Digitalization enables development of smart products, even in applications where the technology is relatively simple. In collaboration with Prevas, Human Care is developing cloud-connected lifting solutions that prevent occupational injuries and help healthcare providers plan their work.
Human Care is a Swedish company with main offices and product development in Stockholm. The company also has sales offices in the US, Canada, Holland and Australia. The company’s overhead lifts are used at assisted-living facilities, hospitals and in home environments for moving people with disabilities, such as from beds to wheelchairs or from wheelchairs to bathtubs.
“With the help of Prevas, we’ve created a future-safe technical platform and positioned ourselves as a player that’s leading development in the field,” says Göran Möllebo, global product manager at Human Care. “Our new overhead lifts are the market’s most advanced.”
Patients are traditionally lifted manually by two persons. A ceiling-mounted, motor-driven lift makes things easier for staff, preventing both occupational injuries and sick leaves. Only one person is needed to for a lift, and additionally, patients are moved with greater safety, comfort and dignity.
Full responsibility for product development
Human Care’s lift system consists of a ceiling-mounted aluminum rail and a motor-driven lift that can be run back and forth with a carrier device. A sling is suspended from the sling. Slings are available in various configurations depending on the size of the patient and type of movement. The company has been refining the system since the 1990s, and in recent years, Prevas has participated in this work. The fourth product generation is now being launched with Prevas having been responsible for all aspects of product development – project management, mechanics, electronics and software.
“Here in the Stockholm region, Prevas has assembled considerable expertise and experience from projects in life science,” says Thomas Schaumann, regional manager at Prevas. “In collaboration with Human Care, we’ve had a unique opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to an interesting development project with major market potential.”
What’s new in Human Care’s new product generation? Besides design and mechanical improvements, the most important change is that the equipment is now software based – something that opens new opportunities.
“The overhead lifts employ new technology that provides greater flexibility in control and in monitoring use,” says Thomas Schaumann.
Cloud service creates added value
Just as in all other branches, products need to be connected to the cloud to provide additional customer benefits. This even applies to applications in which the technology is relatively simple. By connecting the overhead lifts to a cloud service, information about product status and use can be stored and analyzed.
“This information is of substantial value to Human Care’s customers,” says Mikael Wadlund, digitalization and IoT manager at Prevas, and responsible for development of the cloud function. “They can, for example, see how often a certain piece of equipment is used and at which times of day. Equipment maintenance also becomes proactive when service can be planned based on operational information and the collective ‘experience’ from all the supplier’s connected products.”
Equipping a hospital ward or an assisted-living facility with overhead lifts entails a major investment in a technical system that replaces manual tasks. The capability to extract data about product use therefore represents considerable added value. The information can, for example, be used to facilitate scheduling or to conduct training if it turns out that use is decreasing.
“When we demonstrate our products at trade shows around the world, we put a strong focus on communicating the new values the software-based platform provides,” says Göran Möllebo. “This is a challenge in a traditional branch but we’re seeing major interest among buyers.”
Prevas, a partner on the digital journey
Work with expanding product functionality continues with enhancements to the software and user interface. Human Care’s customers will be placing new demands on the products and consequently help drive development forward, with Prevas playing an important role.
“Prevas staff contributes with knowledge and experience that is invaluable for our product development,” says Göran Möllebo. “They also demonstrate considerable engagement and interest in how our products are used in actual healthcare situations.”
“The project has been especially valuable for us since it is based on an analog product that we’ve been able to enhance by adding a certain measure of digitalization,” says Mikael Wadlund. “We believe that many companies have diamonds in the rough in their product portfolios, but that they don’t know how to take the necessary steps to lift them to the next level. This is where Prevas can help out.”
Do you want to know more about this project or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact us.
Robert Tönhardt, Regional Manager, e-mail