After talking to Mattias Gruber, Innovation Manager at ESBE Technology Center, it’s clear that the future, is not just a point in time. Nope! At ESBE, the future is a fully-integrated part of the work process. They create and test tomorrow’s products. » Read the exciting interview with Mattias Gruber

We start at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. A university that researches and educates in technology and natural sciences at a high level internationally. Mattias worked here as a researcher before starting at ESBE seven years ago. 


Describe your background from Chalmers

”I am an engineer specialising in product development. My doctorate is in energy and environmental technology however, as I switched path.

At Chalmers I worked as a researcher on a project focusing on optimising indoor climate management in office buildings. The aim was to get the various systems in the building, like cooling, heating and ventilation, to work well together in order to minimise energy consumption, and improve air quality and thermal comfort.” 


But you’ve worked at ESBE for seven years?

”That’s right. I started at ESBE in 2014, and I’ve had various roles in the research and development department. I started as a research engineer and then became a coordinator of the research and testing activities in the research and development department. Now I’m Innovation and Technology Center Manager, which means I also have reports in the Technology Center.”

Such exciting work! Manager of the Technology Center and of innovation projects. What does that involve?

”I have two roles, which get together in many ways, but which should be seen separately in the name of clarity. The management role at ESBE Technology Center mainly involves planning, coordinating and following up on tests connected to new product and technology development, together with my group. The job also includes developing testing methods and testing equipment. 

For the innovation part, I’m coordinator of our innovation projects – partly through managing projects and partly through my responsibility for the overall strategy that all of our projects follow.”


ESBE Technology Center is said to be one of leaders of its kind in Europe. Would you agree?

”Yes, I would say so. To be leaders in our field requires a lot of knowhow, and knowhow largely comes from experience. So we test our products via experiments in different contexts, observing what happens and then hashing out a solution.” 


What types of tests? And do you need much equipment?

”The products are tested from many aspects – and each aspect basically requires its own equipment – and we have quite a broad range of products. Generally speaking, we test our products for performance/function, and robustness or life cycle – but if we break these three areas down into smaller parts, that’s quite a lot of testing, as I’m sure you understand.

It could be tests for behaviour under high pressure, under heavy load, under high/low temperatures, high/low flows, pressure surges, sullied conditions and so on. And of course we also want to monitor and measure as much as possible in order to be able to draw the correct conclusions. So yes, we need a lot of equipment.”

How do you stay up-to-date with all this testing activity?

”In 2016, we drew up a modernisation plan for ESBE Technology Center, part of which involved producing new testing equipment, which has led to today’s highly-comprehensive testing program for our products.” 



Looking at your work, I guess there’s no ”normal day at work”, but I’ll ask anyway: What does a normal workday look like?

”There’s not really such a thing as a normal workday; the tasks are really varied. But common elements include discussions and follow-ups on test results, and project meetings for the current development projects for which I represent Technology Center. And there’s always the innovation work, which requires me to take part in various discussion groups, panels and seminars in order to keep myself up-to-date and to implement the insights I learn into our projects.” 



How does ESBE Technology Center get work? Is it something you develop yourselves? Or do orders come in via OEM work, product development or some other way?

”The lion’s share of the work at ESBE Technology Center comes via development projects, where we work from a test schedule drawn up by the project group at the start of the project. The test schedule is in turn based on three aspects: 

1.    Method-based testing
Based on external and internal testing methods that all products in a certain category have to go through.

2.    Requirements-based testing
Based on methods tailored to the product in order to secure new requirements from the project and customers.

3.    Risk-based testing
Based on methods tailored for verifying risks identified for the current builds or products.” 

If you were to predict the future, what type of technology or product do you think will set the tone for the coming years?

”In our innovation activities, we work from 5 mega trends that we feel will influence the direction of the market and demand for a long time to come. These include technologies and products for sustainable energy systems, functional cities, increased convenience throughout the entire product lifespan, and increased well-being and comfort. In my opinion, products with technology and characteristics that fit these trends will do really well on the market.”

Lastly, a few more personal questions. 
What characterises ESBE as an employer?

“I would say a long-sighted approach and a will to develop.”

How would you describe the corporate culture at ESBE?

”In two terms. Team spirit and sensitivity. We have a fantastic ability to join forces whilst creating an environment that suits all individuals.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

”I get satisfaction from new knowledge and from learning, so my job suits me down to the ground. Working with technology in a creative environment where I’m constantly challenged is just the best.”

What’s the best advice you would give to anyone who’s curious about what it’s like to work at ESBE?

”Apply for vacant jobs or send in a spontaneous application. ESBE is a stable and ambitious company in an exciting sector.”

Lastly. What do you like to do in your free time?

”Easy – to do stuff with my family! And the house – renovation projects are fun. Plus researching, talking to clever people, scrutinising different solutions then going for it. I like doing that.”