Global leader in development and production of high-voltage pulse generators
ScandiNova is a global leader in development and production of high-voltage pulse generators. Today, the company has a key function in radiation therapy, cancer treatment and research accelerators, and has supplied nearly 500 systems to around a hundred customers all over the world. One of these is CERN in Geneva.
“The technology we’ve developed is more reliable, has greater precision, and is more efficient than the previous technology based on electron tubes.”
At first, research facilities were sceptical about the technology, because other actors had previously tested another type of semiconductor technology, but failed.
“It wasn’t until we had a number of customer references from industrial and medical technology companies, which were the first to test our new technology, that we could start to talk seriously with CERN,” explains Mikael Lindholm, sales manager and one of the founders of the company.
In 2008 the company received its first order from CERN, through a collaboration with the CEA research institute in Paris. That order opened the door to the rest of the research world, including MAX IV in Sweden, MIT in the US, Tsinghua University in Asia, and Australian Synchrotron in Australia.
This type of collaboration requires patience. You need to put yourself into the researchers’ world, and understand the requirements regarding, for example, reliability, pulse quality, radiation, vacu-ums, diagnostics, and high and low temperatures.
“Since we started, we’ve received orders worth a billion kronor, most of them involving the research lab.
“What makes the collaboration unique is that the researchers know more than we do about the complete accelerator system for their applications. They’re demanding high performance and have innovative ideas regarding new functions, which drives and finances our technical development. It also benefits our other customers, and gives us a head start on the market.
“Time and time again, we’ve set ourselves challenges, and promised new levels of performance that we’ve never previously attained, to meet the researchers’ needs, and made special adaptations to our machines. Every time, we’ve either succeeded or got sufficiently close that the researchers could accept the system. Quite simply, they’ve helped us become unique, and we’ve accumulated a vast and extremely valuable bank of experience.
“The challenge of collaborating with research facilities is not just in taking the technology to new levels; such collaborations involve enormous projects with special adaptations and short series.”
Mikael Lindholm, after a workshop at CERN together with other Swedish companies:
“They’d like to have more suppliers from Sweden. And because the projects are sometimes so big, I think that Swedish companies, in some cases, could benefit from joining forces and offering a package solution, for example in connection with building new parts for a research facility. I think that would boost the chances of small companies getting into this market. Once you’ve got a foothold, it’s easier to become involved in new projects from all corners of the world. The competition for these projects has also become less over the years, because fewer and fewer companies dare to, or are allowed to, focus on project-based activities. This means that companies with self-confidence and the ability to provide successful solutions have access to a big market, with good profitability.
Publishing year 2018