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Ixtur lifting solutions magnetize

Feb 15, 2016

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    Ixtur Oy from Kaarina, Finland, develops novel lifting components and solutions based on magnet technology to meet automation needs. The innovations are based on bistable magnets: high gripping capacity is achieved at a low energy consumption. The technology has been patented in the US. "IP protection had already been sought when I became an investor. That's why I did," Markku Oksanen, Chief Marketing Officer of Ixtur, tells. A former employee of Nokia, he knows the value of IP.

    The electronically or pneumatically controlled lifting solutions made by Ixtur and based on magnet technology can be applied in automation, for example in industrial production lines, shipyards, or stockhouses for steel products. They can be used in, for example, a robot operating in an automobile factory, where the magnet is integrated in the gripper of the robot.

    The lifting solutions range from small-sized automatic magnets to large lifting beams. They can be used to lift a variety of magnetic pieces, depending on their shape.

    A pioneer in low-energy lifting solutions

    The Ixtur products are unique because of their progressive magnet technology. The lifting capacity is achieved with bistable magnets which operate at a very low energy consumption level. In practice, energy is only consumed when the state of the magnet is switched from the "hold" state to the "release" state (ON-OFF) and vice versa.


    "This makes the devices a very attractive alternative for automated production lines aiming at energy savings. In addition to energy savings, Ixtur magnet technology provides a good size/gripping capacity ratio. It is an important criterion particularly in robot use," Markku Oksanen says. He is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chairman of the Board and has also invested in the business of Ixtur himself.

    "Some solutions based on magnet technology are already on the market, but our products have been praised for their reliability and extremely low energy consumption. Good feedback has been received on, for example, the light weight and the reliability of robot grippers. Just now, a client praised our solution on a YouTube video; they had tested it with a sledge hammer," Oksanen adds, smiling.

    A number of patents have been sought for the invention. The first patent was granted in the summer of 2015 in the US.

    The main market for Ixtur products is Europe. The sale has started off particularly well in Finland, Sweden and Italy. With distributors in 20 countries, orders are steadily placed from Central Europe, the United States and Asia as well.

    Goal: "If you think about a magnet, you think about Ixtur"

    The Ixtur brand is magnetic, considering that the number of personnel working with the product development and testing of Ixtur is more than double the personnel working with the sales and marketing. The web pages build up an image of an international firm of good quality. The products have a streamlined appearance. The images correspond to the goals: Ixtur aims at becoming the market leader in the technology it represents.

    "Our goal for the future is If you think about a magnet, you think about Ixtur," Jussi Artukka says. He works in the sales and marketing and is shown on the right in the group photo.

    According to Artukka, Ixtur lifting solutions are primarily advertised in social media: LinkedIn, YouTube and Google. If is often the leads themselves that contact the distributor who then sends an email to Ixtur sales.

    Another strong message to the field is given by careful investments in the protection of immaterial property rights and by the active IP policy.

    "We actively devise improvements in these solutions which are based on the original invention by Reijo Nätti. Our policy in IP protection is to protect the core of the idea by covering as many aspects as possible, as well as to foresee how competitors might try to circumvent our patent," Markku Oksanen explains.

    "When you have invested a million in the product development, you have good reason to make sure that your ideas are not copied."

    Business-oriented patenting is also a security for plans for the future

    Ixtur had already started cooperation with its IP agent, Turun Patenttitoimisto, when Markku Oksanen joined Ixtur as an equity investor and as Chairman of the Board in 2011.

    "Even today, all investors do not require that their investment object be protected with IP rights. For myself, IP plays an important role, not only because of my background at Nokia."

    "Our processes have been taken good care of by Tommi From, European Patent Attorney (on the right in the group photo). We learned a lot from drawing up the first application. You can say that during the process, From has helped us to think of new ways in which the invention should be written up," Oksanen says.

    Ixtur calls From up whenever interactive and close sparring on technical features is needed. The meetings may take all day. The firm also has an in-house IP specialist, Juho Antikainen, who performs preparatory work relating to drawing up an application.

    According to Tommi From, Ixtur sets an example in buying IP services and sets high standards for its attorney. Business orientation is the most essential criterion.

    "The products of Ixtur are simple as such, and this is their strength. A cost-efficient, competitive and reliable solution has been achieved by keeping it simple. This kind of a competitive edge requires comprehensive protection of inventions, because the business to be made by the invention may grow in many directions. It is thus essential that we seek protection for business that will be important in the future, not merely for the product," Tommi From crystallizes the core idea of high quality patenting.

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