For Lindinvent Excellent Indoor Climate Is About More Than Ventilation
When Herman Lindborg developed a fume cupboard ventilation system for Lund’s Kemicentrum (Centre for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering) in the early 1990s, he could hardly have imagined what it would lead to. The resulting company, Lindinvent, currently has five locations throughout Sweden, has about 90 employees, and is run by Herman’s sons Mats and Thomas. What began as fume cupboards has now developed into a an integrated installation system in which smart products work together to provide excellent indoor climate with low energy consumption.
Lindinvent’s headquarters are located in the Gastelyckan industrial area of Lund. In the entrance, there is a touchscreen illustrating the indoor climate of the building. It can show the temperature of each room, how many people are in each room, where sun screens are down, and how much energy is being used. Lindinvent works with ventilation, but they realize that excellent indoor climate is about more than just good ventilation.
The foundation for Lindinvent was laid by Herman Lindborg, an electrical engineer at Kemicentrum working to better the researchers’ working environment. He developed improved fume cupboards, which greatly reduced the risk of dangerous gases leaking into the room, and received a grant from the university for his invention. As the fume cupboards needed to be equipped with alarms and his sons Mats and Thomas needed summer jobs, his sons stayed home to solder circuit boards in the family’s garage in Dalby so when autumn arrived the finished fume cupboards were ready to be mounted.
Akademiska hus, the owner of many Lund University buildings, became interested in their work, especially as the building of the Biomedical Centre in the mid-1990s required a ventilation system for its labs.
“It’s unlikely when you look back at it,” explains Thomas Lindborg. “At that time, Mats and I were studying to be engineers. We didn’t have a company, but dad had a sole proprietorship. Despite this, Akademiska hus dared to invest in us. We created Lindinvent at that time. Since then, there have been so many things that have gone right – but it has also been hard work.”
Twenty-five years later, Herman Lindborg is still involved in the company as chairman of the board and as a product developer. Meanwhile, Mats has become the CEO and Thomas the vice president and head of sales and development.
The company continues to innovate within the ventilation industry. They were quick to see the possibilities of sensors, digitization, and the internet within the industry. Already in 2001, they began developing a novel product – an active air diffuser with built-in sensors. Having sensors within the ventilation in the ceiling makes it possible to collect information about what is happening in the room, such as the room temperature and how many people are present. This information can then be supplemented with information about solar radiation, lighting, and radiators. Adjusting the indoor climate it is possible through changing ventilation, but it is also possible to work with sun screens, radiators, and lighting controls in individual rooms.
“Everything is connected,” according to Mats Lindborg. “If you don’t have sun protection, then fantastic ventilation is not enough. You also don’t need full light if there is light from outside. We are good at holistic thinking.”
The indoor climate for each individual room is controlled by Lindinvent’s software and the data collected can be presented in an easy to understand format. This makes it easy to see what is happening in the building, which in turn makes it possible to save energy. Also, this information can facilitate and optimize service and cleaning work.
“The biggest benefit is that you can drastically reduce energy consumption while maintaining the indoor climate,” declares Thomas.
By having sensors gathered in the ceiling, it is possible to increase flexibility and make a technically advanced product without increasing the cost. Instead of having switches and controls in the walls, Lindinvent works with wireless, battery-free switches and enables indoor climate control by phone through reading a QR code. Since cables are not needed in the walls for switches or temperature controls, installation costs are lower and it is easier to move walls when needed.
Although Lindinvent is a small company in an area with many large actors, they have found their share of the market and can deliver their own solutions.
“We are a smaller company and can be flexible,” explains Mats. “We have a development department and service department next door to each other and that makes it possible to share feedback between them immediately. Thomas is our head of sales, but also works within product development so he hears what customers want to have and then uses that information. Our dedicated staff, who will do anything to complete a task, is also an important asset.”
“Our most important capability is that we dare to get involved in things and when we encounter problems, we see possibilities and then innovate to create a cutting-edge product,” says Thomas. “To dare is an important part of being an entrepreneur.
As a result of never settling but instead continuously innovating and improving products, the company now has five offices in Sweden, about 90 employees, and almost SEK 200 million in sales.
“With new products underway, we hope to be able to accelerate and increase sales further. Despite the corona pandemic, we increased sales in 2020 and we will definitely continue to increase sales in the coming 4-5 years. Requirements for low energy use in buildings are increasing and that suits us,” concludes Mats Lindborg.
More about Lindinvent
Lindinvent was founded in 1995. It is headquartered in Lund, but also has offices in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Umeå and Linköping. The Gothenburg office is the newest addition, having opened in 2020. Lindinvent currently exports to Norway, Denmark and the Baltic states.
Lindinvent’s systems are most often found in offices, such as within the Västra Hamnen and Hyllie neighborhoods of Malmö, The Spark in Medicon Village, and the new Axis headquarters in Lund. However, their systems are also found in schools, healthcare facilities, laboratories, cleanrooms, and processing facilities across the country.
Lindinvent is involved in Campus Valla, the Linköping student housing project named Construction of the Year 2020 (Årets Bygge 2020) by Byggindustrin, the construction industry newspaper, and was certified Miljöbyggnad Guld, the highest possible environmental certification issued by the Swedish Green Building Council. Many of the properties Lindinvent has worked with have achieved high certification requirements, including buildings in Mamlö’s Hyllie and Västra Hamnen areas and in Stockholm’s Arenastaden.
In the beginning, the Lindinvent “company car” was a beige Volvo 240, but now the company has fleet of about 40 electric hybrid vehicles. Lindinvent’s environmental commitment means that they compensate for their climate emissions and have installed solar panels on their office buildings.
Text: Caroline Wendt
Translation: Finlay MacGregor
Photo: Caroline Wendt