Lode B.V. specializes in developing equipment for measuring effort. We are talking about medically certified ergometers. Sustainable quality equipment that is used by top athletes and in medical rehabilitation processes. This relatively small company has created a worldwide sales market, with the Excalibur Sport as their showpiece.
We are helping Lode with the development of the Pedal Force Meter (PFM) PCBA. This addition to the existing ergometers ensures that the power someone delivers during the tests or exercises can also be measured. Previously, only the braking power was measured, but with this PFM one can measure force as well. This measurement is much faster and gives a clearer picture.
The standard in ergometry
In this process we work closely with Jan Reinder Fransens, R&D manager at Lode. When we ask him about Lode’s products, his enthusiasm for the products and his work is immediately noticeable. ‘Our Excalibur has become the standard in ergometry. There really isn’t a better one out there. We are proud of that and work hard for it. Quality and sustainability are our top priorities. That applies to all products. We develop solid devices with a minimum lifespan of 7 years.’, Jan Reinder explains.
A few years ago, Lode and Pink Fluffy Unicorns (then Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc.) also worked together. To get the User Interface Module (UIM) approved, Casper helped with the redesign of the PCB. ‘With Casper’s help, knowledge, and expertise we managed to pass EMC compliance with a good result. He has been open and honest in his communication right from the start. I love that. It enables a no-nonsense relationship where you always know what you can expect. Our first collaboration had its troubles, but the result was exactly what we needed. And in the end that is all that matters. In development, things almost never go right the first time.’
Troubled years between the collaborations
The years between our first and current collaboration have been turbulent at Lode when it comes to the internal development team. When their lead engineer retired, it turned out that his successor Johannes was terminally ill. The plan of Johannes training the new junior engineer, Sander, to be his successor was immediately dismissed. And thus, a lack of knowledge arose. ‘After Johannes’ death, Sander continued with the development of the PFM PCBA. He did that well. Sander has managed to turn the idea into a working prototype. In the meantime, he missed the guidance of a senior engineer and decided to apply for a job. At Pink Fluffy Unicorns, eventually.’
Indeed. The Sander that we talk about is “our” Sander. Because of Sander’s departure there was a need for external support for the further development from a prototype to a usable product, and so Jan Reinder contacted us again.
‘Of course it was beneficial that Sander and his knowledge about this product were at Pink Fluffy Unicorns. But even if Sander had found his new place elsewhere, I would have called Casper about this. Our working methods fit well together. I have had cooperation with other parties in the past, but those turned out to be less successful. The extra knowledge and experience that Casper brings is valuable. And the fact that he can now work directly with Sander on our PFM is a definite plus. They act quickly in case of issues. That costs money, but then the issue is truly solved.’