Electrolux spin-out Prodma steps up agile manufacturing
Specialist in refrigeration, heating and dehumidification technologies invests €5 million in former Electrolux plant in Mariestad, Sweden
Cutting-edge expertise and dynamic approach to manufacturing subcontracting attracts international customers
Rapid growth sets the stage for expansion into medtech market
Bringing new ideas to life in manufacturing is not always an easy road to travel. “Anyone can have a groundbreaking idea for a product,” says Swedish entrepreneur Jan Kristoffersson, “but innovators need strong partners to get to market.”
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Closing this gap in the white goods segment is precisely what Kristoffersson had in mind when he set up Prodma in 2016, together with two former colleagues at Electrolux. Their vision was to offer flexible high-tech manufacturing services in the field of refrigeration, heating and dehumidification technologies.
The story of this spin-out venture began with a unique window of opportunity at the Electrolux factory in Mariestad, a small yet industrially vibrant town situated on the shore of Lake Vänern, Southwest Sweden.
“When Electrolux announced it would vacate the Mariestad factory we formed a new company and stepped in, keeping most equipment and staff intact. Our business model is to harness other people’s ideas and guide them through prototyping, testing and production,” Kristoffersson explains.
The bet paid off in no time. In the space of just three years Prodma’s revenue surged from €700,000 to €15 million. Some 90 people are now employed at the 68,000 sqm plant which, far from being abandoned, proves that innovation is alive and well in Mariestad.
SALAD BARS GO DIGITAL
Prodma’s first customer was Picadeli, a food & beverage company that set out to redefine fast food with salads based on a “digital freshness” concept. Kristoffersson and his team took on the challenge and developed together with Picadeli the refrigeration technology for the fully connected salad bar called “Arctic”, which won the LSA Innovation Award in 2017.
Picadeli has since become the European leader in self-service salads.
“The digitised salad bar provides real-time information on the status of ingredients and customers’ preferred choices. This means Picadeli can both optimise logistics and tailor the selection to customers’ tastes using data insights.”
It was a flying start says Kristoffersson as he reflects back. Prodma’s investment of €5 million to upgrade the Mariestad factory was “worth every penny” and included a new automated punch and bending line, robotic press brake systems and CNC pipe profile bending machines.
“The upgrade allowed us to develop a wide range of metal sheet and pipe geometries and to meet customer expectations in a more agile way. We also use 3D printing to create prototype parts,” he adds.