Axioma Metering in Kaunas: a company that is Lithuanian to the core creates innovation that conquers the world
Photo: “Axioma Metering”.
Axioma Metering, the smart meter manufacturer, opened its new factory in Kaunas just almost six months ago and it has already won an honorable award at the Kaunas Business Awards “K.A.V.A. 2019”. Their product – the world’s smallest ultrasonic water meter “Qualcosonic W1” – was awarded in the nomination the “Innovation of 2019”. We talk about the development of the factory, innovation and Lithuanian DNA of the company with the head of UAB “Axioma metering” Ignas Vosylius.
From a mechanical impeller to ultrasound
The old generation water meters in each of our homes are mechanical: the water passing through the meter drives the impeller inside that shows how many liters were consumed. According to Ignas Vosylius, although the old generation meters are supposed to last for 10-12 years, after several years of use, their data becomes inaccurate, not to mention the fraud of the users themselves, which cannot be easily avoided due to the primitive design of the meter.
“Our new-generation meter uses ultrasound: an extremely accurate measurement method when water flow is measured by ultrasound, rather than by mechanical parts that are meant to rub off. It will no longer be possible to stop or manipulate such a meter, it will always display extremely accurate data” says the head of the factory.
However, not only the accuracy and reliability of the data is the strength of this innovation: no less important for water users is the possibility to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).
“This means that our meter does not require any physical data retrieval, it works on the Internet of Things, and can automatically send data to the utilities servers, which can automatically calculate the price, cost and send the bill to the user,” says I. Vosylius.
The high precision of the smart meter allows you to capture even the slightest water loss: for example, dripping faucets, and other leaks. In the areas where water is scarce, smart meters may be very helpful.
For example, it is predicted that already in 2025, London will not have enough water because a lot of it is wasted (about 30 percent). According to I. Vosylius, smart meters are inevitable in such cases: they prevent unnecessary leakage and help to react quickly to broken pipes when huge amounts of water run out during accidents.
The new factory is the first of the three planned development phases
The serial production of the smart meter was launched in the new Axioma Metering factory which was opened in February this year and where ultrasonic water and heat metering equipment is produced. Investments in construction and equipment amounted to nearly 12 million Euros; a few more millions were invested in research and development of new smart products.
It is the first of the three planned phases of the company’s development: to build and launch a factory with a production capacity of about one million units a year.
According to the head of the factory, although the results for the first half are still being estimated, it is already clear that they have doubled their capacity of last year, and they expect to grow ten times until the end of the year.
At the second stage of development, planned to be realized by mid-2020, existing production facilities will double their production capacity to 2 million units per year.
The third step is to expand to four million devices a year. In order to achieve this, a second factory will be built, but these plans will depend on the market situation and the need for production.
Robotic production and strong commercial division
According to I. Vosylius, Axioma Metering is a production organization with a strong focus on ambitions, innovation and export growth. That is why employees in the commercial sector are an important part of the team.
Photo: Head of„Axioma Metering“ I. Vosylius.
“We are constantly strengthening and expanding the commercial division team because we are constantly joining new markets: for example, we have recently participated in an exhibition in America and we are determined to go deeper and succeed in this market. We see prospects in both Latin America and Southeast Asia. In other words, we are constantly looking for strong, independent, talented salespeople, product managers and all staff in this field,” says Vosylius.
The other part of the workforce consists of employees working with production lines.
“It is one more thing that distinguishes us from a typical Lithuanian factory with much manual work: most production chains in our factory are automated, robotic. So in production, we are looking for specialists who will maintain the equipment, adjust the settings, change the parameters and so on,” says the director.
The company currently employs around 200 people and is expected to have even more by the end of the year.
Lithuanian DNA of the company
Ignas, also born in Kaunas district, claims that Kaunas is very favorable for such a company in search of employees: “I believe that Kaunas is the best medium in Lithuania for finding competent employees. It is a city that is historically strong in manufacturing, engineering, where the concentration of students and those who are already working in these areas is the largest. After all, the city has the Kaunas University of Technology that is one of the strongest universities of such profile not only in Lithuania but also in the region”.
Although competition for employees is high and steadily growing, according to the head of the company, knowing exactly what to offer, what values to deliver, and being able to show this to future employees, helps to find people who love their job and are good at it.
“We stand out from our competitors in the market because of the real things rather than PR-slogans: first of all, we are a company that is Lithuanian to the bone. We develop and produce Lithuanian products, work with Lithuanian universities, have a Lithuanian team, send products to the whole world from Lithuania and pay all taxes here, in Lithuania,” says Vosylius, naming the qualities that define the DNA of the company.
According to him, this national aspect has become one of the main motives for the majority of employees to work here in addition to free-minded company culture and a sense of community.
“We are a jazzy team, and the creative process is running at its full speed: if we make a mistake, it is our mistake; if we create something, we create it ourselves. An employee of each chain sees the whole picture and feels involved. I think it is very important for us and our employees.”