The world-class company started with a grandfathers lathe
In 1986, Jüri Joller founded a cooperative with his friends (today, in the sense of the day, OÜ). The Viru cooperative meant smart boys and Jüri’s grandfather’s lathe from 1936. They made molds and presses to produce brake rubber cuffs, which were not available anywhere at that time.
In 1992, Jüri Joller registered a private limited company on the basis of the former cooperative and has approached it with the same commitment and honest responsibility as in raising six children in his family.
Jüri chose engineering as his field of study and studied at the Tallinn Polytechnic School to a technician of industrial electrical equipment. From there, the road took him to Tallinn University of Technology, which he graduated from in 1994 as engineer of electrical drives and industry automation. During his studies, Jüri Joller also went to Kempten University of Technology in Germany to acquire knowledge. The young engineer attended internship at the German company Magnet-Schultz. The internship was even so successful that, as you can read in the company’s yearbook, Mr. Joller worked there for five years, studying the dynamic properties of proportional solenoids and developing his innovative microprocessor control system for electromagnets, about which he also wrote his thesis at TUT. He remained associated with Tallinn University of Technology for 10 years – he defended his master’s and doctoral degrees, was an associate professor of power electronics and vice-dean of research and development at the Faculty of Power Engineering.
A significant milestone was the development and production of innovative IGBT traction drives for Tallinn trams in order to reduce their energy consumption. This was followed by the integration of a third, low-entrance section between the two tram cars. Jüri Joller’s doctoral thesis, a series of research articles and 4 TUT patent applications mainly on methods of using ultracapacitors and control devices in electric vehicle traction units were also completed on the topic of energy-efficient traction drives for trams.
In connection with this, co-operation began with the Helsinki City Transport Authority, which ordered the renewal of the city’s trams. Finland had joined the European Union, and according to EU directives, trams had to be wheelchair accessible. Jüri Joller was faced with the challenge of how to design an additional part between tram cars so that the trams would run at the same speed and safety as the others and would not cause problems with the travel time schedule due to length. The power of the traction units had to be increased by about 30%, disc brakes and rail brakes were added. Joller reminds that if the work had to be completed on the last day of the project at 8 am, when the mayor and a member of the parliament in a wheelchair will arrive, at night the depot was still working hard – one of the converters had burned out at the last minute. Today, 52 trams run in Helsinki, the electrical part of which was planned by ET-Ex Machina. The modernized drive control electronics and their testing equipment are also manufactured by the same company.
Based on the experience of modernized trams, preparations began in 2008 for the procurement of new trams by HKL. Jüri developed the new tram specifications for traction and electrical parts. The order was received by the Finnish company Transtech OY, which developed and delivered the first trams in 2014. In 2015, Škoda bought a majority stake in Transtech, and today several hundred trams of this type have been produced.
Participating in such a success story does not mean that the development of trams is the main job of “ET-Ex Machina”, although it has been involved for more than 16 years. However, it does not account for the bulk of the company’s turnover. The company works with industrial automation and engineering solutions, specializing in electric drives, automation and testing equipment. The work of ET-Ex Machina benefits the manufacturers of original machines and equipment the most. Over the last 5 years, microcontroller boards with user interface, special power supplies and test equipment have been further developed, on the basis of which specially designed control systems and automatic test equipment can be developed and manufactured.
ET-EX Machina provides custom electronics and automation
Chartered Electrical Engineer, D.Sc., CEO