Interview: ez-Wheel, Antoine Juan, co-Founder, Marketing and Product Director.
ISN- Can you tell us about ez-Wheel technology, what is it and who came up with this Idea?
At the early stage, we were three engineers from the battery industry, working on batteries powering electric mobile material. We were making fun at how many hours we spent developing and redeveloping batteries and electronics to drive motors just to make wheels turn… Then came the idea of getting everything that is needed to power a wheel in the wheel itself: it means motor, gears, batteries and electronics. It worked and the result was an electric wheel that simply runs by itself. We called it the “easy wheel” and we founded the ez-Wheel company by the end of 2009, based on this simple concept: take any rolling material and power it with an ez-Wheel.
ISN- Every time I go shopping to a supermarket, I have difficulties steering the trolley. is this going to help and how?
Trolleys, and generally speaking, any manually pushed rolling equipment is a target for ez-Wheel. We simply add it as a fifth-wheel in the middle of the four casters, and operate it with a wired or wireless joystick added near the trolley’s handles. Operating the joystick makes the wheel turn and provides an assistance to move forward and backward without effort, even carrying hundreds of kg of payload. Today we focus on professional equipment more than supermarket trolleys, such as order preparation trucks and picking trolleys. These trolleys are used all day long by operators who are packing the items you order from a website for a next-day delivery, or pick-up at a drive supermarket. Those operators push and pull a trolley up to one thousand times per shift… This repeated effort is really painful and can generate professional illnesses such as musculoskeletal disorders. ez-Wheel brings clear improvements in terms of productivity and safety.
ISN- Tell us about the cost for example difference between a normal trolley and the same trolley with ez-Wheel.
We offer a range of electric wheels powering rolling equipment to move hundreds to thousands of kg. The typical price range to add the ez-Wheel and related accessories to a trolley is between 2000 and 3000 Euros. Our experience in professional and industrial areas demonstrates a return on investment within one year or even less, given the time saving, payload increase and workplace accidents reduction resulting from the wheel’s electric assistance.
ISN- Where do you see this product in 10 years.
In the next few years, we plan to address heavy load industries, logistics and delivery operators, food processing plants, hospitals and basically every professional area where manually moving rolling material represent a risk or a limiting factor. Looking ahead, this generic concept is clearly relevant for any wheeled apparatus… We frequently receive inquiries for wheelbarrows, bikes, wheelchairs or even strollers. We trust that in 10 years, ez-Wheel will be to Wheel what e-Mail is to Mail!