a global HVAC firm’s systems to the internet. Smart digitalisation will drastically improve maintenance and control of equipment for that client – and create opportunities to sell thermal comfort as a service. “We’re actually working with [Consat] Telematics on that particular project, using their vehicle-focused telematics hardware and software and modifying it with their help,” Hallgren says. “Telematics’ platform transmits real-time data from the client’s

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management unit to our platform, where it’s stored, processed and analysed so it can be presented to the client,” he explains.

A TIMELY PROJECT A well-functioning IoT platform and an increasingly electrified transport sector, with all that that entails in terms of infrastructure – could those two things be connected? A question Orvar Hurtig, CEO of Consat Engineering, brought up a year or so ago, when he talked with his counterparts at Wennström – a Swedish company that dominates the petrol station service market and that is now expanding into EV charger maintenance. Just like filling stations turn to Wennström to be able to sell petrol without a hitch, electricity suppliers want to sell electricity to owners of electric cars without having to deal with broken charging stations. Because drivers of electric cars can be a stressed species, since they are so dependent on fully operational, fast chargers being available in the right place. So Hurtig got the ball rolling. Ragnar Hallgren was put in charge, with Valkonen and Gyllin joining in. At the time of writing (September 2021), Connected’s project – which the department started working on in the spring of 2021 – had already entered the testing phase. Valkonen owns an electric car himself, so he is well acquainted with the challenge of trying to find a charger that actually works: “If you drive an electric car, you plan when and where to charge your car to be able to drive for as long as possible. But it’s not unusual to get to a charging station and find a hastily scribbled note on the only charger not in use, informing you that the charger is out of order and that the problem will be solved ’as soon as possible’,” he relates. “When you’re standing there with just 20% left in your car’s battery and you check the supplier’s app, it might tell you the charger is down – or it might not. And that’s of course incredibly frustrating. ‘Queue stress’ and ‘charging stress’ are actually commonly used words in Norway, where more people drive electric cars,” Valkonen laughs. But 24/7 monitoring of chargers by an alert service provider could make these dreaded notes a thing of the past. The challenge (which Wennström has hired Consat to tackle) is how to digitalise chargers by different manufacturers and how to give all of these manufacturers the info they need to keep all chargers up and running, fixing any broken ones as fast as possible. “Service providers should be able to contract Wennström to keep their chargers working 24/7. Connecting the chargers to the internet and to our system should tell Wennström’s technicians exactly what the problem is, even before they’re heading out,” Valkonen explains. No more notes telling drivers a charger is down, in other words! 34 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

“Our system should let a charge point operator like Wennström help suppliers avoid downtime entirely, to make charging a stress-free experience for users,” Hallgren chips in. “The goal is for Wennström to connect all of its chargers to our system. We’re cooperating closely to achieve that, basically co-managing the project together,” Valkonen says.

THE TOWER OF BABEL “You would think charging an electric car wasn’t hard. And yes, using the actual charger isn’t difficult. But there’s also the vehicle itself, which is extremely complex and needs to manage the charging process, as well as complex electricity grid. So in technical terms, it’s not as straightforward as you might think,” Valkonen explains. Even though EV chargers are relatively simple devices that are all connected [to the internet] these days, it’s still tricky to get chargers made by different manufacturers to communicate with each other and be part of a single system. “There is a standard, created by a handful of big players, for what and how chargers can communicate. It’s called the OCPP protocol. But different manufacturers implement different parts of it,” Valkonen says. “That makes things harder for us and forces us to find workarounds.”

STREAMLINING COMMUNICATION Electrification is still in its infancy. As is usually the case with emerging sectors, many players are vying for prominence and certain issues and regulations aren’t entirely set in stone yet. The OCPP communication protocol is meant to promote the connectivity and digitalisation of all chargers that belong the suppliers in the Open Charge Alliance, but not everyone interprets the protocol in the same way or implements all parts of it. Which of course makes communication somewhat of an


“Our system should let a charge point operator like Wennström help suppliers avoid downtime entirely, to make charging a stress-free experience for users.”

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The interface to the platform

“The challenge is to create a system that is compatible with chargers from all those different manufacturers. Our mission is to bridge that gap.”

36 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

issue when you’re working to streamline the monitoring and management of countless different chargers made by a whole host of manufacturers. “I did a bit of research a few years ago to determine how many players there actually are in the market. It turned out there were more than a hundred – all of whom might interpret the OCPP standard in a slightly different way. So if you want to operate a single network, you’ve got your work cut out for you,” Valkonen warns. “We’ve noticed that different manufacturers interpret the standard in different ways,” Thomas Gyllin nods along. “The challenge is to create a system that is compatible with chargers from all those different manufacturers. Our mission is to bridge that gap,” he says. “The OCPP is a rather straightforward protocol, but there’s still scope for interpretation; as a manufacturer, you can opt to not implement the entire protocol. Some manufacturers sell smart


The interface to the platform

The interface to the platform

chargers equipped with the manufacturer’s own monitoring system. But sometimes they only implement those parts of the protocol they feel they themselves need,” Gyllin continues. “Manufacturer can certify their chargers to prove they follow the protocol, which is a good thing. But many don’t – which means we still have to conduct tests and tweak our system.” The fact that Consat’s system puts pressure on manufacturers to share useful information and respect the OCPP benefits the entire sector. Because downtime will be shorter and customers will be more satisfied if chargers manage to clearly signal what the problem is, so they can swiftly be fixed. “We also want the system to provide clients with information, telling them which chargers work best, for example, which can help them decide which ones to purchase going forward,” Hallgren shares. “In terms of charging, one of the most interesting features we’ve looked at is evening out the pressure that is put on the grid. Because when you own a charging station, you pay for your maximum usage. If you manage to alternate between different chargers when tapping into the grid – thus lowering the maximum amount of power you’re drawing at any one time – you can save money. We’re planning on offering that feature irrespective of what brand a charger has. You could even factor the pressure other consumers put on the grid into the equation,” Valkonen and Hallgren reveal. “Long story short, smart digitalisation and electrification are both a business opportunity and an important piece of the environmental puzzle – which matters to us, because Consat wants to invest in solutions that help protect the planet,” Valkonen concludes.

The interface to the platform

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Consat and the UN’s 2030 Agenda

WORKING TOWARDS THE SAME GOALS In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution with a long list of goals to make the world fairer and more sustainable. These goals, which expire in 2030, represent the international community’s determination to do better and reduce its environmental footprint. It just so happens that Consat’s products, values and approach to cooperation are in line with these global efforts. ON THE 25TH OF SEPTEMBER 2015, the UN’s General Assembly adopted an ambitious resolution known as ‘the 2030 Agenda’. It embodies the political commitment of countries around the world to transform, become sustainable and advance social justice. The goal is for poverty and hunger to be abolished, women and men to enjoy equal status and opportunities, and countries and industries to use the earth’s resources in a sustainable way – all by 2030. Big words, perhaps. But change needs to start somewhere.

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Reading the resolution and looking at Consat’s work, you’re suddenly struck by how much of what the company does actually relates to sustainability, and how our corporate culture, which sets great store by equality and cooperation, is in line with the goals of the UN – a fact that’s easy to forget when you actually work for Consat. Which is why we wrote this article, asking managers and employees at Consat’s companies to share their take on sustainability and list a few examples of things we do that contribute to the 2030 Agenda.


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Put Words Into Action

Martin Wahlgren CEO, Consat AB

MARTIN WAHLGREN IS CEO of the entire Consat AB group. He illustrates both Consat’s journey as a company towards projects and products that help make society more sustainable, and our own journey of learning to put those efforts into words and sharing them with the world. “Of course, we’d considered the environment and sustainability before. But I think it was Orvar [Hurtig, CEO of Consat Engineering] who really made me reconsider these issues when he joined us,” Wahlgren recalls. “Looking at things from an outside perspective, he noted how a lot of what we do is actually aligned with efforts by modernday society and the UN to create a better, more sustainable world – and he was surprised we weren’t talking more about that,” Wahlgren continues.

Co-workers at Consat


Consat taking on more and more environment-centric projects reflects both a general shift in society (characterised by trends like electrified transport, environmentally-friendly technology and production, and smarter travel) and Consat’s own desire to help accelerate that shift. Wahlgren sees the radical way in which society is changing as more of an opportunity than a problem. “All shifts bring new business opportunities with them. This one too will offer plenty of opportunities to agile, fast-acting companies,” he says, firm in his belief.

TURNING WORDS INTO DEEDS But knowing something and actually doing it, not to mention telling others about it, are not the same thing. Here, Wahlgren is less self-assured.

JOAKIM SÄLLBERG To what extent does the environment factor into your work? How do you feel about technology versus the environment, and how do you think you can make a difference in your role at Consat? The environment and sustainability are really important to me. Even though I don’t have any data to back up my claim, I would argue that Consat makes public transport

“We haven’t always done the best job of showing or telling others about the social benefits of what we do. We tend to ramble on about the nerdy technological details of complex projects and forget to feel proud of the difference our project makes for society,” he admits. “But the UN’s 2030 Agenda really inspired us; we’ll be signing the Global Compact later this year. Of course we should care about the environment and the ‘softer’ aspects of the UN’s climate goals. That kind of long-term thinking is exactly what Consat stands for. I think we should actually be telling the world about our commitment and the things we do,” Wahlgren says. He cites a range of Consat projects and products: a world-leading telematics system for public transport that is enthusiastically being adopted across the world, a

a more attractive and user-friendly option for travellers, which in turn helps convince more people to travel by public transport rather than car. With so many vehicles around the world that uses Consat’s system, we’re talking about a large number of people that are affected – so we’ve got the potential to indirectly make a

rather significant impact. It’s also good that people have been able to work from home (even if only part-time), as less commuting reduces emissions. It would be nice to take on more projects that make a difference for the environment, actually.

How can the technology we create help protect the planet? Since we work in several sustainability-related fields, I’d say Consat is doing rather well compared to other companies. We need to carefully monitor our overall impact, though, so improvements in one area don’t

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“The 2030 Agenda is based on a spirit of cooperation and fundamental humane values like equality – both of which closely reflect Consat’s own ideology and methods.”

come at the expense of another. Lifecycle analysis and researching the impact of different technologies could help us do that – maybe a good project for a grad student? That kind of knowledge would make it easier to know whether what we’re doing is actually making a difference!

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‘super smart’ heat exchanger, factories that farm insects for the piscicultural sector, vehicle electrification, biodegradable plastic, the streamlining of production lines … All good investments that simultaneously help make the world a better place. The 2030 Agenda is based on a spirit of cooperation and fundamental humane values like equality – both of which closely reflect Consat’s own ideology and methods. “We’ve seen cooperation, whether internal or external, as the way forward for years. We helped found Netgroup, for example, joining several other competing subcontractors to the vehicle industry to become a single big supplier, realising we’d be stronger and wield greater clout together,” Wahlgren explains. He also believes that the 2030 Agenda’s goal of having women and men and people from different cultures be treated equally is fully in line with Consat’s corporate philosophy. Diversity enriches any workplace, and tech is for everyone! “But we can’t sit back and relax just because we’re doing relatively well in some areas. We need to challenge ourselves and do even better, step by step. I think we can make an especially significant difference by offering our clients even more sustainable solutions,” Wahlgren says with determination.

But the entire world is basically not performing as well as it should climate-wise. We’ll pay a high price as a result. I think we could do much more in that area. We should have a clear vision of when and how to become climate-neutral ourselves, for example by minimising our own footprint and compensating for our

remaining impact through green investments and projects. I’ve actually been wondering whether we could create an internal climate working group – something like ‘the Consat Climate Group’ – to make our company more sustainable. I would happily contribute to a group like that. I think it would actually make more people



talks about why Consat will ’benefit’ from a distinct climate-profile JENNY FREDÉR IS CONSAT AB’S MARKETING DIRECTOR. She manages the group’s external communication and is intensely involved in its internal communication, taking care of everything from Consat’s website and marketing material to trade fairs and events – even the magazine you’re holding right now. She’s got quite a few strings to her bow. “Consat already contributes to the 2030 Agenda’s Global Goals. We want to incorporate that fact into our communication, show that the services we offer and the products we create actually make our planet more sustainable every single day,” Fredér explains. “Our aim is to eventually become climate neutral. We’re drafting a plan to make that happen, setting ourselves major annual targets. Dedicated staff members who are themselves passionate about these issues are part of these efforts. Younger generations in particular really expect a company to have a sustainability plan (and implement it, of course). But we won’t be able to change society overnight. Greta Thunberg keeps saying the world isn’t acting fast enough, which I agree with. But I think the key is to just do something, one thing, every day to reduce our footprint,” Fredér continues. “I also think it’s crucial to educate people and raise awareness. As a company – especially one with our technological know-how and our expertise in developing valuable ecosystems – we have the power to make a real difference around the world. And, of course, it would be great if we had unlimited resources. But we should do what we can with what we have, setting achievable targets for Consat to help build a sustainable planet, both for mankind today and for future generations,” Fredér ends.

want to work at Consat. Especially young people, because they tend to be more invested in climate issues. In my private life, I try to do what I can for the climate. I take public transport to work and refuse to buy a car that runs on fossil fuels; I’ll wait until I can find a reasonably priced

electric car instead. I try to eat less meat and other foods that aren’t great for the environment, and work for a climate startup in my spare time. But I feel like many people don’t care about the environment as much as I do, which is why I’ve been thinking that maybe we could have breakfast lectures at work that inspire us to

contribute in whichever way we can, both at work and during our spare time, with plenty of suggestions on how to do our part as individuals.


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Doing Good Helps Us Do Well CONSAT SUSTAINABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS (SES) has made a real name for itself in the sustainability sector, with its projects helping clients reduce their energy consumption by as much as 50%. Of all the Consat companies, SES is obviously the one that contributes most directly to many of the Global Goals. Because eradicating hunger, promoting health and making the shift to sustainable consumption and sustainable production and consumption of energy are SES’ underlying goals. Few things are a more apt reflection of today’s world than a tech company working towards the same goals as social activists and environmentalists, and visibly delivering positive results as it does so.

EXPANDING TO BE ABLE TO DO MORE Ian Hostetter CEO, Consat Sustainable Energy Systems

Co-workers at Consat


Ian Hostetter, CEO of Consat SES, believes we should move on from the outdated, black-and-white distinction between ‘evil’ industrial polluters and ‘good’ climate warriors. Just like climate advocates, he works to make consumption more sustainable, and the company he heads has a demonstrably positive impact on the planet – something that just so happens to be good for business. “Our beliefs are one of the main reasons we want to expand, because the bigger we are (and our turnover is set to double this year), the more of an impact we can make,” Hostetter says.

PELLE MÄRS To what extent does the environment factor into your work? How do you feel about technology versus the environment, and how do you think you can make a difference in your role at Consat? I think it’s important for us to develop useful technologies that will help people meet and communicate without affecting the environment, as is the case with unnecessary business trips.


“Our beliefs are one of the main reasons we want to expand, because the bigger we are (and our turnover is set to double this year), the more of an impact we can make.”

“Our team now has eight or nine members – enough to let us expand at a faster pace. If someone other than me can train new recruits, for example, and I can focus on my own work instead, we can accelerate our expansion,” he explains. “And of course I want SES to grow, but not for economic reasons. It’s because expansion will let us do more and do better. It’s how we use the money we earn that really matters,” Hostetter emphasises.

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE “We consistently say no to projects that won’t add value. Signing a maintenance deal that forces you to replace [ventilation] filters won’t do a lot of good, for example. We don’t engage in activities or operations that don’t result in maximum benefits or lead us in the right direction,” Hostetter says. The pandemic and the massive impact it had on the corporate sector made Hostetter reflect on what SES was doing. He realised the company needed to work with a more diverse range of issues. “If you’re only doing one thing in one field, your success will be tied to a small group of clients. Diversifying makes you less vulnerable to external ups and downs.” The question was which field to expand into. Once again, ideo-

How can the technology we create help protect the planet? By always remaining at the forefront of developments in communications (both in terms of sound and image), we develop the expertise we need to help our clients and others communicate in ways that are as sustainable

as possible. Our knowledge of technology and the way it can help protect the environment is one of our contributions to society’s sustainability efforts.


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logy factored into the decision just as much as money did. “I reasoned as follows,” Hostetter starts. “If SES is going to apply its know-how to a new field, would it make sense to use our expertise in energy and construction to work with certain industries? If so, which industry would we be able to help become bigger and better – the manufacturing or consumption industry? The fact that our world associates success and happiness with consumption is a problem in and of itself, something we need to address. If we don’t first change that way of thinking, any increase in efficiency elsewhere will only lead to greater consumption. Having everything you need should be enough. When we have everything, we should optimise those things to put less pressure on the planet. But that’s a hard line to sell, of course,” Hostetter sighs. “Energy and clean water will be mankind’s main bottlenecks in the next two centuries. Remember that water is the source of all of our food. So as we were considering areas to expand into, ways of diversifying ahead of the future, we chose to look at an issue related to water: food,” Hostetter reveals. “The way we consume food these days isn’t sustainable. Our monoculture-farming approach to food isn’t sustainable,” he warns. It was this realisation that made SES turn to insects.

PART OF A MOVEMENT “As we analysed the food industry and ways to contribute, we didn’t look at the actors making the most money. Instead, we looked at those we wanted to help become a success. We prefer working with clients that share our agenda. Together, we can form a movement, outrival those who aren’t prepared to move this world in the right direction,” Hostetter says with a clear sense of pride. With that goal in mind, SES decided to partner with Tebrito, a startup that farms mealworms to be used as industrial fish food, for example, or as a source of protein in animal feed or an ingredient in food for human consumption. The fact that farming mealworms emits extremely low levels of CO2 and has a minimal impact on the environment makes the insects an even more interesting alternative source of protein. Their excretion is also an excellent fertiliser – yet another plus. SES employed its know-how to help the startup farm mealworms on an industrial scale, with industrial precision. The result will be reasonably sized, ready-to-operate factories that farm mealworms in a streamlined and resource-efficient way, close to customers (like fish farms). “Farming fish, feeding salmon with what is basically crap, and pouring buckets of antibiotics into the water to force fish to survive even as they’re packed together is not sustainable, in more ways than one. The same applies to poultry or pig farms. Since the piscicultural sector isn’t as tightly regulated as the meat industry, changing it by improving fodder can make a huge difference,” Hostetter explains. “One of SES’ key strengths is the fact that we are largely driven by beliefs, by our desire to do good,” he continues. And that fosters loyalty. Some of Hostetter’s employees expressly chose to work at SES for that very reason (that, and the fact that they get to work with cutting-edge technology and solutions, of course).


46 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

of varying degrees. Unfortunately, our company reflects society when it comes to that part.

To what extent does the environment factor into your work? How do you feel about technology versus the environment, and how do you think you can make a difference in your role at Consat?

I can make a difference by my choice of transportation to work. My plan is to buy an electric car next time.

I think we should start by just trying to get everyone at Consat on board. I have noticed that there are quite a few in society who are climate skeptics

We should work more from home. Distance to the office and also the customer, in my case, Digital Metal in Höganäs. But the trips to the customer

“The way we consume food these days isn’t sustainable. Our monoculture-farming approach to food isn’t sustainable.”

also depend a lot on whether they will ”require” my presence. I myself am highly aware of the climate and our impact on it. I already do quite a lot to reduce my footprint, but I could do more. How can the technology we create help protect the planet?

It depends a lot on what you work with. Consat SES makes a big difference, for example. My work at Digital Metal with 3D printers could also make a difference, because it might take less resources to produce a prototype with ‘our’ 3D printer than it does using traditional methods.

Trips: fewer, using the right kind of transport. Could we do more with ‘green’ tech and ‘green’ companies? The customer has often set guidelines, but we can always try to think ”green” when it comes to life cycle analysis and see if we have chosen the right technology. CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 47


Co-workers at Consat


OLIVIA KRAKAU To what extent does the environment factor into your work? How do you feel about technology versus the environment, and how do you think you can make a difference in your role at Consat? The environment is the driving force behind my work. I constantly consider different options, comparing them in terms of lifecycle and energy efficiency. Energy effi-



Digitalisation as a Global Opportunity IF YOU ASK ORVAR HURTIG, CEO OF CONSAT ENGINEERING, which technological trend he believes is most important for both Consat and the world we live in, the answer you’ll get is ‘digitalisation’. By ‘digitalisation’, we mean connecting ever more technical devices – from biometric watches and production equipment to household appliances, cars and entire homes, even – to the internet to manage and process information in smart ways. The basic idea is that having more information and the right information at all times enables you to more or less automatically manage and use finite resources in a more efficient way. As long as we play our cards right, digitalisation and electrification (two parallel trends that are transforming society) have the power to make society much more sustainable, Hurtig believes. “If we can make complex information easier to understand and present it to users in a simpler way, they’ll take smarter decisions,” he explains. “Many years ago, I was standing in the kitchen with my daughter. We’d just had a display installed that was connected to the smart energy meter in our house. As my daughter toasted a slice of bread, we could see our energy usage spike on the display. Surprised, my daughter asked what had happened. ‘You put some bread in the toaster, which uses a lot of electricity,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘then I’ll ask if I can toast your bread at the same time next time, daddy,’” Hurtig recalls.

ciency is important for the construction and property sector because some buildings will be around for well over a century. In the future, most of us will dwell in buildings that have already been built today. Building new structures requires resources like energy and materials. In spite of modern building standards, many

new buildings aren’t as energy efficient as they could be. As a certified passive house expert, I know we can do better! We should focus on two things in the construction sector: making existing buildings more energy efficient and building passive structures when we’re forced to build something new. Consat SES does one

Orvar Hurtig CEO, Consat Engineering AB

of those things (and it does so well). One a more general level, I think society should focus on solving the big questions. Like fossil-free production of electricity, putting a high price on CO2 emissions and signing deals with other countries to reduce our global impact on the planet.

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 49


“Soon, everything will be connected to the internet. Collecting data, processing it in a useful way and informing users of the result keeps teaching us things.”

“Smart means using your knowledge and abilities in the best possible way. A smart city, for example, is a city that helps its residents take smart decisions. Consider transport. We want to be able to make smart decisions in real time, picking the right mode of transport here and now. But we also want to smartly decide to build the right long-term infrastructure. To be able to do so, we need facts and the ability to simultaneously consider a range of factors. My decision on how to travel into work in the morning depends on variables like how my trip will affect the environment, what it costs, what the weather is like, what time it is, whether I risk being late, etcetera. My mind runs through all of these factors, but I still take the car, because too many of the variables I use as input are uncertain. Consat successfully supplies the input, algorithms and visualisation required to track all the buses in public transport networks of cities around the world. Together with our clients and partners, we want to create the best possible conditions to make smart decisions and, by extension, a sustainable world,” Hurtig says. “We’ve been talking digitalisation for almost two decades, even though it’s really

How can the technology we create help protect the planet? We can contribute by coming up with clever solutions that allow us to save energy and resources. Our projects take the bigger picture into account. We’ll avoid putting in a brand-new ventilation unit to replace an old one,

50 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

only a continuation of technological developments starting back in the fifties. We’ve got faster computers these days, our gadgets are smarter, the sensors and actuators we use are much better and cheaper, and we’ve got broadband almost anywhere. All of this facilitates digitalisation. We already had all of these things 15 or 20 years ago, but they’ve become much cheaper and better. Even more importantly, we’ve got much more knowledge these days, which is why we’ve now reached the point where things are really gaining speed,” Hurtig explains. “Soon, everything will be connected to the internet. Collecting data, processing it in a useful way and informing users of the result keeps teaching us things. It’s a fantastic opportunity. But for many people, it has only made life a lot more complicated so far. Which is why we need to start small, but plan big,” Hurtig warns. “As for the 2030 Agenda, having much better insight into the data we collect will help us achieve the Global Goals in much smarter ways. There are so many examples of better ways we could be using the planet’s resources. On a personal level (like when I look at what my biometric watch is telling me so I can make decisions that are good for my health), on a household level

for example. Instead, we’ll analyse the air flow and duct systems, and conclude that the best solution might be to connect the existing ventilation ducts to a single, shared unit with rotating heat exchangers, for example. We think outside the box and try to look at the building and the surrounding area as a whole. It’s just a tiny

step along the long road we need to walk to make society more sustainable, but it’s still something.

and in entire industries. Knowing more lets us quickly make the right decisions, which means we no longer need to waste resources just to be on the safe side,” Hurtig enthuses. “Using our resources in much smarter ways. That’s exactly what it’s all about, really,” he summarises

A MAJOR OPPORTUNITY IN MANY WAYS “For the majority of our customers, digitalisation is both a major opportunity and a major threat. I daresay most people either don’t understand how things will change, or have a poor understanding of it,” Hurtig says. “Digitalisation will be a huge business opportunity for companies like Consat in the next 20 years, because we understand digitalisation and know how it’s impacting manufacturing,” he continues. “For me, it’s largely about new business models. Digitalisation is not so much about technological solutions (which aren’t that complex) as it is about understanding how to do business and what kind of know-how it requires,” Hurtig explains. He believes the main opportunity for Consat [Engineering] lies in helping other, mostly smaller, companies digitalise their


CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 51


Co-workers at Consat


DILIP KUMAR To what extent does the environment factor into your work? How do you feel about technology versus the environment, and how do you think you can make a difference in your role at Consat? I’ve always been passionate about technology, but I also believe designing and maintaining technology shouldn’t harm the environment. My personal goals were aligned with Consat’s


products and, eventually, ’servicefy’ what they sell. Hurtig outlines a clear trend of companies that used to develop and sell products starting to sell services instead: a company that sells fans can offer its customers optimal air quality instead, for example. “We need more people at Consat who understand how industries are changing, because this transformation is actually happening in every single industry. The real change is the new business models this will lead to. In the future, many of our clients will be selling something different than they sell today, because products are increasingly being turned into services,” Hurtig predicts. “The world’s biggest companies are all looking into this. And sure, that’s something we could help them with. More than anything, however, we’re here to help SMEs digitalise their solutions,” he says. “To digitalise a product, you need a proper front end: hardware that can intuit things and/or make something happen. Depending on what you’re trying to digitalise, you may need some computing power and memory, a good data connection and an excellent back end. Oh, and a user-friendly interface,” Hurtig sums up. “All things that practically everyone will need.” “Consat already has the basics, the platform.” We’re currently using that platform to create a system to monitor and maintain EV chargers.” (For more on that, see one of the other articles in this issue of Context.)

INTEGRATED EQUALITY “Anyways, back to the UN and the 2030 Agenda. We’ve also been discussing what we can do ourselves, here at Consat, to contribute to the Global Goals. Even before joining Consat, I had a feeling that it was a special company. A place that prioritised both its own people and its clients. It’s wonderful when people feel like a

goals from day one; I haven’t looked back since joining the company. Working here is a pleasure, because Consat offers me a platform to help advance green technology and abandon ‘traditional tech’ for good. Green technology is getting bigger and better every day. Consat gives you the opportunity to dare walk a more climate-friendly path.

company has their best interests at heart and like they’re in a safe space where they can learn from each other, especially when that mentality is also applied to clients,” Hurtig says. “But is there a way for us to do more? We’re based in Gothenburg, for example, a city that’s really struggling with integration. Can we do anything about that? Me and the other managers at Consat Engineering have been thinking about that. We want to be able to help people who are good at tech but haven’t yet managed to find a job, maybe because they don’t have any connections in Sweden or because they’re struggling with the language. We want to help them find their way,” Hurtig outlines. Equality and inclusivity are integral aspects of ‘the Consat spirit’. But Hurtig believes it takes mindfulness to turn these values into a reality. “Equality and inclusivity should be on our mind every singly day, so we make the right decisions, for example when appointing managers. I think it’s pretty clear we’ve done something wrong if we invite three candidates for a final interview and none of them are female or born outside of Sweden,” Hurtig shakes his head.

How can the technology we create

this beautiful planet of ours. The con-

help protect the planet?

struction sector and different indu-

Overconsumption is no longer an option. We’ve got the opportunity to zoom out and reflect on our needs, so we can design technologies that only provide what we need – and that perhaps even do something in return for

stries are responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions; reducing consumption in these sectors will be important if we want to achieve the sustainable goals of the 2030 Agenda.


CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 53


54 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021



Saving Energy Through Smarter Travel THAT PEOPLE LIVING IN a sustainable society need public transport is practically a given. These days, real-time traffic information is almost as much of a given. Up-to-date information about their trip allows travellers to optimise their use of the public transport system. The same data system that communicates with travellers can be a powerful tool that helps operators make sure public transport runs in a smooth, dependable and resource-efficient way. Producing systems like that is exactly what Consat Telematics is good at. The company’s telematics system is such a success, it has been adopted by clients in Australia, the Middle East, Scandinavia and North America. Consat Telematics, which is headquartered in Partille, now also has offices in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada. Thousands of vehicles around the world are driving around equipped with Telematics’ system. Hundreds of thousands of travellers plan their journeys based on the real-time information that same system gives them. The concept is based on connecting ‘everything’ to the internet to collect data and allow everyone involved to take the right decisions and waste less: less time, less environmental resources, and less

Thomas Ottosson CEO, Consat Telematics AB

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 55


“The concept is based on connecting ‘everything’ to the internet to collect data and allow everyone involved to take the right decisions and waste less: less time, less environmental resources, and less money.”

money. Digitalisation may still be in its infancy in different industries, including the consumer product industry. But Consat Telematics has been digitalising public transport since the late eighties. Thomas Ottosson is CEO of the company. He feels many of the UN’s goals are reflected in Telematics’ activities and solutions. “We might not be doing that much to advance global equality, but one thing’s for sure: we promote public health and wellbeing, because fewer emissions and less noise pollution make urban environments healthier and more pleasant to live in,” Ottosson says. “Global Goal number 13 – combatting climate change – is exactly what we do, really. Because we both get more travellers to take public transport by making it a convenient alternative, and make public transport more resource-efficient and streamlined, with environmentally-friendly diesel and electric buses,” he cites.

GETTING PEOPLE TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS Proper information systems that tell travellers ‘everything’ are the key to getting them to forego trips by car. Consat’s system has the power to tip those scales. “Every time we convince a passenger to leave their car – even if it’s an electric one – in the garage and hop on an electric bus or tram instead, we make a huge difference to the way our planet’s resources are used,” Ottosson says. “Efficient public transport also generates economic growth because it helps people commute more easily. Few services are actually as important for growth as having good public transport,” he continues. Smart public transport is all about infrastructure. In that sense, Telematics is a tiny cog in an enormous and important machine.

EXCITEMENT IN EVERYDAY LIFE Electrification, the No.1 trend in the world of public transport right now, is a key issue for Consat Telematics. The company continu-

56 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

ously improves its system to help bus operators know exactly how much battery they have got left and when they will need to charge to operate as efficiently as possible – which saves money and is better for the planet. Electrification is happening at a much faster pace than sceptics predicted, Ottosson reveals. “Reductions in CO2 emissions depend on how an electric vehicle’s electricity is produced, but electrification always has a positive effect on the surroundings, regardless of the electricity’s source: cities become much more pleasant to live in when buses no longer produce so much noise,” he continues. “I met with a representative of Transport for New South Wales in Sydney a few years ago and told them how electric buses had taken over in Norway and how the same would soon happen in Sydney. He sighed that it would take years before electric buses took off in Australia, because the fossil fuel industry is so powerful in the country. But look at things now, just a few years later: political forces in Sydney have decided they’ll try to replace diesel buses with electrified alternatives as soon as possible,” Ottosson shares. “Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia have always been ahead of the curve in terms of electrification. That has served us well, because it allowed us to develop the right technology early on – tech that the rest of the world is now starting to adopt,” he says. Because Consat was part of the electrification revolution from day one, it is now in a position to help others make the shift from polluting fossil fuels like diesel to electricity, which is much more environmentally friendly, especially for urban transport. Since it serves so many clients and vehicles around the globe, Consat Telematics can really make a difference; it brings the world one step closer to achieving the UN’s climate goals.

LESS WASTE, LESS THROWING AWAY Consat Telematics’ system helps companies and cities monitor public transport and make it more efficient. Vehicles are used in smarter ways, they’re driven in more economical and environmentallyfriendly ways and maintenance becomes more efficient, as operators know exactly when key components need to be replaced. “We can help our clients save energy and extend the life of their vehicles by recommending a calmer driving style,” Ottosson explains. “Canada’s STM (Société de transport de Montréal) is a fantastic example: we provide our client in Montreal with information, letting them know exactly how often their vehicles are used and what state they are in, which prevents unnecessary replacements of parts. With the right information, you can save resources,” he says. “Our system is also very durable in and of itself: it tends to be as long-lived as the buses it’s installed in. We update the software with occasional new features, but the hardware is a sturdy bit of equipment you won’t need to replace any time soon,” Ottosson reveals. “When we produce our hardware, we also try to do so as close as possible to where we’ll be installing it. We try to avoid shipping equipment halfway across the globe,” he adds. Shipping something to Australia or Canada from, say, Taiwan makes more sense than shipping it from Sweden. “Opening an office in the countries we do business in also ena-

bles us to travel less, which is better for the environment. These days, we’re a truly global company and have regular (online) meetings with employees and clients around the world. A world in which we’re all able to talk to and understand each other is a better world,” Ottosson believes.

QUICK FIXES TO PROBLEMS “When the pandemic broke out a year ago, Melbourne’s public transport system teetered on the brink of collapse, because people were unable or too afraid to take the bus and started taking the car instead. Desperate to solve the crisis, the city turned to the transport industry to find ways of getting people to take public transport again. Consat was one of the seven companies they selected to come to the rescue. We helped keep their public transport up and running by making Covid announcements to travellers. Sustainable cities need the information Consat excels at delivering,” Ottosson says with pride.

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 57



Inventing a Better World

Emil Brandt CEO, Consat Innovation Partner

58 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

CONSAT INNOVATION PARTNER IS the odd one out in the Consat family: it’s a oneman company run by Emil Brandt, who’s been with Consat for ages. Brandt founded Innovation Partner because he’d identified a need for a flexible company that would be able to come to clients’ rescue and take on development projects that otherwise would have been relegated to a dusty drawer, often for organisational reasons. As a metaphorical outsider, Brandt has been able to champion innovative solutions that might not have made it through the hierarchical bottlenecks of larger companies. He has pulled off cross-departmental projects, for example, and helped clients get good ideas off the ground when they needed some external encouragement to get started. Consat Innovation Partner’s underlying ambition, Brandt shares, is to develop new approaches to development that make people and the planet more of a priority. “I want to find a way around suboptimisation and obstacles caused by personal agendas, hierarchical organisations or inefficient follow-up systems, which is often what stands in the way of innovation and progress,” Brandt explains. “The tricky thing with my work, especially when people ask me to describe what I do, is that many of the projects I’m involved in are so secret, I’m not allowed to go into details. I

could tell you a little bit about them, but not as much as I’d like,” Brandt says, chuckling. What he can say, is that the environment and added value to society are key factors when Innovation Partner has to decide whether to get involved in a project or has to design a technological solution. “Not everything I do is directly linked to the environment, but I always try to make things better for mankind and the planet. More than once, I’ve told a client I could help them develop a new product, but explained straight away that I’d only do so if certain environmental aspects were taken into account. I place high environmental demands on the projects I’m prepared to co-finance or take part in,” Brandt says. The ‘partner’ in Innovation Partner’s name indicates how important cooperation is for Brandt. Sometimes, he’ll put clients in touch with each other if their combined resources could result in an exciting new technology. Consat Innovation Partner has, for example, managed to convince two major companies to work with a third, smaller company to create environmentallyfriendly packaging made from PLA (polylactic acid, a biodegradable ‘plastic’ made from glucose rather than petroleum). Brandt is hoping the result will be an unusually environmentally-friendly product with a competitive price tag.


CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 59


“PLA-based plastic isn’t the solution to human follies like single-use packaging or throwing plastic into the oceans, but it does create a carbonneutral path towards a smarter use of plastics in the near future.”

ALTERNATIVE PLASTIC PLA is actually a very interesting material Brandt is particularly fond of. The bioplastic itself was discovered many years ago but never really took off, for two main reasons: the monomer was never quite strong enough to be used commercially, and the world simply wasn’t that worried about its use of fossil fuels. Now, a Gothenburg-based company has developed several blends containing PLA that are incredibly strong – and people have started to realise that it might not be that smart to mine carbon dioxide and pump it back into the atmosphere. PLA-based plastic isn’t the solution to human follies like single-use packaging or throwing plastic into the oceans, but it does create a carbon-neutral path towards a smarter use of plastics in the near future. The fact that PLA is biodegradable when industrially composted is nifty, but not that useful in practice. It currently makes more sense to recycle the material, extracting energy from the process or turning it into new products. The big draw is that PLA is a renewable, carbon-neutral material that does not contain any microplastics. “Together with a few others, we’ve set up Bervero, a company that will be trying to create PLA from things like industrial byproducts. Our goal is to start manufacturing raw PLA on an industrial scale within the next three years, using byproducts that contain carbohydrates.

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“The problem with PLA is that it’s made from resources that people could potentially eat – do we really want to turn those into plastic? It’s an important question to ask ourselves, and one of the reasons why Bervero wants to try and produce PLA from byproducts. But the sad truth is that not all surplus food goes to or can go to those who are hungry. Which is why we’re considering turning it into PLA to replace less environmentally-friendly plastics,” Brandt says. “Take corn fields in the US. That corn – which could be turned into PLA – isn’t necessarily used to feed hungry stomachs across the world, because certain economic forces prevent that from happening. I’m not happy about that, but I also know that it takes time to change things. But hey, maybe we’re doing everybody a favour by turning sugar, which isn’t that healthy, into plastics?” Brandt suggests with a laugh. “The most important thing when considering new, more environmentally-friendly alternatives, is taking a step in the right direction, doing something at least. As a sector, we should try and get as many as possible to move in the right direction, and I think Consat does just that,” Brandt concludes.

THE WORLD’S BEST HEAT EXCHANGER As you are reading this, Consat Innovation Partner and Consat SES are launching their first joint product ever: the Geiser™ greywater heat exchanger. It extracts and reuses heat from greywater (shower wastewater) in buildings that would otherwise quite literally have thrown out the energy-baby with the bathwater. “It was Ian [Hostetter, of Consat SES] who came up with the idea. I was instantly sold,” Brandt remembers. “We quickly came up with a way to finance the project and develop it together, and brought in Martin Hogander, one of Consat Engineering’s most brilliant engineers. The three of us created the product (which we’ve filed a patent application for) in record time, with record results. It’s hard not to feel proud about it,” Brandt glows. (You can

read more about the Geiser™ project in one of the other articles in this magazine.) “We can save so much energy! Our heat exchanger recovers about 70% of the thermal energy in greywater, which we can then reuse on the spot.” Geiser™ can be installed in any building that has (or could build) a separate sewer line. (It only works with shower water or industrial wastewater, though, not wastewater from toilets that contains faeces.) Results are of course particularly impressive (and good for clients’ wallets) in places that require large volumes of hot shower water, like public swimming pools, sports halls and gyms, blocks of flats, or any workplace where employees need to shower often. It is also ideal for the meat industry, where the hot water used during production otherwise goes straight down the drain. “As far as I know, Geiser™ is actually the world’s most efficient greywater heat exchanger. We constructed a test site to measure its efficiency when handling different flows. The result was 69 to 73%, depending on the flow, which is truly record-breaking,” Brandt reveals with pride. “Customers will also continuously get to see statistics that tell them exactly how much energy they’re saving – that’s how satisfied we are with the system.” “And sure, there are similar products on the market. But as an engineer, you instantly realise that the design of these products won’t be able to live up to the manufacturer’s claims. One of our competitors boasted on their website that their heat exchanger was 103% (!) efficient. They’ve deleted that bit now, but I made a screenshot,” Brandt says with a smirk. Geiser™ is the first product co-created by SES and Innovation Partner, but Brandt says the team had so much fun working together and produced such incredible results, he wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with more energy-efficiency solutions. CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 61


00:59 CONSAT MAIN SPONSOR OF GÖTEBORGSVARVET’S VIRTUAL RACE 00:59:35 When Göteborgsvarvet’s virtual race 00:59:35 took place on 22-23 May, Consat was the event’s main sponsor. Runners based anywhere in the world could take part – Consat’s own employees in seven different countries put on their running shoes. “We really liked the idea of sponsoring such an accessible race, as this meant it would truly contribute to public health,” Jenny Fredér, Marketing Manager at Consat, comments. 62 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

GÖTEBORGSVARVET, which is perhaps best known for its half marathon, also organises the virtual race 00:59:35 (a reference to the fastest time ever recorded during Göteborgsvarvet), which doesn’t have a set distance. Participants of 00:59:35 instead run for as many kilometres as they can for 59 minutes and 35 seconds along a track of their own choosing. This year’s virtual race was held on 22-23 May, with Consat as the event’s main sponsor. Sponsoring the race felt like a natural choice to the international tech firm, which has several things in common with Göteborgsvarvet. “Just like we at Consat have customers, employees and business partners around the world, Göteborgsvarvet targets runners across the globe. And of course, we’re both based in Gothenburg and have been around since the eighties. So we have plenty in common,” Fredér sums up.

CONTRIBUTING TO PUBLIC HEALTH Consat and Göteborgsvarvet don’t just share the same target group, founding date and location: the pair are also equally committed to



“Because of the race’s virtual setup, facilitated by an app by RaceONE, runners around the world were able to participate regardless of their location.”

public health and innovation. Because of the race’s virtual setup, facilitated by an app by RaceONE, runners around the world were able to participate regardless of their location. A fitting concept for an innovative tech company like Consat, which has extensive expertise of online systems and offices on multiple continents. “The race was a global event and didn’t require runners to run a specific distance, so it was accessible to any- and everyone. We really loved sponsoring such an inclusive initiative, contributing to public health and inspiring people to live healthy and active lives. The world really needs that in these pandemic times,” Fredér says.

RUNNERS WEARING SUSTAINABLE T-SHIRTS A hundred or so Consat employees, customers and business partners participated in the race. From Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands to Australia, Canada, the USA and India, they valiantly ran or walked varying distances. Consat’s own staff wore T-shirts made from eucalyptus pulp and recycled plastic fished from the Mediterranean Sea. The shirts were produced by Reparell, a Gothenburg-based manufacturer of sustainable clothes and fabrics, in cooperation with the Wear Ocean Waste initiative. “Public health and sustainability go hand in hand in many ways. Which is why we always try to have our own actions – like wearing sustainably produced T-shirts – inspire people to make sustainable and environmentally conscious decisions,” Jenny Fredér concludes.

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7647 m

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HERE IS WHAT GÖTEBORGSVARVET HAS TO SAY ABOUT US... Göteborgsvarvet is very grateful for Consat’s support of 00:59:35. Not only did many of Consat’s own employees participate in the race, you also provided video footage and social media content, not to mention plenty of positive energy! We hope to be able to partner with Consat again to organise other fun and inspiring events in the future. Sara Brankell Head of Commerce

5196 m

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With plenty of know-how and a track record of successfully completed electrification projects, Consat is a driving force in the vehicle industry, which is undergoing its most radical change in over a century. Today’s electric cars, public transport and transport systems are connected, smart and energy-efficient. AS CITIES ARE SWITCHING to electric buses for public transport, electric cars account for the most exciting developments in the industry, and even heavy-duty transport vehicles are getting ready to ditch diesel, Consat is at the forefront of these technological developments. Many of Consat’s companies and departments have been working for years on the tech you can now see (or will soon see) on the roads. From battery technology, battery-powered HVAC and electric systems to transmis-

sion, charger maintenance and digitalisation solutions that allow for smart, wellplanned charging and driving: Consat offers the building blocks required to pave the way for electric vehicles. Martin Wahlgren is CEO of Consat AB. Back when he was a student at Halmstad University, he helped construct a one-seater electric car as a joint graduation project. Over the years, he has worked on plenty of similar electrification projects at Consat. “We’ve been working with electrification

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 67


for a long time. At the start of the new millennium, for example, we built electric park maintenance vehicles. A few years later, when electric cars and plug-in hybrids were really becoming a thing, we partnered with Lindholmen Science Park to develop chargers for the energy company Göteborg Energi,” Wahlgren recounts.

HIGH-FLYING ELECTRIFICATION “That project actually led to a bit of an absurd situation. The American Department of Energy (DoE) and the Swedish government were going to sign an agreement at the time, related to our charger project. Andy Karsner from the DoE and Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, Maud Olofsson, would be signing the deal during the Almedalen political forum in the summer. Consat was asked to host the ceremony. The highlight was going to be an electric car being plugged into one of the charging stations we’d developed – Olofsson would plug one end of the cable into the charger while Karsner plugged the other end into the car, and then the charging station would light up and start supplying electricity. But the weather was atrocious that day, it was pouring – and when we tested the setup right before the VIPs would be arriving, it turned out the car wasn’t an actual electric car, it was only designed to look like one! It couldn’t draw any power from the charging station, which didn’t do anything and didn’t light up. I had to frantically reconnect things, making the cable connect with a little lamp on the underside of the car that would draw power, to make the charging station react and light up, even though Karsner’s end of the cable wasn’t plugged into the actual car itself. We had to rehearse the whole thing to make sure Olofsson only plugged in the cable once Karsner

68 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

had done so on his end, to avoid the charger from lighting up out of nowhere. All while it was raining cats and dogs. I could just imagine the newspaper headlines: ‘Minister Olofsson Dies from Electric Shock in Almedalen’! Luckily, it all went smoothly,” Wahlgren finishes, laughing at the memory. “Karsner was so impressed by our charging station (which was actually owned by Lindholmen Science Park, to be completely honest) that he bought it from us on the spot. Agreeing to that was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done, though, because the resulting paperwork was a nightmare – we had to comply with some kind of ‘beryllium directive’, for example, and swear that no US soldiers who’d deserted during the Vietnam War had helped manufacture it. The whole sale was a lot more trouble than it was worth,” Wahlgren adds and bursts out laughing again. “But the whole enterprise resulted in the American ambassador putting Consat on his list of Swedish cleantech companies to invest in and cooperate with – a project he humbly called ‘The One Big Thing’. We’ve worked together quite a few times ever since, and we’re always invited to the American embassy’s Fourth of July party,” Wahlgren shares. “After that, we became intensely involved in the making of the Volvo C30 Electric. That job was a beast, I can tell you. It must have been the biggest electrification project a company of our size ever worked on in northern Europe. We replaced 90% of the car’s electrical components – the management system that balanced the batteries, the thermal control system for both the batteries and the passenger compartment, the telematics system (thank you, Consat Telematics!) ... It was a massive project,” Wahlgren recounts. “Over the years, we’ve also developed battery-management software for different companies and consulted on countless EV systems,” he adds. Modern-day electric vehicles are equipped with smart software and are connected to the internet, to optimise and plan charging. Both vehicles and chargers are part of a comprehensive digitalised system several Consat companies have developed together. Today, Consat is working on a project for an American firm that asked Consat to design a framework to let the firm electrify its diesel-powered lorries – an interesting project with a lot of potential. Consat Engineering is also working on related solutions to help several clients produce batteries in an environmentally-friendly way. “Northvolt’s CEO Peter Carlsson recently sent our management team a video message when we’d sat down together to talk strategy, inviting us to set up shop in Skellefteå, because they would like us to help them with production technology,” Wahlgren reveals with pride.


“After that, we became intensely involved in the making of the Volvo C30 Electric. That job was a beast, I can tell you. It must have been the biggest electrification project a company of our size ever worked on in northern Europe.”

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 69

24/7 INSIGHT INTO ELECTRIC BUSES’ PERFORMANCE Consat Telematics, which produces telematics systems for public transport, has also been at the forefront of the electrification revolution. As soon as clients started asking for smarter ways to manage their new electric buses, Telematics developed ways for clients to analyse how much energy vehicles used driving along different routes. Because the system keeps track of vehicles’ state of charge and knows exactly which routes they’ll be driving, it allows operators to determine in advance whether a bus’ current charge will suffice to reach the next charging station – crucial information vehicle manufacturers themselves are unable to provide. “Our clients want to integrate our telematics system into their electric vehicles. We install both the system they need today and future solutions that will really help them optimise charging and sync vehicles and routes,” Wahlgren explains. Telematics’ current system already offers traffic managers real-time information about the state of charge of all buses – key information when traffic quickly needs to be redirected or extra buses need to be added to certain routes, for example. Traffic managers also know exactly how all charging stations are doing and whether they are experiencing any technical problems. “We’ve got a golden opportunity to dominate the market. We’ve come quite some way already, and I think we’re only getting better,” Wahlgren says with determination.


“We’ve got a golden opportunity to dominate the market. We’ve come quite some way already, and I think we’re only getting better.”

70 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

Electric cars and buses depend on chargers that are always at the ready and that actually work. Enter a project that Consat Engineering’s Connected department is currently working on (more on that in another article in this magazine). A system designed for service and maintenance companies connects units from different manufacturers to ensure 24/7 monitoring and offer the fastest possible service. “This solution not only lets maintenance companies promise their customers that their chargers will always work, it also offers them the data they need to compare different chargers’ performance,” Wahlgren says. “Last but not least, we’re also lobbying hard to get the biggest vehicle manufacturers to create a joint ecosystem that will work for everyone, to make charging a breeze – like roaming did for telecommunications. Owners of electric cars will be able to reserve a charging spot on the go and preheat their car’s batteries before charging, and there’ll be none of that exasperating paying by card – everything’ll be automatic, because your car will communicate with the charging station. And of course the system will apply to lorries as well,” Wahlgren envisions. “So yes, I think it’s safe to say that Consat is working to advance electrification in a way or two!” he laughs.




congrats! • Kristofer Carlin who had a son on 28/4 • Jesper Fälth who had a son on 23/5 • Kirsten Collins who got married on 19/2 • Johannes Ohlson who got married on 17/7

• • • • • • • • • • •

Filip Stekovic who turned 30 on 28/1 Fredrik Johansson who turned 40 on 15/2 Ulrika Lin who turned 50 on 30/4 Wes Woods who turned 70 on 30/4 Pär Forsberg who turned 50 on 22/5 Ulyana Tiblad who turned 40 on 27/7 Christer Hoffman who turned 50 on 22/9 Per Peterzéns who turned 60 on 5/10 Henrik Meyer who turned 50 on 28/10 Roland Moberg who turned 60 on 31/10 Magnus Janbro who turned 50 on 14/12

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 71






GREW UP IN A FAMILY that taught me about the value of work from an early age. All my life, I’ve believed that hard work and planning ahead pays off. It was only when I discovered that I was interested in technology and that I liked to tackle difficult tasks that I got an idea of what sector I might want to work in. I mainly decided to go into engineering because I enjoy solving problems. I’ve always liked trying new things, both in terms of sports, music, travel destinations and technology. At university, I studied IT in the broadest sense, taking courses in programming, business development and project management. We were also continuously introduced to international companies. When I started to think about how I might turn what I’d learned into a career, I discovered my degree was both relevant and future-proof.

“I’LL NEVER BE BORED HERE” When I had to start applying for jobs, the one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to work with systems development. I wasn’t set on any specific role, city or company, though, which meant I was free to apply anywhere. Being so open to anything brings a real sense of freedom. One of the jobs I applied for was a position as Test Engineer at Consat Telematics in Gothenburg. The interview immediately confirmed for me that it had been the right choice. My first impression of Consat Telematics was all flashing devices, signs, passenger counting sensors ... Organised total chaos. But one feeling soon stood out for me: that I’d never be bored there. Whenever I get that impression, I know I’m in the right place. Luckily, Consat felt the same about me. Joining the company brought me everything I hoped it would. I started out working with testing and quality assurance, which gave me insight into the entire chain – from product specifications to its actual development to the end user. One key part of the job that I enjoyed a lot was that I got to meet with clients early on. That really suited me, because I’m a very social person. The role offered me plenty of stimulating tasks and challenges, so I never got bored, never sat watching the clock. When you find yourself wishing it was time to go home, you know it’s time for a change of environment. The times I found myself in that situation, Consat was always able to offer me a new challenge and make things fun and exciting again.

Following three years in Canada at Consat Telematics in Sudbury near Toronto, Project Manager Filip Stekovic has returned home to work on exciting new projects in Sweden and Norway. In this article, he talks about the opportunities Consat has given him – a person who is unafraid of adventure, ready to take on the world and willing to work hard.

CROSSING THE ATLANTIC A steady stream of new challenges and business trips enabled me to develop professionally. I got to travel to Germany to try out Hamburg’s new electric buses, took courses on the side and visited countless clients in Norway and all across Sweden. All of these experiences taught me things, expanded my horizons and left me wanting more. During one of my business trips, I decided to ask Jenny Fredér, Consat’s current Marketing Manager, whether the famed Canada office could use CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 73

any reinforcement. Jenny considered my question, and soon after I was offered the opportunity of moving across the pond. Joining the Canadian office as Project Manager slotted perfectly into the vision I had when I joined Consat: I’d wanted to get to know our system inside and out, assist with enduser deliveries and liaise as much as possible with clients, all in hopes of eventually embarking on an international career. Those three years in Canada exceeded my expectations, to say the least, mainly because I soon found ways to make new connections. During conferences and fairs, I got to experience the buzz of Toronto, smooch a pike in Newfoundland during a state occasion and go skiing at Lake Louise in Alberta – experiences many Canadians themselves have on their bucket list.


“Ask yourself what you enjoy doing, then start from there. Dare to take the plunge and grab opportunities when they arise. It might take you a while to find those opportunities, but patience and determination will get you there.”

74 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

The many clients and partners I got to meet during my time in Canada taught me so many lessons and enriched my experience. One thing I learnt, for example, is how important it is to be humble and listen to others. The bus manufacturing sector is populated by people with valuable experience who’ve often been around much longer than you have. The key lesson I picked up from all my travels and meetings with people is that there’s always someone who’s more adept, someone you could learn something from. I’ve played ice hockey ever since I was a child, so I obviously kept practicing in Canada, where hockey is engrained in the culture. I played countless games and went on major tours across Ontario, one of Canada’s provinces. That’s how I got to meet Cory Stillman, who has twice won the fabled Stanley Cup. He participated in a few practices and was joined by his sons, one of whom is a National Hockey League player, with the other well on his way to being so. When Cory Stillman joins you on the ice, you don’t skate around thinking you’re some kind of hotshot. Instead, you grab the opportunity to learn from someone who’s infinitely more skilled. I’m grateful for all the guidance and feedback I got during my time in Canada. Roger Sauve, who heads the office over there, not only became my boss but also my mentor and shared his extensive experience with me. I learned from him while simultaneously being encouraged to come up with and develop my own ideas. Working on projects alongside Canadian colleagues and clients also let me experience a different kind of working culture than what I was used to back in Sweden; I’ve taken the best bits of it with me.


A SUDDEN CHANGE When the pandemic broke out around the world, large parts of Canadian society went into lockdown. All the plans I had for adventures during the rest of the year, for conferences and business trips, were suddenly cancelled. Canada implemented harsh restrictions and announced a complete lockdown for an indefinite period of time. As I still had my network in Sweden, where measures were much less stringent, I felt the time had come to move back. Once again, Consat offered me the opportunity to take on new challenges, this time as a Project Manager for new and modern projects in Oslo and Jönköping.

A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE If you feel inspired by my journey and want to embark on an international career yourself, there are several steps you can take. Because there’s no one single path to creating opportunities within Consat or the sector at large. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing, then start from there. Dare to take the plunge and grab opportunities when they arise. It might take you a while to find those opportunities, but patience and determination will get you there. It’s now been eight years since my first job interview at Consat, but I still see plenty of major and exciting challenges ahead. As long as you’re surrounded by creative colleagues and working in an encouraging environment, you’ll have fun at work. These days, I head and manage projects for clients in Jönköping and Oslo, cooperating with partners in countries like the Netherlands and China. I also still manage the odd project for the Canadian office. I think Consat’s staff and its management’s expertise and innovative mindset are the reasons why the company is so successful. That, plus the opportunities Consat has to offer its employees, including myself. With all that energy, I’m convinced the future holds plenty more exciting challenges.

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 75

Our Man in

EUROPE 76 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021


Arnoud Brouwer recently set up an office in the Netherlands for Consat Telematics. Here, he tells us a bit more about himself and his role.


RNOUD BROUWER LIVES IN HILVERSUM, 35-odd kilometres southeast of Amsterdam, and works from home. He is 50 years old, married and has two sons in their twenties. Brouwer is passionate about sports and the outdoors; his hobbies include skiing, cycling, kitesurfing, running and field hockey. Before becoming ‘Consat Telematics’ man on the continent’, Brouwer occupied a range of sales-related positions at companies of varying sizes, including Canon, Cisco Webex, Symbian Care Services, Kapsch and Kontron Transportation. Several of these roles were at companies in the same sector as Consat Telematics, which is how Brouwer developed the network and experiences Consat needs. “My job is to help Consat Telematics gain a foothold in the European market,” he introduces. “Europe – especially western Europe and Great Britain – is a mature market in terms of intelligent transport systems (ITS), which means there’s a lot of competition: companies with wellestablished relationships with ordering parties (those who commission public transport) and operators (companies that run public transport services). “So the first thing I’ll be doing is networking with operators and ordering parties across the continent, to introduce them to Consat and position us as a potential partner in upcoming procurement processes,” Brouwer explains. “When an operator submits a public transport bid, we want them to immediately think of us as a partner that can offer marketleading solutions for services like real-time information and traffic management.” Brouwer will also be lobbying operators to increase Telematics’ chances of becoming operators’ ‘preferred supplier’ when they need an ITS for their fleet. The third item on Brouwer’s To Do list is to contact vehicle manufacturers directly and propose they use Consat’s software as the central communication gateway in their vehicles. When buses or trams leave the factory equipped with the necessary hardware, Telematics simply needs to pitch its software and its ability to fulfil all of the operator’s needs in terms of systems and functionality. “It’s all about establishing relationships with the right people in the right places at relevant organisations across Europe – something

“It’s all about establishing relationships with the right people in the right places at relevant organisations across Europe.”

that hasn’t really become easier during the pandemic,” Brouwer sighs. “Right now, I’m focusing on two tenders we’d like to win. One is organised by Belgium’s De Lijn, which needs a passenger information system for 1,200 electric/hybrid vehicles. The other procurement process is one by the NTA of Ireland, which is looking to purchase an Automatic Vehicle Location positioning system for 5,500 buses. We’re currently waiting for De Lijn to make a decision,” Brouwer says. Southern and Eastern Europe, where the language barrier makes it harder to understand all of the criteria and participate in procurement processes, are another challenge. In these countries, Brouwer will be looking for the right local partners to represent Consat Telematics. “I’ll let you know when we’ve signed our first European deal!”’ he laughs. CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 77





Niklas Sundin started his career at Consat Engineering in the spring of 2004, as a Software Developer. He’s occupied several roles in the company ever since; today, he has a leadership-oriented role and bears the overarching responsibility in larger projects. “During my time here, I’ve continuously developed as a person and have had the opportunity to expand my skills. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve stayed all this time,” Niklas Sundin explains.


N 2001, NIKLAS SUNDIN graduated from Chalmers University of Technology with a degree in Automation and Mechatronics. Three years later, he joined Consat, where he has remained to this day. As Consat straddles a wide range of fields, from the vehicle industry to manufacturing, IT and life sciences, Sundin has had many opportunities at the tech company – something he’s made good use of in his different positions. “As my career at Consat progressed, I began to specialise in vehicle manufacturing. I’ve always had the opportunity to use

experience from previous projects in new projects,” Sundin says before continuing: “When I first joined the company in 2004, I did so at the level of Junior Developer. As the years went by, I became a Senior Lead and began having more responsibility. I now work with more overarching issues and on more comprehensive projects, which is great.”

A HIGHLY DIVERSE JOB, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE A lot has happened at Consat since Sundin joined the company 17 years ago. Sundin himself has developed and run projects in CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 79


“As my career at Consat progressed, I began to specialise in vehicle manufacturing. I’ve always had the opportunity to use experience from previous projects in new projects.”

infotainment, communication and electrification, among other fields. For a couple of years, he set up and managed inhouse operations at Connected as Project Manager. Sundin has spent the past few years focusing on active safety and autonomous driving at Consat’s client Zenseact. During the spring of 2020, all of Consat’s departments began to work from home because of the pandemic. Sundin feels the new, remote way of working has pros and cons; he believes the future will see employees working in all kinds of different ways – a reality clients are drafting new policies for right now. Employees will probably retain a say over whether or not they want to work from home or at the office (Covid restrictions permitting). “The social aspect has been harder to maintain as we’ve worked remotely, but there have been advantages to the situation as well. Digital tools have improved significantly, and there hasn’t been any drop in development as our teams have had to adjust. I believe autumn will find us working in a hybrid ways. I personally prefer working remotely part of the time. I’ve always had good relationships with my colleagues and managers at Consat. The company feels a bit like a family, which I think is unusual in this sector. Consat has humane values and its work is founded on long-term relationships and partnerships, with clients and employees alike. I hope Consat will continue walking that path in the future,” Niklas Sundin concludes. 80 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021




Proudly Present

Our New




Davor Baskarada, 44 yr

Eric Warntorp, 33 yr

Olivia Krakau, 28 yr

Michelle Ferrigan, 48 yr

(Consat Norway)

(Consat Data, Stockholm)

(Consat Canada)

Has come to us from Metrotek, where he worked as a Service Technician, Service Manager and Systems Engineer (tech support). Lives in Jessheim, Norway, with his wife and child. Hobbies: Outdoor activities. Works as a Systems Engineer.

Has mainly worked in the private sector – most recently at IT Ansvar (alongside Jörgen Svensson). Lives in Tyresö with his wife and daughter. Hobbies: Vehicles, IT and spending time with his family. Provides IT support to internal and external customers.

(Sustainable Energy Systems, Stockholm)



Used to work for Incoord. Lives in Stockholm with her partner. Hobbies: Guitar and windsurfing. Works to make the Kringlan (Södertälje) and Farsta Centrum shopping centres more energy efficient.


Has 12+ years of experience of planning and project management in the transport sector. Lives in Sudbury, Ontario (Canada) with her husband and two teenage daughters. Hobbies: Hiking, camping and spending time with family and friends. Works as a Project Manager.


Jörgen Svensson, 52 yr

Martin Lundh, 34 yr

Emil André Strøm, 24 yr

Thomas Gugger, 48 yr

(Consat Data, Stockholm)

(Industrial Technology/Automation & Vision Services)

(Consat Norway)

(Sustainable Energy Systems)

Has worked for Hewlett Packard Enterprises and OfficeLink. Lives in Jessheim, Norway. Hobbies: Films, cooking and hanging out on Tinder. Works with Consat’s warehouses/ logistics and in our support team.

Used to work for Hamilton Nordic AB as an Application Specialist. Moved to Sweden from Switzerland 15 years ago; now lives in Benareby (Mölnlycke) with his wife, two children and two cats. Hobbies: Snowboarding, travelling abroad, reading thrillers, BBQing, running, woodworking, inventions, music, 3D printing, brewing beer, SF films, boardgames. Project Manager for the Orsa insect factory.

Has worked both in the private and public (municipality/government) sector. Lives in Tyresö, is married with two grown-up children. Hobbies: Music, friends, golf, cycling, boating (especially in the archipelago) and creativity in all its forms. Regional Manager for Consat Data in Stockholm.

Back at Consat (where he used to work at the Stockholm office) after a stint at Hasselblad. Lives in Floda with his wife and two young sons. Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, exercising and the odd coding project. In charge of Automation and Vision Services in Partille.

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 81


Proudly Present

Our New






Christoffer Lindvall, 32 yr

Aron Lander, 32 yr

(Connected/Test Development, Systems & Project Management)

(Connected/Embedded Design)

Used to work for Arcam. Lives in Kville (Gothenburg) with his partner and daughter. Hobbies: Cooking, Alpine skiing, travelling and games. Currently consults as a Project Manager at Heliospectra.


Worked as a Software Developer at OP5 AB, then studied at university for four years. Lives in Kvillebäcken. Hobbies: Exercising, spending time in the forest, electronics design and programming. Works as an Embedded Developer at Heliospectra.


Anna Renström, 30 yr

Johanna Tern, 25 yr

Michael Keegan, 39 yr

Rithika Kabilan, 23 yr


(Connected/Test Development, Systems & Project Management)

(Consat Canada)


Used to be an Electronics Engineer at Steel Communications; has been supporting Consat in northern Ontario for the past seven years. Lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife. Hobbies: Music, travelling and kayaking. Works as an Installation Manager.

Used to volunteer for an association called Hello World!, which boosts children and adolescents’ digital creativity by teaching them programming skills. Lives in Stockholm. Hobbies: Art (paints, sketches, sculpts and creates micro art) and watching TV. Works with inhouse projects.

Used to work for Vindora Utbildning and AcadeMedia AB. Lives in the Linné area of Gothenburg with her partner. Hobbies: Contemporary dance, golf, travelling and fine dining. Works as an Accountant for Telematics and Consat Norway.


Recent graduate with a degree in Computer Science. Lives in Eriksberg, Gothenburg, with her partner and the couple’s dog. Hobbies: Exploring the forest with her dog, picking mushrooms, cycling and scoring secondhand bargains.Working on an inhouse software-integration project.




Erik Lundmark, 46 yr

Markus Ingvarsson, 27 yr

Miki Swahn, 28 yr

Axel Bernhardson, 23 yr

(Connected/IT & Mobility)

(Telematics/Research & Development)

(Connected/Test Development, Systems & Project Management)

(Industrial Technology/Engineering Services)

Recent graduate, did his thesis project at Consat. Lives in Gothenburg. Hobbies: Languages and programming. Works as a Developer, with focus on the backend system.

Used to work with connectivity at Volvo Group. Lives in Bagaregården, Gothenburg, with her partner. Hobbies: Outdoor activities. Works with electrification (inhouse).

Recently graduated from University West. Used to work as a Greenkeeper at Lysegården Golf Club. Lives in Romelanda. Hobbies: Plays golf and is fascinated by cars. Currently part of a team that is working to develop a production line for security doors.

Used to work at PostNord Strålfors. Lives in Alingsås with his wife, two teenage children and the family’s dog. Hobbies: Kayaking and sailing. Working on the Tensor and TEAPaN inhouse projects.

82 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021




Oscar Rosenstam, 34 yr

Fredrik Bergström, 44 yr

Claes Filander, 45 yr


(Consat Data)

(Connected/IT & Mobility)

Back at Consat after a few years at Pilotfish, which also provides IT solutions to the public transport sector. Lives in the Masthugget neighbourhood of Gothenburg with his wife. Hobbies: Food and drinks, outdoor activities and American football. Works in Sales.

Has worked at Canon Svenska, Självbildarna and Ricoh. Married with 3 children, lives in Ingelsträde (outside of Höganäs, in the south of Sweden). Hobbies: Reading, football and renovating windows. Telephony and IT Salesperson in the south of Sweden.

Used to work for Svenska Spel in Visby. Father of three, lives in the Masthugget neighbourhood of Gothenburg. Hobbies: Food and drinks, travelling and meeting new people. Currently consults at Heliospectra.




Andreas Hagman, 46 yr

Lulu Cui, 28 yr

Mohammed Tikabo, 36 yr

(Industrial Technology/Automation & Vision Services)

(Engineering Services/Automation & Vision Services)

(Connected/Test Development, Systems & Project Management)

Has worked at FlexLink, WSP and Elektroautomatik. Lives in Torslanda with his wife and two children. Hobbies: Sports. Works on various projects and concepts (inhouse).

Used to work at Hasselblad as an Image Quality Engineer. Has a boyfriend and a cat, lives in Askim. Hobbies: Art, films and TV series. Currently working on the hyperspectral machine-vision aspect of the demo machine we are developing for Jönköping’s Elmia venue.

Used to work as a bus driver. Lives in Bergsjön, Gothenburg, with his wife and four children. Hobbies: Sports (especially football) and exploring the forest. Work with Automation Testing and develops testing frameworks.





Stefan Ros, 36 yr

Kurt Hennessy, 27 yr

Maryam Sadeghi, 33 yr

James Barwick, 37 yr

(Connected/Embedded Design)

(Consat Australia)

(Connected/Embedded Design)

(Consat Australia)

Worked in several different roles at PostNord, before retraining as an Electrical Engineer. Lives in Kungälv with his partner and two children. Hobbies: Technology, electronics, gadgets, fixing things around the house and playing padel with his children. Conducting a concept study for an inhouse project to develop a control system.

Joined Consat after working as a Helpdesk Support Agent at Luminator. Hennessy has a visual impairment and has advised both operators and managers on how to make public transport more accessible. Lives in Sydney. Hobbies: Technology, computers, buses and public transport. Part of our Helpdesk team, works with customer support.

Used to work as an R&D Engineer. Lives in Gothenburg with her husband. Hobbies: Psychology, hiking and literature. Awaiting her next assignment.

Has 15+ years of experience of the public transport sector; worked with Consat in one of his previous roles. Trade Auto electrician and marketing Diploma. Lives in Stanwell Tops with his wife, son and the family’s puppy. Hobbies: Surfing, ‘barbies’ and entertainment, football and spending time with his family. Service & Support Manager.

CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 83


From Dissertation to Employment at Consat

An internship, a dissertation and now, since this autumn, a permanent position as Development Engineer. When Axel Bernhardson started working at Consat Engineering in September, he came equipped with experience of concept development, risk analysis and consulting work. “I couldn’t be happier with both my internship and the period I spent working on my dissertation and am grateful for all the support the company gave me. It was an excellent preparation for the job market,” Bernhardson says. 84 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021


N JUNE 2021, AXEL BERNHARDSON GRADUATED with a degree in Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering from University West in Trollhättan. He decided to extend the threeyear programme with a so-called ‘co-op’ – interning for three additional semesters. Bernhardson spent two of his three internship rotations at Consat Engineering, a company that appealed to him because of its broad range of projects and orientations. “I liked how diverse the consulting sector was, and got to spend time working both with clients and at Consat itself as an intern. Getting a taste of the labour market this early on in my career was incredibly useful and offered excellent opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge I’d gained during my studies in practice,” Bernhardson says.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT WITH SAFETY IN MIND When his internship was over and Bernhardson had to decide where he’d write his dissertation, he didn’t have to think twice when the Gothenburg-based engineering & IT company invited him to stay. As he worked on his dissertation during the spring semester of 2021, Bernhardson got to keep applying and developing his knowledge of concept development, product engineering and risk analysis, expanding on a concept developed by a previous dissertation student. Bernhardson’s new design and mechanical adjustments helped optimise the product’s safety and user-friendliness. “The concept I worked on was a device to fuse together Perler or Hama beads without an iron, to make things easier for preschool teachers when they need to melt countless designs. One problem with ironing the beads the traditional way is that you risk burning yourself on the hot iron. In the new concept, the heat source is encased instead, which reduces that risk,” Bernhardson explains.

A SUPPORTIVE AND ENCOURAGING ATMOSPHERE Because of the pandemic, all the work Bernhardson did on his dissertation was done remotely, which Bernhardson said went very


“I like how construction lets me be part of creating something – I get to use my imagination, develop new concepts and work out solutions to problems I run into along the way.”

smoothly. At first, he worried it might take a while for him to get into the flow of things. But those fears soon proved unfounded, as he felt keenly supported by his advisor and colleagues. “Twice a week, I checked in with my advisor Lars Olsson to go through what I’d done and discuss what I’d work on next. I’d definitely say Consat has a very encouraging and supportive working culture. Everyone, including students like me, gets to be heard and every new idea and suggestion is welcomed,” Bernhardson says.

THE JOURNEY AT CONSAT CONTINUES In September, Bernhardson signed a contract to join Consat Engineering as a Development Engineer. He is looking forward to taking on a broad range of assignments as a consultant, and is particularly pleased to be able to continue in the field of construction. “I like how construction lets me be part of creating something – I get to use my imagination, develop new concepts and work out solutions to problems I run into along the way. I’m a bit of a tech nerd, so this is right up my alley,” Bernhardson smiles.

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OMETIMES, SETBACKS AND STRUGGLES can lead to good things. The pandemic forced us to get creative, which is how we set up Studio Consat last year –a forum for us to interact and the company’s very own ‘TV channel’. Teams helped us bridge the gap between our offices around the world. Many of us (yours truly included!) used to never turn on our webcam; these days, seeing each other’s faces during digital meetings feels like standard practice. This kind of easy digital interaction also makes business trips less of a necessity, which is better for the planet. We’ve learnt so much from running Studio Consat. It not only allows us to have meetings that everyone at Consat is able to attend, regardless of where they are based, but also lets us produce inspiring employee interviews and create a kind of forum for discussion, where we can talk about our pioneering technologies. I want us to be much more vocal about the incredible know-how we have at Consat. Take electrification, which is on everyone’s lips these days: several of our companies are at the forefront of that development. I also want us to celebrate our fantastic staff. Have you seen the ‘Meet The Employee’ stories on our jobs portal? It was such a pleasure to do those interviews. Lots of laughter and just the right amount of nerves – an excellent mix. If there’s a theme or topic you think we should cover, or someone we should interview, don’t hesitate to let me know. Studio Consat is live and here to stay! CONTEXT / #1 / 2021 87



ConsArt T

Wants to Promote Culture at Consat

Almost two decades ago, Consat AB founded its very own art association, ConsArt. The goal was to foster employees’ interest in culture by acquiring a selection of new artworks each year to grace Consat’s offices, and then raffling off the art among the association’s members the following spring. 88 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

ODAY, CONSART HAS 40 MEMBERS who are united by a single shared passion: art. At the start of each year, a budget is set for paintings and other artworks, based on the association’s membership fees, which are then matched by a grant from the company itself. The art is acquired and then displayed in Consat’s offices on a rotating basis, to allow as many as possible to enjoy the works throughout the year. At the end of each year, an annual art lottery distributes the artworks among the association’s members.

A NEW WAY TO ENJOY ART This year, ConsArt has set up a Teams channel where it will be publishing images of the artworks. This will make the art more accessible: everyone will be able to see and experience the works, including colleagues who don’t work on site at

Consat’s offices. Ahead of the yearly raffle, members fill in a form to indicate which work(s) they are interested in taking home. In recent years, ConsArt’s membership base has shrunk – a trend the association hopes to reverse. Samuel Björk emphasises that anyone interested in joining the association is welcome to do so at any point throughout the year. “The more the merrier, they say. Well, more and merrier is exactly what we’re aiming for next year. Roughly a third of the association’s members get to take home an artwork after the raffle. Winners tend to be very happy with their prize. We mainly purchase paintings, but we also sometimes acquire sculptures and creations of various sizes from other art disciplines. We try to offer different kinds of works to cater to a broad range of tastes,” Björk explains.

ONLINE ART RAFFLE This year’s raffle was held online – a welcome move, as it allowed more people to participate. Björk hopes more employees will discover and join the association in the future. “Being part of ConsArt is really enriching. If you decide to be on the Board, you even get to help pick the paintings, which often means you get to visit different art galleries. You get to learn how the artist created their painting and which techniques they used. In-

credibly interesting, really!” Björk enthuses. “We not only enjoy seeing these beautiful paintings on the walls: we also have a lot of fun together. Especially these days, during the pandemic – we’ve actually looked forward to our digital hangouts! We’d like to get together more often and hope to be able to organise an art trip in the future,” Maria Andersson, ConsArt’s treasurer, summarises.

“The more the merrier, they say. Well, more and merrier is exactly what we’re aiming for next year.”

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T ALL STARTED WITH A COURSE in product development - now it is a non-profit, student-driven project. Chalmers Solar Team was founded in 2018 by approximately 20 students. In 2019, they competed for the first time in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. Today, the Chalmers Solar Team consists of 23 people divided into seven subgroups; • Aero & Plastics • Low Voltage • High Voltage • Suspension

• Frame • PR • Logistics

Each subgroup is responsible for designing a specific part of the car, but in manufacturing, everyone helps where they can. ’Sköll’ took shape and came to life in the spring of 2021. The body is built of flax fibers instead of the general choice of carbon fiber to explore the possibilities of using more sustainable materials. The goal for 2021 was to complete the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2021 in style, but when this was cancelled due to the Corona Pandemic, the team had to re90 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021

load and set a new goal. Full focus was placed on going to Zolder, Belgium in August 2021 and participating in the European Solar Challenge for a rock-hard 24h endurance race where the team took fifth place. About a month later, Sköll would roll over the starting line in Agadir, Morocco and start a 2500km long race with only the sun as fuel. Five days later, after a magnificent journey across the Atlas Mountains and through desert landscapes, Sköll rolled over the finish line. Recruitment of a new team for Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2023 is now underway. Consat is proud to provide Chalmers Solar Team with racing jerseys made of environmentally friendly #oceanwaste. We lookforward to follow all of their adventures and will continue to be a sponsor. The ideas and driving force behind Solar Team are 100% true to Consat’s values! You can follow their journey and competitions with the car ”Sköll” on all social media platforms.

“Five days later, after a magnificent journey across the Atlas Mountains and through desert landscapes, Sköll rolled over the finish line.”

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92 CONTEXT / #1 / 2021



Lindholmen Open Day – Loaded With Innovative Power for Sweden IN SEPTEMBER, Lindholmen Open Day was arranged for the 6th time – a day for networking, inspiration and launching new innovation! This event has grown from year to year, an event where you are given a chance to take part in the dynamic area and the innovation environment which Lindholmen Science Park brings. Companies from all over the area exhibit during the day, short lectures on new initiatives, coffee, the Lindholm Relay and AW. In addition, the Collaborator of the Year - a person or team that has given creative ideas viability, is named. This year’s edition offered insights and exciting news from many of the collaborative projects run within the ecosystem - all on the theme of Local Attraction & Global Competitiveness! Orvar Hurtig, CEO of Consat Engineering, was invited to speak. Orvar presented how we can strive together to deliver on customers’ expectations and eliminate the big pain points while ensuring a healthy business. “There is no question anymore, electric car sales are flourishing, as well as commercial vehicles that soon will be electrified and thus stand charging infrastructure high on the agenda. Deployment and Operation & Maintenance of charging infrastructure is a major investment. To secure ROI you need high availability and good customer experience,” says Orvar.

PARTICIPATED DURING THE DAY: Ericsson, SAFER, Volvo Group Connected Solutions, Göteborgs Tekniska College, Visual Arena, Dassault Systèmes, Lynk & Co, Drive Sweden, Consat, MobilityXLab, Shift2Rail, CEVT, SKF, AI Sweden, Älvstranden Utveckling, Volvo Group Venture Capital, Adnavem and more! HERE ARE SOME TASTES FROM THE PROGRAM The mobility of the future is developed at Lindholmen Science Park – Organizations and collaboration programs share the latest on tomorrow’s mobility solutions Åsa Tamsons, SVP, and Head of Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, member of Ericsson’s Executive Team – Green, flexible and free – the future of mobility Exciting innovations – CEVT, Consat and Lynk & Co, among others, present innovative launches and ideas AI Sweden – The latest in the AI area and brand new news from Sweden’s national AI centre

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IN 2021 For the 10th year in a row, we have had the honour of becoming one of Sweden’s 100 Career Companies!

KARRIÄRFÖRETAGEN IS AN AWARD FOR EMPLOYERS that offers unique career and development opportunities both for you as a student and for you who have already worked for a few years. Motivation of the jury: “The fact that Consat is the company that has been named Career Company most times says a lot about their exemplary employer branding work. There is a familiar corporate culture here and with the opportunity for personal development, Consat has created a workplace where every employee can feel safe and be themselves. In addition, Consat has a high level of activity around students and young professionals and attends universities to welcome them.” “It’s a great honour to receive this award,” says Jenny Fredér, Marketing Manager at Consat. For us, passion for people is the foundation we stand and build on. We have fantastic employees who develop Consat forward every day at a high pace in innovation and technology. To be named career company of the year for the 10th year in a row feels absolutely incredibly fun.” In 2021, we were also ranked as a top ten career company by young professionals among university engineers and in IT. We were nominated as best employer branding company. Last but not least, we received an award for the best social media of the year, by Karriärföretagen. The prize was awarded in a live broadcast up in Stockholm where Andreas Eklöf and Jenny Fredér received the prize. “It was an incredibly fun experience where we also got some inspiration for our Studio Consat. It is also especially extra fun when you are noticed for what you do, and as in this case with an award,” Andreas says contentedly.

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