Today many recycling companies struggle with the value assessment of complex material streams. The main issues are the costly and labour-intensive sampling procedures and subsequent chemical analysis, leading to long waiting times (often several weeks) and the associated financial uncertainty.
To counter this, VITO initiated the development of an in-line characterisation technology. This way, heterogenous and complex material streams can be assessed completely – eliminating the need for subsampling – and mass-balances can be produced ‘on-the-fly’. In fact, for each material particle a ‘digital twin’ is created which can be further assessed in a virtual way. In this technology, the heterogenous waste particles are dispersed on a conveyor belt as a mono-layer and scanned using X-rays, a 3D laser scanner and a colour camera. Using artificial intelligence, the device recognizes the individual particles and assigns several important physical parameters: size, mass, shape, material, texture, etc.
The technology has been successfully scaled up from ‘scan-the-bucket’ to ‘scan-the-truck’ as was recently demonstrated during 2 large-scale demo events. For different metal-rich material streams, VITO was able to showcase the industrial relevance of the new characterisation technology. To take on this challenge, VITO partnered with Ghent University and two industrial partners, Suez and Umicore, in the CHARAMBA project. This project has been supported by the European funds from the EIT Raw Materials, which aims to support good ideas and innovations and bring them to the market.
After project completion, VITO wishes to introduce the innovative technology as a service to the market and subsequently launch a spin-off company selling tailor-made in-line characterisation devices to several players in the metal recycling market.
Safety and quality are non-negotiable in the health industry. The engineers and designers of Comate deliver high-quality products to our clients. The ISO 13485:2016 certification assures that Comate works according to the latest standards and regulations. Their quality management system meets or exceeds all requirements.
There are a few sectors where innovation can have such a profound impact on people’s lives as in the Healthcare sector. It is also one of the most regulated sectors where patients’ lives are literally at stake, and patient and caregiver safety are absolute priorities. Medical device companies need to ensure that their new products will be in full regulatory compliance prior to hitting the market.
Comate implemented a quality management system that is compliant with the ISO 13485:2016 standard. This means they have processes in place that indicate possible risks towards patient safety and that take the necessary measures to reduce these risks as low as possible. This quality accreditation ensures that the products they develop are designed and delivered to the highest standards as part of a fully controllable process.
The safety and effectiveness of a product is extremely important. Within the health sector, this is non-negotiable since it can be a matter of life and death. Quality and risk control throughout all stages of product development is therefore a must.
What is ISO 13485?
Within the medical device industry, standards are defined to ensure quality and reliability throughout the entire product life cycle, including product design. The ISO 13485 standard defines a broad range of requirements on quality management system (QMS) for medical devices and equipment.
When a company is ISO 13485-certified, it means that they implemented a quality management system and successfully met all of the requirements of ISO 13485. The company must comply with a list of documentation, design and development, traceability, testing and other production requirements. The certification shows that the processes used in the company are appropriate and effective while emphasizing the safety and efficacy of medical devices.
Latency is the term given to the speed and consistency of real-time data streaming, in short: ‘how much time does it take for information to get from A to B. The more latency can be reduced, the better a group of connected devices can communicate. This is what we call ‘Ultra Low Latency’.
BENEFITS OF ULTRA LOW LATENCY
Ability to react to changed data instantaneously
Improving time-critical applications
Improved customer experience
It Saves Lives!
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROLLED LATENCY IN THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR
Access to real-time information and the ability to respond instantaneously to ever-changing data significantly improve the efficiency and productivity in the healthcare sector. Being able to access real-time data is crucial in, for example:
Image-guided radiotherapy towards real-time adaptive radiotherapy. Real-time, online adaptive radiotherapy makes treatment more effective and the treatment planning times become faster.
Real-time image-guided biopsy During an actual operation, a doctor can guide a surgical instrument into the best position for obtaining for instance a sample of suspicious cells.
Robot-assisted surgery The instruments translate the surgeon’s actions into precise movements inside the body. The surgical system responds with a low & fixed latency level to the direction the surgeon is providing.
Remote surgery High-speed data connections and Low Latency management information systems are key for remote surgery.
What AimValley has found is that CPUs, or merchant switching silicon do not always achieve the required speeds and low latency and that the computation power of a GPU is good in single processing only. Using our FPGA experience, we have shown that ultra low latency is possible, down to sub-microsecond performance. FPGAs provide a stable and fixed latency which makes the decision making process more reliable.
Additionally, an FPGA is capable of multiprocessing on a single chip, resulting in better performance, physical size reduction, and low energy consumption. The programmable architecture of an FPGA provides flexibility to build a dedicated solution for every application.
AimValley has a proven track record in full product development as well as Embedded Software & Embedded Hardware. For their Ultra Low Latency solutions, they believe that FPGA technology is the best solution and brings more value for money:
Ready for future tasks extension
Downsizing the system
Reducing the cost
Customers can use the same architecture for their future systems, preventing the need for multiple parallel developments, and a high amount of reuse for software, tools, and factory test configurations. The AimValley solutions support both the current systems and the next-generation architecture.
Some examples of AimValley’s expertise:
Consultancy on connectivity protocols by the systems engineering team.
Modeling and simulation of data delays in FPGA
High-speed serial interfaces and serial/parallel conversion delays in FPGAs.
Implementation and validation measurements of sub-microsecond latency on FPGA
DSP Valley member Invest NI showcases the progress and projects making Northern Ireland’s cities smart.
There’s no denying that the events of 2020 sparked a frank discussion on the pros and cons of city-living. But long before COVID19, most of us recognised that our urban environments needed change and fresh life breathed into them, and technology could potentially hold the key. ‘Smart’ solutions, as they have become known, are now being implemented in communities across the world with the goal of improving quality of life.
This smart revolution is already well underway in Northern Ireland, where digital infrastructure has long been a priority. Cities like Belfast are tapping into the nation’s expertise in sectors spanning technology, cyber security, data analytics and advanced manufacturing to unlock a diverse range of technology-based initiatives to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits for citizens.
The city was one of the first in the UK to be selected for BT’s 5G network roll-out and, as part of its ambition to become a Smart Port, Belfast Harbour has partnered with BT to trial 5G maritime innovations.
Supporting the pioneers
Over the past decade, Northern Ireland has carved out a niche for itself as a fast-growing and vibrant technology hub.
With more than 1,200 technology companies and 28,000 people employed in Northern Ireland’s ICT sector alone, we are a hotbed for talent across technology and data science industries. This, combined with our academic leadership in cyber security research, makes Northern Ireland ideally placed to lead the charge as the world looks toward smart cities opportunities.
Cutting-edge smart solutions are being developed and implemented across Northern Ireland today, bolstered by initiatives like the Northern Ireland Internet of Things Network (NI-IoT). Led by Ulster University, a free-to-use network that helps businesses develop IoT solutions with wide geographic ranges while using minimal energy and which is now supporting the nation’s many burgeoning smart city opportunities.
One business to benefit from the IoT infrastructure in Northern Ireland is See.Sense. The team develops smart cycling solutions that are revolutionising the experiences of cyclists in Northern Ireland today.
See.Sense uses intelligent bike lights and GPS bike trackers, powered by sensor technology and AI, to improve the safety and experience of cyclists, while also providing cities with data insights to help inform their planning.
Beyond cycling, the electric vehicles (EVs) market is also being rebooted with smart solutions to help make cities more accessible and ultimately, more sustainable. Just last month, the contractor Triex EV installed the first ‘pay-as-you-charge’ electric vehicle charging point for residential apartments in Coleraine.
The business case for smart cities
Smart technology is not only transforming life for Northern Ireland’s city dwellers, it has also opened an exciting and fast-growing market for smart city solutions, with boundless opportunities for collaboration between industry and academia.
Two of our world-renowned universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, offer access to eight clusters of world-class AI research in core data science, cyber security, hardware, internet of things, medicine, robotics, economy, and multimedia analytics.
The access Northern Ireland offers to some of the brightest minds in R&D has encouraged a diverse cluster of smart city companies to set up operations here.
ANGOKA is one business that was attracted by Northern Ireland’s R&D credentials. The team at ANGOKA protects the machine-to-machine communication that enables smart city initiatives to run. ANGOKA works behind the scenes to safeguard everything from the personal data stored in smart home devices to the communication channels between drones.
Within Belfast’s technology cluster, you can also find Anaeko, a hybrid cloud integrator that helps organisations adopt cloud computing. Founded in 2004, the company is going from strength-to-strength and has helped integrate data and analytics solutions in a diverse range of sectors including utilities.
Another technology innovator focused on improving efficiency is Kinsetsu, which provides organisations with intelligent tracking solutions that automate and optimise their tasks and services. For instance, its product HomeHug helps elderly people live independently at home for longer by providing their loved ones with data about the home environment including temperature and movement.
It’s an exciting time for Northern Ireland. The nation has carved out a niche for itself as an incubator for smart city companies and we’re committed to staying at the top of our game. And as the world prepares for a number of significant changes that lie on the horizon, from the green economy to the widespread adoption of 5G and the advent of autonomous vehicles, Northern Ireland is well-equipped to drive positive change.
There are plenty of opportunities for the DSP Valley ecosystem to get involved in the exciting developments happening in Northern Ireland.
Interested in learning more or becoming part of the solutions?
– easics booth at VISION 2021 in Stuttgart – live nearbAI demo at Bits&Chips Event 2021 in Eindhoven – nearbAI prototype board supporting FPGA SoMs and ASIC test-chips – nearbAI talk at VISION 2021 in Stuttgart
embedded AI close to your sensors
nearbAITM is easics’ trademarked product for embedded neural network inference using digital hardware, applied close to your sensors. Its prime application is pattern matching in the supervised learning paradigm. nearbAI consists of two parts: a configurable semiconductor IP core that gets instantiated on your custom ASIC or on an FPGA, and software tools to configure your IP core. It is offered in a licensing model. You can contact us for a free nearbAI Estimator tool license to evaluate the performance of your AI application on the nearbAI IP.
high performance, low power, low cost – your choice
nearbAI targets embedded pattern matching applications close to the sensors, where at least one of the following plays a pivotal role: ultra-low and non-variable inference latency for real-time reaction speeds, ultra-low power consumption for battery-powered operation, lowest hardware component cost for high-volume applications. These applications include novel ultra-low latency AR and VR glasses, battery-powered healthcare wearables, human-in-the-loop medical diagnosis equipment, smart product scanners for retail applications, self-navigating drones, collision-avoidance in vehicles, sophisticated in-line quality inspection in industry 4.0 and earth observation in satellites. Targeted sensors include various types of image sensors, MEMS-microphones, and any novel sensors.
evaluate and finetune your application using nearbAI software
The starting point in the nearbAI design flow is a trained neural network model. You can create that using your preferred machine learning framework such as PyTorch, TensorFlow or Keras. The nearbAI Estimator tool reads in your trained model as an ONNX file. Besides that trained model, you input your desired hardware configuration and constraints in the Estimator tool. The latter reflects aspects of your use case such as targeted hardware cost (silicon area), inference speed and latency, and power consumption. The nearbAI Estimator tool shows the latency for each layer of the neural network and highlights any hardware bottlenecks. This allows you to interactively finetune the constraints, evaluate the resulting performance, and arrive at the optimal configuration for your use case, without having to build hardware or run endless simulations.
generate your proprietary nearbAI core
Next, you use the nearbAI Core Generator tool to generate your proprietary nearbAI semiconductor IP core. You further use the nearbAI Network Compiler to generate the microsequence that will sit in memory next to the IP core to run your neural network. Doing ASIC and FPGA design services as well, easics is ready to assist you in integrating nearbAI on your chip.
optimize your return-on-investment. from any FPGA implementation to your ASIC instantiation.
nearbAI supports efficient hardware mapping on your custom ASIC as well as on Xilinx and Intel FPGAs. Evaluation boards using FPGA or FPGA System-on-Module (SoM) are available, and support plug-in of your ASIC test-chip. The same nearbAI core can run several neural networks using different microsequences. This way, a nearbAI-based product supports field upgrades as well as on-the-fly hot switching between neural networks in a running application. The fine-grained configuration options further allow you to generate several flavors of a nearbAI IP core, such as a low performance and a high performance version. This enables the efficient roll out of a product family. All in all, nearbAI future proofs and optimizes the ROI of your embedded AI developments.
we’ll be back
From 5 till 7 October, easics participated in VISION, the world’s leading trade fair for machine vision in Stuttgart. easics gave live nearbAI demos, and presented it in a talk at the Industrial VISION days, organized by VDMA Machine Vision. On 14 October, easics presented nearbAI at the Bits&Chips Event at the Evoluon in Eindhoven. Upcoming opportunities to meet up and see live demos are the IP-SoC conference in Grenoble on 1 and 2 December 2021, and Embedded World in Nuremberg from 15 till 17 March 2022.
Contact easics for more information and for a free nearbAI evaluation license to try it out yourself:
The leading micro-electronics research center imec and the pioneering product development group Verhaert Masters in Innovation entered a strong partnership to ultrafast develop a ground-breaking rapid Covid test based on breath sampling and accelerated PCR technology. A functional prototype will now be commercialized by MiDiagnostics.
Imec announces collaboration with MiDiagnostics for commercialization
Imec and the Flemish government have announced the collaboration between imec and its spinoff MiDiagnostics to further commercialize imec’s breath sampling and ultrafast PCR technology. Together with the Verhaert group they realized a functional prototype through an intense high-risk/high-gain process.
This ground-breaking innovation creates an almost holy grail of testing for the Covid-19 pandemic. The device is able to collect sample material from people through breathing rather than the widely-used nasal pharyngal sampling. On top of that, ultrafast PCR can be performed directly, allowing for extremely fast time-to-results. This provides a far more comfortable sample collection, as well as more efficient processing.
Collaboration imec & Verhaert
At the end of 2019, Verhaert and imec entered a strategic collaboration to co-develop a breakthrough solution based on imec technology platforms. In this context Verhaert also invested in the imec.istart fund to provide seed capital to new technology start-ups.
In January 2020, Verhaert and imec partnered up for this breakthrough rapid Covid PCR test development. In no time, they built a breath sampling consumable containing imec’s innovative chip solution and a high-end PCR processing instrument. These developments will be used as an assay and technology development platform to assess aspects beyond clinical performance. This is a significant step towards a real-life solution and allowing for future expansion into domains other than Sars-Cov-like cancers.
This collaboration required constant interaction between very different disciplines, for example biochemistry and chip development on imec’s part, and product development skills such as optical & thermal design, software development, mechatronics, electronics and mechanics from Verhaert.
To accomplish this strict timeframe, a distinctive and agile project management approach was needed for fast decision-making and pursuing a parallel-path approach.
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About Verhaert Masters in Innovation Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has been a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and implement successful innovation projects. Today, the group has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Utrecht and Aveiro.
Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation (Eindhoven, NL) is founded in 2011 as a spin-out of Philips Research and got integrated into Medtronic in 2014. Their mission: to revolutionize personalized brain stimulation and treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Sapiens selected ICsense (www.icsense.com) for the development of the core component in its product, the stimulation ASIC (Application Specific IC).
DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) is an effective and well-established treatment; an implanted device sends electrical impulses to carefully selected parts of the brain to treat neurological diseases. By personalizing these impulses using advanced implanted leads with 40 individual stimulation points, Sapiens aims to improve the therapeutic effect of deep brain stimulation, shorten the clinical procedure, and improve patient comfort by reducing stimulation-induced side effects as shown in the picture below.
FIRST OF A KIND
From day one, it was clear that a custom neuromodulation chip (or ASIC) was essential since a DBS device with 40 stimulation points was never done before. Standard deep brain implants have 3-5 electrodes and are driven by an IPG (Implanted Pulse generator) in the chest. Sapiens’ solution used an adapted chest based IPG design that supplies the stimulation pulses through the lead to the ASIC which is on the patient’s skull. The ASIC distributes the pulses through a high-voltage matrix and is able to sense all electrodes with artefact reduction and to measure impedances. Powering of the ASIC is done over the lead through DC-AC-DC conversion.
THE PATH TO THE BEST ASIC FOR SAPIENS
Sapiens selected ICsense based on its impressive track record in medical implantable ASICs. The team at Sapiens appreciated the transparent and honest communication of ICsense and chose the Leuven company to be their preferred custom ASIC design partner. ICsense’s ASIC expertise but also its system level thinking was an added value for Sapiens in order to take this next step.
At the start of the cooperation, both teams from Sapiens and ICsense worked very close together on the feasibility of the target architecture and balancing the trade-offs of the full system. Given the leapfrog in the state-of-the-art and many challenges, ICsense’s flexibility and open way of working, proved to be key to the success. By advancing at the pace of the customer and taking the time to explore, the best solution for Sapiens’ system was found.
Hubert Martens, Vice President of Product Development and co-Founder at Sapiens, confirms: “ICsense developed this first-of-a-kind and innovative ASIC for stimulation and measurement in our 40-electrode deep brain implant. Next to the high technical and quality standards that ICsense employs, we strongly appreciate their open, honest and flexible way of working, which was key to the success of this development.”
By combining ICsense’s ASIC design expertise with Sapiens in-depth system know-how, both companies managed together to define the right set of ASIC specifications and system requirements (lead integration, packaging, …). An important factor for this cooperation was having a person at Sapiens who has in-depth knowledge of electronics and the system.
“We selected ICsense, because they have all the right profiles in-house, unlike aggregation partners that just bring together different companies to do the work without creating additional value. In every step of the development, we could rely on ICsense’s support and have in-depth and open discussions without any unpleasant surprises. ICsense does not work as a consultant but as a true partner we can trust,“ concludes Martens.
BEYOND THE DESIGN
Based on the specifications, ICsense designed, manufactured and tested this IC for full functionality in its lab facilities in Leuven, Belgium. In parallel, ICsense coordinated the test development with the selected OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor and Test) partner, to test the custom chip in production with high test coverage (medical grade) and at the agreed price.
Also, in this last phase of the project, a close and open cooperation was key, with regular status meetings, in-depth reviews and even changes in specifications along the way to further optimize the system. ICsense proved to be flexible throughout the whole development process, which led to a successful ASIC that could steer the 40 electrodes from a conventional IPG, measure the brain signals and brain impedance with high-accuracy and low power and fit into a small cannister for implantation.
NOT A ONE-SHOT COOPERATION
As a follow-up of this fruitful cooperation, ICsense designed two more ICs targeting Sapiens’ next-generation product requirements. Part of this work was financed via public funding (ECSEL InForMED, BRAINS Eurostars).
Bram De Muer, CEO of ICsense, comments: “ICsense also loves working with startup companies. They bring projects that go beyond the state-of-the-art and require an ASIC partner that can adapt to their changing ideas, is flexible and open and works closely with them to co-optimize the entire system. That’s a perfect fit with the ICsense way of working and culture: open, honest and a strong partner for its customers.”
“Thanks to our company culture”, continues De Muer, “we have a strong and stable growing turnover and one of the highest employee retention figures in industry. This is important, also for startups. It proves the successful execution of projects, and all know-how stays in the company. When customers return years later, they will see the same people who build their first ASIC. And happy customers always come back….”
In 2014, Medtronic (NASDAQ: MDT) acquired Sapiens for an all-cash upfront consideration of approximately $200M. Medtronic established a global research and development center for its Neuromodulation business at Sapiens’ facility based in Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
ICsense -an independent subsidiary of the TDK group- is Europe’s premier IC design company. ICsense’s core business is ASIC development and supply and custom IC designservices. ICsense has the largest fab-independent European design group with world-class expertise in analog, digital, mixed-signal and high-voltage IC design. The company develops and supplies customer exclusive ASIC solutions for the automotive, medical, industrial and consumer market compliant with ISO9001, ISO13485, IEC61508-ISO26262.
Verhaert Masters in Innovation, the innovation factory with headquarters in Kruibeke, has subscribed to a capital increase from the imec.istart Fund. The investment fund imec.istart Fund receives a substantial capital injection and grows from 12.5 million euro to more than 30 million euro.
Coaching tech start-ups
“Within the MyStartUp programme, Verhaert has guided and provided equity free seed money to more than hundred start-ups across Europe in recent years on the authority of the European Space Agency ESA, the European Copernicus and Point.Iot programme and several MedTech accelerators,” says Koen Verhaert, CEO and Program Director MyStartUp.
With this investment in the imec.istart Fund, Verhaert, through the fund, now also invests in the capital of such tech start-ups. “We have chosen the imec.istart Fund for this because of their track record, ecosystem and multi-sector approach. Verhaert will also help to guide the imec.istart team and coach the start-ups in further developing their idea into a marketable and scalable product.”
The imec.istart Fund was established in 2017 with a starting capital of 12.5 million euro and a focus on start-ups working with digital technologies. The Flemish government and private partners who co-initiated the fund are imec, ING, BNP Paribas Fortis, Telenet and Cronos Groep. Besides its initial focus on digital technology, special attention will be paid to sustainability and IoT physical products. To reinforce this evolution, the fund also attracts 4 new partners: Verhaert, Nuhma, EFIN and Vlaamse EnergieHolding. This way, the capital of the imec.istart Fund grows to 30.5 million euro and the right framework is created.
During the past years, the investments of imec.istart often turned out to be a flywheel for follow-up funding. Every euro that the imec.istart Fund invested in start-ups generated on average more than 25 euro from other sources. Together, the portfolio companies of the imec.istart Fund raised over 320 million euro in follow-up funding. With the capital increase, the various partners want to further increase the impact of the start-up ecosystem and thus contribute to innovation and a sustainable local economy.
About Verhaert Masters in Innovation Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has been a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and implement successful innovation projects. Today, the group has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Utrecht and Aveiro. www.verhaert.com
easics, a Leuven-based market leader in the embedded systems digital design, switches into its next gear as a company. Next to providing unique competence and development platforms that lead to first-time right, reliable and optimized logic and software that is maintainable by the customer, easics starts providing network and Artificial Intelligence (AI) product/IP solutions for system developers of health and industrial products. easics nearbAI technology provides a compact, low-power and affordable AI core that runs complex neural networks on FPGAs and ASICs at the edge, close to the sensors. This results in a low and predictable latency and runs with ultra low-power consumption. easics’ embedded AI solutions integrate tightly with novel and existing sensors such as image sensors capturing light inside and outside the visible spectrum (such as hyperspectral and thermal infrared), 3D scanning laser (LiDAR), Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors, radar, microscopy, ultrasound sensors, and microphones, and thus enable many novel businesses.
To enable this growth ambition Emiliano D’Agostino joined the MT as managing director & CEO of easics as of April 2021. He is an executive with hands-on experience in the medtech industry. Before joining easics, he has founded DoseVue, a medtech company which he has brought from incorporation up to commercial product launch. He received a PhD in electrical engineering, focused on medical image processing, from the KU Leuven in 2006. He holds master degrees in physics engineering from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and in nuclear engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.
“I am really looking forward to helping easics moving to the next phase by expanding easics’ product related activities, in particular in the medical sector. The company has a tremendous potential and is already a trusted partner for several big international players in the medical and industrial fields.”, says Emiliano. Rector-emeritus of the KU Leuven, Prof. Oosterlinck, and since its foundation 30 years ago Chairman of the Board of easics, welcomes Emiliano: “Emiliano is an international manager with very good knowledge of the health and industrial business, and an excellent alumnus of the medical imaging research group of the KU Leuven, that I started more than 45 years ago. I am sure that he will bring easics to the next level.” “We welcome Emiliano to the MT of easics and look forward to growing the company further with him,” say Ramses Valvekens and Steven Coenen, the managers and main stakeholders of easics.
Visit easics at their website and follow them via their social media channels:
DSP Valley is glad to announce that 28 SMEs will receive funding from S3FOOD, the pan European project for digital Industry 4.0 transition in which we take part as one of the 13 international consortium partners. 14 projects have been selected with themes like ‘data-driven fermentation management’, ‘egg processing with enhanced data integration’ or ‘smart systems for real-time monitoring of evaporation in wine aging’.
14 cross-sectoral collaboration projects
This has already been the second S3FOOD voucher call within the project. 14 innovative SME driven projects have been selected all across Europe. The winning projects will receive funding to develop and adopt innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges food processing companies are facing to modernize and improve food production.
Alltogether, the 14 cross–sectoral collaboration projects will receive different types of vouchers for an amount close to 1.3 million Euros. The types of vouchers vary depending on the development stage of the project, called the TRL, or Technology Readiness Level. The earliest stage projects receive up to 15,000 Euro while the larger scale collaboration projects receive up to 180,000 Euro.
Industry 4.0 transition
S3FOOD wants to establish an innovation-friendly, cross-border and cross-sectoral ecosystem to help SMEs start their Industry 4.0 transition.
Veerle De Graef, Innovation Manager, Flanders’ FOOD– coordinator of the S3FOOD project: “Companies that still rely on a few in-house specialists to register and interpret processing data are at risk of losing important knowledge and expertise. Using for instance smart sensors, makes it possible to secure everything in automated systems and to bring sustainable benefits to their business, improving efficiency and quality of the production methods.”
Besides the funding, being a part of S3FOOD also grants the 14 projects access to industry experts, knowledge sharing, a solid network of like-minded SMEs and much more.
A revolution in progress
Many larger companies have already responded to the fourth industrial revolution – the digital revolution -, by automating and digitalizing their process. This includes benefiting from the related data generation, which opens the door to identify processing issues quicker. This also gives opportunities for continuous improvement.
S3FOOD targets the many SMEs in the agri-food industry in Europe, that have still not found the partners and funds to start the same journey towards digitalization.
The consortium has already supported 44 projects with 51 unique SMEs across Europe and now adds 14 new projects to the portfolio.
“While we are still in the middle of the S3FOOD project, we can already begin to see the results of the first projects that received the funding vouchers. It’s fascinating to see how SMEs can truly benefit from the latest technology, and we are happy to be able to welcome another 14 projects to S3FOOD, and to the future of food production,” says project leader Veerle De Graef.
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S3FOOD is a 5 million Euro Innosup – 01 project under H2020 that aims to stimulate the uptake of smart sensor solutions by the small and medium sized enterprises in the agri-food sector with the purpose of improving efficiency, sustainability and safety. S3FOOD started in May 2019 and has launched two voucher calls where SMEs could apply for funding for the implementation of innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges of the food processing industry.
The S3FOOD consortium consists of 13 partners from across Europe: Flanders’ FOOD, Belgium; DSP Valley, Belgium; Wagralim, Belgium; INNOSKART, Hungary; AgriFood Capital BV, The Netherlands; AIN, Spain; ASINCAR, Spain; Bretagne Développement Innovation, France; CLUSAGA, Spain; CORALLIA , Greece; Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, Denmark; Food-Processing Initiative, Germany and CIMES, France.
Read more about S3FOOD on www.s3food.eu or follow the project on LinkedIn and twitter: @s3food_eu
S3FOOD has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 824769-S3FOOD.