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Mapping the gaps of customer needs

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Johnny Skagersjö – Senior Application Engineer at Piab

My role in the product launch of the MX suction cup as a Senior Application Engineer was in the end section of the product development phase finalizing the sizes of the suction cups in the family and to test on different objects and materials to better understand performance capabilities in different applications scenarios.

As a senior application engineer my role is very much to focus on the application needs and the customer expectations and with my experience, I bring in this outside view and insights to each project. In this project phase it was also important to consider the complete package of the product offering including fittings, other possible features and deciding on making it configurable and thereby, easier to buy and use. So, within the Piab organization I am one of the ambassadors of a product like this – defining and conveying the value and purpose of the cup, what to expect and what not to do with it to fully prepare our sales colleagues in their task of consulting the customer in their suction cup choice.

We saw that the growing segment of e-commerce needed a suction cup that can pick various objects and materials. This was an untapped potential that needed to be filled to further support logistic supply chains evolving. Vacuum technology is a great source and a natural fit for handling a broad variety of products. Hence, our approach was to develop a more generic suction cup rather than a product specific one. The piGRIP® suction cups gave us extensive experience in handling bags, cardboard, and configurability. These insights led to the development of various shapes and fittings making the MX suction cup even more flexible to adapt to different requirements starting from the aspect of how a cup should behave when in use in an e-commerce setting. With the MX suction cup we took the chance of being at the forefront of this market segment with a fantastic suction cup that can cover various needs from lifting heavy to big objects as well as small and fragile items or permeable packages.

We have several interesting products being launched this year like the 22 suction cups and piSAFE® for the automotive industry. The development of these product lines as well as the MX suction cup family are based on our engineering expertise paired with the in-depth customer insights. That, for me, is the Piab way. We make products that customers really need – even if they sometimes do not express this explicitly. We analyze the different industries we are working in and try to fill the gaps in handling technology to support our customers in their success on a daily basis. We have started off this way and we keep evolving. For me, our anniversary year is at the peak of what we are developing now.

Being part of Piab over the last nearly 20 years I have experienced the transition from a rather small company to a market leader with a big value contribution in many industries. If we do not ensure our products do their job, production lines stop. That is a huge responsibility. Piab took on the role as a game changer. We help our customer improve their operations for the better daily – and that simply feels good.

My first year with Piab I spent as a design engineer in R&D, finalizing a product for our organization that initially had started as my and my colleague’s examination work from university. During this first period my enthusiasm for understanding automation applications and customer needs grew substantially and I started to realize that my natural fit with Piab was to become more of a mix of technical knowledge of our products, the applications they fit into and our customers true unmet needs. Though it seems like a digital and electrical revolution has started, compressed air as a source to generate vacuum will never end. Even if its technology development is in its infancy it has come very far, and it will continue to be used for its simplicity and controllability to provide great vacuum solutions to challenging applications that bring customer success. This is why, after all these years, it still is so thrilling to work for Piab.

Johnny Skagersjö Johnny Skagersjö Senior Application Engineer
Vacuum Automation
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