Petwalk solutions GmbH
high-tech-door for cat and dog
Doors for pets
Let the petWalk!
If we believe the advertising, cats would buy whiskas, as we know. But there are needs for house cats that are at least as important as a tasty snack three times a day: To be able to go in and out of the house as often as the four-legged roommate wants. What does this have to do with? A whole lot.
In 2009 the company petWALK Solutions GmbH approached Ginzinger electronic systems. It was about the development of a worldwide unique electronic animal valve for passive houses, which should solve the problem pragmatically. What at the beginning seemed to be manageable, soon turned out to be technically complex. Topics such as thermal insulation, suitability for passive houses, burglary resistance, alarm, autonomous opening and closing, RFID, etc. made the electronic development for Ginzinger electronic systems a challenging project.
An extensive energy supply management in case of a power failure as well as the embedded software programming for the 32bit microcontroller were important requirements for this new development. In the end, the expectations and customer wishes had to be fulfilled as with a high-quality front door.
Already after the first conversation it was clear to me that I had found a reliable and competent partner in Mr. Ginzinger.
Klaus Kindl | Managing Director| petWALK Solutions GmbH
Questions to our client
Mr. Kindl, how did you get the idea to develop high-tech doors for animals?
From painful experience, which every animal owner knows. With us there were three cats, which were annoying, because they always wanted to get in or out, if it did not fit. So in 2009 I was looking for an animal valve for my passive house. I was surprised that there was no supplier of animal doors for passive houses. This stimulated my entrepreneurial imagination and motivated me to develop this to close a gap in the market.
How did this product development go, how long did it take?
At the beginning I thought to myself that it can't be that difficult to develop a door for a passive house. But I soon realized how complex and technically challenging my project was. It quickly became clear that I needed professional partners. And, as so often in life, sometimes luck is added. Because my industrial designer at the time recommended the company Ginzinger, which I didn't know. Already after my first conversation it was clear to me that with Mr. Ginzinger I had found a reliable and competent partner. We understood each other from the beginning. All in all, the development lasted from 2010 to 2013, combined with many conversations, aberrations and an ultimately successful end.
In every development the end users have to be considered or involved - what did this look like in your case, where it was necessary to "work together" with cats?
I have already mentioned our three cats, with tomcat Gonzo playing a very special role in product development. He was used again and again in product development. And this until the high cat age of 21 years. We also worked closely with animal houses to see how cats accepted our solutions.
So you started developing doors just for cats?
Yeah, right. It wasn't until the second phase that doors for dogs were added. The only difference is the size of the door, but the technical requirements are the same.
What are the requirements for an animal door for passive houses? What are the first questions asked in customer meetings?
Of course, when you install a door in a passive house, the issue of thermal insulation always comes into play. An equally frequently asked question is: "Do other animals get into the house? The issue of security is also important. Logically, therefore, a door must be burglar-proof and equipped with alarm system must be equipped. All these customer requirements and technical specifications made product development so challenging. Basically, a petWALK door must meet the same high technical requirements and customer wishes as a high-quality front door. The only difference is the size.
Are your petWALK doors primarily installed in new buildings or can existing apartments or houses also be retrofitted?
That's almost even. But of course it is easier to plan the necessary hole for our petWALK door in a new building. Our petWALK doors can be installed almost everywhere, no matter if wall, glass or door.
You mentioned the question of your customers how to prevent strange animals from entering the house through the door. What solutions do you offer?
The cats and dogs open and close the petWALK door themselves. This works because petWALK pet doors use both implanted and external animal ID chips as house keys. This means that only their own pets can use the petWALK door at set times and unwanted "guests" stay outside.
Has it already happened that a cat or dog does not accept the petWALK door?
No, this has never happened before. We export our pet doors to 28 countries worldwide. To date, not a single pet owner has returned the door he bought. The animals learn very quickly how the petWALK door works.
Another look into the future. How will the petWALK door work in five years?
This question fits very well, since we have currently started a development project with the company Ginzinger electronic systems, which is under the heading "Internet of things". This opens up completely new opportunities, both for our internal maintenance processes and for new customer requirements. Keyword: smart home.
Mr Kindl, thank you for the interview.