The Engineers from Kaunas Compare Themselves to Dakar Race Support Technicians
14 min read
An engineering company based in Kaunas often tackles seemingly insurmountable client issues by devising unique and tailor-made devices. According to the engineering team, the field of technology is in a perpetual state of evolution, demanding continual solutions to enhance and streamline processes. Therefore, the company is consistently engaged in creating innovations, as there is no shortage of demand for solutions.
Many years of experience
“We are not like Dakar rally racers, basketball players, or other athletes who amass laurels and international awards. For the most part, we remain behind the scenes, akin to the technical personnel supporting them. We execute our work with technical precision, aiding factories and companies in resolving the challenges they encounter,” describes Vytautas Daniulaitis, Director of the company Aksonas UAB.
The Kaunas-based company consistently undertakes projects involving scientific, technological, and experimental development. It manufactures devices aimed at enhancing work efficiency and productivity within industries, encompassing an array of machinery, conveyors, and dispensers. A significant 80 percent of these products are created with original designs.
Daniulaitis says that the beginning of Aksonas UAB activity was not easy. In 2005, the company’s founders began their journey in a garage, pooling their 15 years of engineering experience to establish their own business. According to him, at first the team did not quite imagine how the desired activity should be developed, and saw the situation somewhat through rose-coloured glasses. In addition, even business consultants couldn’t always address seemingly elementary issues.
Nonetheless, the founders persevered with enthusiasm, gradually securing their first orders. Over time, the team expanded its ranks every six months. Presently, Aksonas UAB comprises 15 specialists, including device assemblers and engineers with over 30 years of experience in the field of machine manufacturing.
Solving client problems
Engineering specialists offer clients comprehensive services from A to Z, encompassing not only design but also the manufacturing of the desired devices. Each working day at Aksonas UAB is accompanied by new innovations created for clients, which facilitate their activities. According to V. Daniulaitis, the contemporary engineering field has advanced to such a degree that individual companies cannot possibly possess the all-encompassing knowledge and resources required for their undertakings.
“Due to rapid technological advancement, an array of intricacies emerges, making specialization within specific fields particularly vital. A mere fraction, around 1 percent, of clients have the capacity to handle all the requisite tasks independently. In such cases, they simply require guidance in the right direction.
However, most seek a comprehensive service. Situations often arise where individuals possess ideas but lack the know-how to execute them. Our engineers assume the role of devising solutions and assisting partners in materializing their concepts,” says the Director of the engineering company.
Andrius Mikučiauskas, one of the founders of Aksonas UAB, reinforces this sentiment. The company is responsible for constructing and designing devices within the company. While the fundamental principles of mechanics remain unchanged, the engineering field continually evolves. Innovations in electronics, programming, and sensor technology, which monitor and collect data, are abundant. The engineers at Aksonas UAB respond to these advancements, striving to integrate existing solutions into their operations.
Achieving satisfactory results
Over the span of nearly 17 years, the Kaunas-based engineering company has successfully executed several hundred projects. Aksonas UAB has a variety of clients, ranging from scientific research institutions to agricultural enterprises and farms. However, the predominant collaboration lies within the industrial sector.
Prominent companies such as Achema, Lifosa, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics are among the clients of the company. Notably, Aksonas UAB engages in numerous non-standard projects with its rapidly expanding client, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics. Among the products that have already been developed, there is a dispenser with an accuracy of 0.05 g, and a device that is currently under construction, which should be able to cut tubes as fine as a strand of hair. The engineers responsible for crafting these unique devices emphasize that the client-presented tasks can be exceedingly challenging, and all projects undertaken by the company demand meticulous precision.
“As actors often say their best role is yet to come, similarly, it holds true in our line of work. Each project is interesting in its own way, and throughout the company’s existence, not a single device has been replicated. The problems presented by each client are distinct, thus necessitating unique problem-solving approaches. Hence, the most gratifying outcome of our work is the successful construction of a functional device. When embarking on innovative creations, there’s always an underlying sense of anxiety that something may fail. Consequently, accomplishing the task successfully feels like a weight lifted off our shoulders,” says A. Mikučiauskas
However, according to him, the most challenging facet of an engineer’s role is to sift through various potential solutions and identify the most suitable one, ensuring the evolving technology operates as envisioned. He highlights that the process is not as straightforward as it may appear, as unforeseen circumstances invariably surface. However, teamwork and reliable, dedicated colleagues help to solve the difficulties that arise.
Emphasising quality and durability
Discussing the executed projects, V. Daniulaitis, the Head of Aksonas UAB, highlights that his team gains at least one new client annually. More often than not, referrals stem from other businesses that have availed the company’s services and are content with the quality delivered. According to Daniulaitis, Lithuania has relatively few companies with a comparable profile, ensuring a steady influx of work and fresh engineering tasks.
“Upon receiving an order, we invest ample time contemplating how to enhance the device, making it more efficient, durable, and robust, while ensuring its subsequent successful operation. In the field of industry, the products must function like a fuel dispenser, i.e., be operational 24/7. A lapse in attention, diligence, or knowledge could lead to a device malfunction within a mere 2-3 months.
Hence, our approach demands focus, patience, and a strong sense of responsibility. We have already learned the lesson that every task warrants the utmost precision. Although some clients want us to do the work faster, those who understand the specifics of our field continue to work with us,” he explains.
As Aksonas UAB expands its endeavours, it also collaborates with scientific institutions. We are currently implementing a new project together with Kaunas University of Technology. In the past, the company effectively collaborated with a Japanese university, jointly developing a prototype of a human hand – a noteworthy representation of humanoid robot manipulators within Europe.
Partnerships save time and provide new opportunities
- Daniulaitis also emphasizes the significance of partnerships when discussing the relatively daring endeavour of exporting the offered services to foreign countries. In his view, proximity to clients is usually advantageous for companies engaged in engineering device production, facilitating prompt assistance if required. However, venturing into foreign markets, especially those of Scandinavian countries, can be facilitated by affiliating with the Rocket Cluster. This organization brings together professionals from different engineering fields so that, by sharing knowledge and experience, they can provide solutions that best meet client expectations. The Director of Aksonas UAB observes that after collaborating with cluster partners for a couple of years, they have already achieved the successful implementation of multiple projects.
“Rocket Cluster forms an assembly of complementary companies. While some are steered by proactive managers, others specialize in preparing the essential automation and control systems for our mechanical devices. Thanks to the cluster, we have a network of resources to turn to when challenges arise. This mutual commitment that unites us accelerates work and clearly defines its distribution. Therefore, the pursuit of suitable collaborators no longer consumes valuable time,” notes the Director of an engineering company operating in Kaunas.
According to Daniulaitis, the field of engineering is demanding, necessitating a profound sense of responsibility, with the outcomes often requiring considerable patience. Hence, he draws a parallel between the responsibilities of an engineer and those of a doctor. According to him, just as doctors require a decade to translate acquired knowledge into effective patient treatment, engineers too must invest years in practice to master the construction of devices that fulfil predetermined functions.
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