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Borit
Calyos
Expanite
Keystone Tower Systems
Powercell
Rein4ced
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Borit

Website Borit

Borit manufactures sheet metal products and assemblies using its proprietary hydroforming technology resulting in advanced product designs with high forming quality and precision.

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1 June 2017

President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois visits BORIT NV and Hydrogenics

Vandaag bracht Vlaams minister-president Geert Bourgeois, een bezoek aan twee Vlaamse topbedrijven op vlak van waterstoftechnologie: Hydrogenics Europe NV (Oevel) en Borit NV (Geel). Hij kwam voor de gelegenheid met een waterstofauto.
Internationaal neemt de belangstelling voor waterstof sterk toe, zowel voor zero-emissie transport als voor opslag van groene elektriciteit. Ook in Vlaanderen is de verduurzaming van energie en mobiliteit een van de topprioriteiten van deze Vlaamse regering. De minister-president was onder de indruk van de grote expertise die we hier op Vlaamse bodem hebben inzake waterstof, als technologie voor een duurzame toekomst.

Mobiliteit
Recent keurde de Vlaamse regering de Energievisie goed, waarbij Vlaanderen de Europese maatregel onderschrijft om vanaf 2035 geen auto’s meer te verkopen op fossiele brandstof. Nieuwe wagens moeten tegen dan een nul-uitstoot hebben. Waterstof is één van de oplossingen.
Auto’s (en ook bussen, vrachtwagens, …) op waterstof stoten geen schadelijke stoffen uit, terwijl de actieradius en tanksnelheid vergelijkbaar zijn met die van voertuigen op traditionele brandstof.
Verder wordt waterstof- met zijn relatief lage specifieke gewicht en hoge energiedichtheid- ook gebruikt voor de opslag van zonne- en windenergie. Door overtollige duurzame energie om te zetten in waterstof, creëert men een energiebuffer en netstabilisator. De geproduceerde waterstof kan worden ingezet in mobiliteitstoepassingen of, in periodes van schaarste, weer worden omgezet naar elektriciteit.
Als inleiding op het bezoek vertelt Adwin Martens, directeur van WaterstofNet, dat Vlaanderen trots mag zijn want dat het verschillende unieke industriële spelers heeft op vlak van waterstof-technologie, die samen de ganse waardeketen op cruciale onderdelen invullen. Hydrogenics en Borit zijn hier mooie voorbeelden van.
Een goed half jaar geleden is bovendien – met steun van de Vlaamse overheid – de bedrijvencluster power-to-gas (van groene elektriciteit naar waterstof) opgericht. Deze is inmiddels gegroeid tot een sterke club van 26 bedrijven, die allemaal gericht samenwerken rond waterstof in Vlaanderen.

Hydrogenics Europe (Oevel)
Hydrogenics Europe behoort tot de wereldtop op vlak van de ontwikkeling en productie van
generatoren die waterstof produceren uit groene elektriciteit.
Het produceert al enkele decennia voor toonaangevende klanten over de ganse wereld elektrolyse-systemen.

Daar waar we enkele jaren geleden vooral waterstofgeneratoren voor gebruik van waterstof in de industrie leverden, hebben we nu meer en meer klanten die waterstofgeneratoren aanschaffen voor tankstations of voor energieopslag.” zegt Filip Smeets, CEO van Hydrogenics Europe.
Bij Hydrogenics in Oevel werken 75 mensen.
Het moederbedrijf, gevestigd in Canada, produceert brandstofcellen (het ‘omgekeerde’ van generatoren). Brandstofcellen zitten in waterstofauto’s (en andere transportmiddelen op waterstof), en produceren uit de waterstof opnieuw elektriciteit.

Borit (Geel)
Borit behoort tot de wereldtop op vlak van de productie van geavanceerde bipolaire platen, cruciale componenten van elektrolyseurs en brandstofcellen. Borit heeft voor de productie van deze zeer dunne (0,1mm) metalen platen unieke productieprocessen ontwikkeld, waardoor zowel de ontwikkelingscyclus als uitval als kostprijs sterk gereduceerd konden worden.
Borit produceert bipolaire platen voor heel wat industriële spelers waaronder een aantal van de grootste OEM’s in de automotive sector. Een brandstofcel voor een auto bevat een 400-tal van deze zeer complexe metalen platen en zijn cruciaal voor de goede werking ervan.
Sinds onze opstart als Vlaamse start-up in 2010 hebben we een mooi groeitraject als industrieel bedrijf afgelegd”, stelt Luc Wanten, CEO Borit NV. “Met de steun van onze aandeelhouders en alle stakeholders is het de bedoeling om in Geel onze hoogwaardige ‘world-class pilot plant’ voor deze nieuwe en duurzame technologie verder uit te bouwen.”

Reactie minister-president Geert Bourgeois
Minister-president Bourgeois zegt onder de indruk te zijn van de producten van deze Vlaamse bedrijven en van de plaats die zij veroverd hebben in de wereld van de waterstoftechnologie:
Het is nog maar eens een bewijs dat we in Vlaanderen parels van bedrijven hebben, die in de technologie naar een duurzame samenleving, een belangrijke rol spelen. Als Vlaamse overheid moeten we deze bedrijven waar mogelijk ondersteunen, bijvoorbeeld op vlak van onderzoek en ontwikkeling. In januari 2017 hebben 13 grote bedrijven (o.a. Shell, Total, Daimler, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Air Liquide, Engie, BMW, …) aangekondigd dat ze de komende jaren meer dan 10 miljard dollar in waterstof gaan investeren. We mogen dan ook terecht fier zijn dat de bedrijven die we vandaag bezochten ook op dit niveau meespelen.”

Meer info:
www.waterstofnet.eu
www.hydrogenics.com
www.borit.be

Calyos

Website Calyos

Calyos develops and commercializes two-phase thermal regulation systems. Thanks to the exceptional thermal performance, Calyos' two-phase heat transfer systems are enabling energy efficient customer applications.

Expanite

Website Expanite

Expanite commercialises gas phase technology for the surface hardening of stainless steel and other high performance metals, while maximizing corrosion resistance.

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9 September 2019

DTU professor in materials research wins dual internation-al recognition

Professor Marcel A.J. Somers has been awarded the dual honour of both receiving a rarely bestowed medal and giving a commemorative lecture at the 26th Congress of Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering.

Several years may pass between each awarding of the medal by the IFHTSE—The International Federation for Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering, a global association of heat and surface treatment organizations—to particularly prominent researchers within the field of heat and surface treatment of metals. Since 2004, the medal has only been awarded a total of seven times. This great and very special honour has now befallen Marcel Somers, Professor at DTU Mechanical Engineering.

But this is not the only mark of distinction he has received. Marcel Somers will also be giving a so-called Lakhtin lecture which is a lecture in honour of Yurii Mikhailovich Lakhtin, a prominent Russian researcher in thermochemical surface treatment.  The lectures have been given since 1998, and Marcel Somers is only the fifth researcher to have been given this honour.

It is Marcel Somers’ unique contribution to the understanding and application of metal-gas reactions in thermochemical processes, as well as hardening through cryogenic treatments, that has led to the awarding of the medal and the honour of giving a Lakhtin lecture. Best known is probably his metallurgical scientific work with gas-based surface treatment of stainless steel, which his research group was one of the first to reveal the true nature of, and which laid the foundations for taking out a number of patents and forming the company Expanite. Basic research combined with applicable innovative material solutions is characteristic of his research group’s work. This characteristic is also reflected in the title of his Lakhtin lecture, ‘Thermochemical surface engineering of stainless steels with interstitials; Symbiosis of science, technology and innovation’, which he will give on 17 September in Moscow.

The two distinctions have put Marcel Somers in good company with the world’s undisputed leading researchers in the field, such as Sir Harry Bhadeshia, George Krauss, Tadashi Maki, Eric Mittemeijer, and Tom Bell—all examples of individuals who have previously been awarded the IFHTSE Medal and/or given one of the rare Lakhtin lectures.

31 January 2019

German-based industrial group KERN-LIEBERS and the Danish hardening specialist Expanite expands their cooperation in China

Only one year after successfully launching Expanite’s surface hardening technology for stainless steel in the Chinese market, KERN-LIEBERS and Expanite has signed a joint agreement, which will expand the product offerings available from KERN-LIEBERS´ facility in Taicang, China. The new agreement ensures that all Expanite processes for surface hardening of stainless steel will be available in China from the fall of 2019.

In November 2017, KERN-LIEBERS and Expanite signed the first license agreement which included KERNLIEBERS installing equipment to executing Expanite’s hardening processes for martensitic stainless steels, also referred to as the ExpaniteHigh-T processes, at their Taicang facility near Shanghai, China. Now, approximately one year later, the Parties have agreed to expand the license agreement to also cover Expanite’s processes for austenitic, ferritic and duplex stainless steels, referred to as the ExpaniteLow-T and SuperExpanite processes, and thereby making it possible to offer the complete range of Expanite processes for stainless steel to Chinese and other Asian companies.

“Our China business has had a fantastic start in 2018 and we continue to see tremendous growth potential towards many local and international companies with operations in China. The combination of KERNLIEBERS reputation of supplying parts and heat treatment to the highest quality standards and Expanite’s best-in-class hardening technologies for stainless steel, represents an ideal partnership, which essentially benefits our customers,” Thomas Abel Sandholdt CEO at Expanite explains.

Richard Zhang, CEO of KERN-LIEBERS, Taicang continues, “with extension of our current installation, we will have the capabilities of reaching a much broader range of customers, applications and industries – and we can offer cutting-edge technologies to our customers. We are very proud of being the first in China to have true low-temperature surface hardening solution for stainless steel”.

The new installation is expected to be fully operational during Q4, 2019.

 

About KERN-LIEBERS

KERN-LIEBERS, a medium-sized family-owned company based in southwest Germany, is a global technology leader for the production of highly complex strip and wire parts, and assemblies. The KERNLIEBERS group of companies develops and manufactures precision products of the highest quality at over 50 locations around the world (www.kern-liebers.com).

 

About Expanite

Expanite is based on uninterrupted research since 2000 and was founded in 2010 by leading experts in materials and surface hardening. The company is headquartered in Hillerød near Copenhagen and has hardening capacity in the USA, Germany and China. In addition, Expanite's solutions are flexible and can be tailored to be introduced into a customer’s own product line as part of a licensing agreement (www.expanite.com). Contact info If you would like more information about this topic, please contact For KERN-LIEBERS: Richard Zhang, CEO of KERN-LIEBERS in Taicang - richard.zhang@kern-liebers.com.cn, +86 512 5328 3533 For Expanite: Thomas Abel Sandholdt, CEO of Expanite – tsa@expanite.com, +45 20407207.

30 November 2018

Expanite® receives Master File for Devices (MAF) acknowledgment letter from FDA on their patented process for surface hardening of stainless steel in medical devices applications.

Expanite announces it has submitted a Master File for Devices (MAF) to the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and has now been issued the submission number MAF3078.

Expanite has successfully submitted a Master File for Devices (MAF) to the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the FDA for SuperExpanite® , their patented process for surface hardening of stainless steel and received an Acknowledgment letter from the FDA confirming submission filing. The MAF covers necessary information such as technology, production processes and facility information, as well as test data and more. The SuperExpanite Master File has been issued submission document control number MAF3078.

“We are very pleased to have achieved this significant milestone. The FDA registration makes it easier for our U.S. customers to obtain approval for new medical products that use Expanite surface hardening. Expanite is now able to provide a signed and named Authorization letter to our customers on their request, for the purpose of their product registrations at the FDA. This is the first of many MAFs to come” says Expanite CEO, Thomas Abel Sandholdt.

Benefits of MAF implementation

The advantages of the MAF being submitted at FDA for the manufacturers who utilize Expanite surface hardening technology and register their products at the FDA are many e.g.:

Expanite, individually, invested time to search and understand the FDA requirements for MAF submission;

Documentation compiled, as required, and submission confirmed by the FDA;

Surface hardening technology documentation available for FDA’s review as of now;

Eliminates communication time and effort between manufacturer and Expanite on MAF build and requirements;

Expanite responsible to maintain MAF up to date, as appropriate.

For the manufacturer‘s medical devices registrations purposes, the SuperExpanite Master File for Devices is now available for reference and review at the FDA. Expanite shall provide MAF Authorization letter on customer requests to make Expanite technical documentation available for FDA’s review in context of their product registration.

Please contact Thomas Abel Sandholdt to hear more about the FDA Master File for Devices, SuperExpanite MAF content and request a signed and named Authorization letter for your product registrations.

About Expanite A/S

Expanite offers state-of-the-art solutions for surface hardening treatment of stainless steels and titanium. With Expanite's processes, it is possible to increase the material’s surface hardness tenfold while at the same time maintaining and even increasing its corrosion resistance. Expanite has a combined development and production facility near Copenhagen, Denmark, and hardening capacity in the US, Germany and China. Expanite's solutions are flexible and can be introduced directly into a customer’s own production line as part of a licensing arrangement. Learn more on www.expanite.com

Keystone Tower Systems

Website Keystone Tower Systems

Keystone Tower Systems has developed and patented a highly efficient technology to produce wind turbine towers using spiral welding.

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30 October 2017

Keystone Tower Systems Attracts Growth Capital to Support its International Expansion

Westminster, CO, USA - 30 October 2017 – Keystone Tower Systems Inc, a Colorado based technology company, has secured significant growth capital to further support the global roll out of its advanced wind turbine tower manufacturing technology.

Keystone Tower Systems has developed and patented an innovative process for spiral welding conical steel structures, enabling greater production efficiencies. The company is tailoring its spiral welding technology for the production of wind turbine towers. The technology significantly reduces the overall cost of tower manufacturing through increased throughput and lower labor and material costs, resulting in a reduction of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind. The first commercial tower production is planned for 2019.

Earlier this year, Keystone partnered with a leading equipment OEM in the steel industry to roll out the technology worldwide. The first phase focuses on licensing its spiral welding technology to existing tower manufacturing plants for conventional dimension towers. In the follow-up phase, they will pursue mobile manufacturing facilities producing large diameter wind towers at the wind farm site, eliminating limitations on the tower diameter imposed by road transport restrictions.

The current investment round is led by a consortium of Keystone’s existing investors together with Finindus, a Belgium based venture capital company funded by ArcelorMittal and the Flemish Region; the Colorado Impact Fund, a Colorado based fund dedicated to supporting Colorado companies that generate consistent investment returns in addition to positive community impact; and Zoma Capital, the investment arm for the family office of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton, based in Denver, which invests in a broad range of market-based sustainable solutions addressing environmental and social problems.

“We are thrilled to bring onboard incredible partners who will help us accelerate our roll-out plan,” Eric Smith, CEO of Keystone Tower Systems, commented on the transaction.

“Steel and welding technology are at the core of the business of one of our shareholders. It is clear that Keystone Tower Systems is a natural fit within our investment focus,” Hans Maenhout, Investment Director at Finindus, commented.

“The Colorado Impact Fund is excited to support Keystone Tower Systems as it develops and commercializes a world-class technology that will further cement Colorado’s position as a leader in the wind energy sector,” said Scott Reich of the Colorado Impact Fund.

Melissa Cheong, Zoma's Chief Investment Officer, remarked, “We are excited to support an innovative Colorado-based business whose technology has the potential to accelerate the adoption of wind power and expand the geographic reach of renewable energy development.”

ABOUT KEYSTONE TOWER SYSTEMS

Keystone Tower Systems, founded in 2010, is a Colorado based company specializing in innovative wind tower manufacturing technologies. It is the only company in the world with the technology to spiral weld wind towers.

www.keystonetowersystems.com

 

ABOUT FININDUS

Finindus is a Belgian investment company backed by ArcelorMittal and the Flemish Region. Finindus invests in early stage and growth companies, with a specific focus on materials, material processing and sustainable manufacturing.

www.finindus.be

ABOUT COLORADO IMPACT FUND

The Colorado Impact Fund, founded in July 2014, is a venture capital firm dedicated to supporting local Colorado companies that generate consistent investment returns in addition to positive community outcomes. Investors in the Fund include some of Colorado’s most respected executives, families, foundations and corporations, each of whom is committed to making a difference in the State of Colorado and beyond. Targeting investments in the areas of community health, natural resource conservation, education and workforce development and economic development, the Colorado Impact Fund leverages its collective experiences, resources and networks to help Colorado entrepreneurs create exceptional and lasting companies.

www.coloradoimpactfund.com

 

ABOUT ZOMA CAPITAL

Zoma Capital is the investment arm for the family office of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton, based in Denver. Zoma manages an investment portfolio with strategies in Colorado and in Chile focused on issues of energy, water, community development, workforce development and mental health.

 

For further information please contact:

Anna Moon, VP of Business Development & Strategy

Email     : info@keystonetowersystems.com

Powercell

Website Powercell

Powercell develops, manufactures and commercializes PEM fuel cells, fuel reformers and auxiliary power units for higher energy efficiency and lower harmful emissions.

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1 October 2019

PowerCell to participate in EU project regarding fuel cell electrification of heavy-duty trucks

PowerCell Sweden AB (publ) will participate in the EU funded 5-year long project H2Haul. The project comprises different types of heavy-duty trucks that will be electrified using fuel cells and hydrogen and the trucks will be field-tested in daily operations by major logistics and retail companies in several European countries.

The English version is an in house-translation. In case of any discrepancy, the Swedish text will prevail.

“That PowerCell has been appointed to participate in a project regarding fuel cell electrification of heavy-duty trucks, is further proof of our leading position within fuel cell technology”, Per Wassén, CEO of PowerCell said.

The H2Haul project is launched by a European consortium in which two European manufacturers IVECO (supported by sister company Fiat Powertrain Industrial) and VDL, will design, build, and test three new types of fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks, including rigid and articulated vehicles up to 44 tonnes.

A total of 16 vehicles will be tested in real-world operations by logistic and retail companies at sites in Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The innovative hydrogen refuelling stations that will be deployed within the project will offer rapid, high capacity fuelling and thus support the demonstration of how fuel cell trucks can operate as direct replacements for diesel vehicles. Fuel cell trucks offer the same refuelling time, operating range and payload capacity as fossil fuel trucks but with water as the only emission.

The project, coordinated by Element Energy, has been made possible by a grant of €12m from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). The FCH JU is a unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system.

The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe and the research community represented by the research grouping Hydrogen Europe Research.   

For more information, please contact:

Per Wassén
VD, PowerCell Sweden AB (publ)
Tel: +46 (0) 31 720 36 20
Email: per.wassen@powercell.se
 

About PowerCell Sweden AB (publ)

PowerCell Sweden AB (publ) develops and produces fuel cell stacks and systems for stationary and mobile applications with a world class energy density. The fuel cells are powered by hydrogen, pure or reformed, and produce electricity and heat with no emissions other than water. As the stacks and systems are compact, modular and scalable, they are easily adjusted to any customer need.

PowerCell was founded in 2008 as an industrial spinout from the Volvo Group. The share (PCELL) is since 2014 subject to trade at Nasdaq First North Growth Market, Stockholm. G&W Fondkommission is Certified Adviser, e-mail: ca@gwkapital.se, phone: +46 8 503 000 50.

11 September 2019

Bosch presented fuel cell system based on PowerCell’s fuel cell stack at the IAA fair in Frankfurt

At yesterday’s press day at the international automotive fair IAA in Frankfurt, Germany, Bosch presented a fuel cell system built around PowerCell’s fuel cell stack PowerCell S3.

The English version is an in house-translation. In case of any discrepancy, the Swedish text will prevail.

Bosch was represented by Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management and responsible for the Powertrain Solutions and Electrical Drives divisions. Among the things covered by Dr Volkmar was Bosch’s efforts within the fuel cell technology and the cooperation with PowerCell. On display in the Bosch booth was a Bosch fuel cell system based on the PowerCell S3 fuel cell stack.

In April Bosch and PowerCell signed a joint development and licensing agreement regarding the fuel cell stack PowerCell S3 for the automotive segment. The agreement gives Bosch an exclusive, global right to produce and sell the S3 in fuel cell systems for automotive applications. In its communication Bosch has characterized the fuel cell technology as a promising technology for the electrification of heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses, and for meeting stricter legislative demands on emissions of carbon dioxide.

The agreement with Bosch includes a joint development of the PowerCell S3 prior to Bosch’s own production of the stack. Bosch has earlier communicated the start of production to 2022, at the latest. Bosch paid PowerCell MEUR 50 (approx. MSEK 530) during the second quarter for the exclusive license. Following start of production, Bosch will pay PowerCell a royalty fee for every product sold during the contract period.

The automotive fair IAA in Frankfurt goes on between September 12 and 22. This year’s theme is “Driving Tomorrow”.

For further information, please contact:

Per Wassén
CEO, PowerCell Sweden AB (publ)
Phone: +46 (0) 31 720 36 20
Email: 
per.wassen@powercell.se

About PowerCell Sweden AB (publ) 

PowerCell Sweden AB (publ) develops and produces fuel cell stacks and systems for stationary and mobile applications with a world class energy density. The fuel cells are powered by hydrogen, pure or reformed, and produce electricity and heat with no emissions other than water. As the stacks and systems are compact, modular and scalable, they are easily adjusted to any customer need.

PowerCell was founded in 2008 as an industrial spinout from the Volvo Group. The share (PCELL) is since 2014 subject to trade at Nasdaq First North Growth Market, Stockholm. G&W Fondkommission is Certified Adviser, e-mail: ca@gwkapital.se, phone: +46 8 503 000 50. 

24 May 2019

Sale of Shares in Powercell AB (publ)

NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, JAPAN OR AUSTRALIA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL.

Midroc New Technology, Fouriertransform and Finindus (the “Sellers”) have sold 5,000,000 shares on a pro rata basis in Powercell AB (publ) ("Powercell") through an accelerated bookbuilding to Swedish and international institutional investors at a price of SEK 93.0 per share (the “Placing”). The price in the Placing is in line with the one month volume weighted average price for Powercell.

Following the placing, the Sellers own 15,835,176 shares in Powercell, corresponding to 30.5% of the total number of shares and votes in Powercell. Subject to customary exceptions or obtaining consent from Carnegie, the Sellers have agreed to a lock-up period of 180 days, in relation to their remaining shares in Powercell.

Carnegie acted as Sole Bookrunner and Pareto acted as Co-Lead Manager in connection with the Placing.

Rein4ced

Website Rein4ced

Rein4ced produces carbon and steelfibre reinforced composites, initially targetted at high end bike frame applications.

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18 July 2019

The consequences of stiff bicycle frames

Bicycle frames should be light and stiff. The past several years, technologies have developed further and further such that these frames become continuously lighter and stiffer. Some wonderful developments for (professional) cyclists, until they have an ugly fall.

The limits of carbon

The weight of bicycle frames has steadily gone downwards over the past years. The bicycle with which Eddy Merckx won the Tour fifty years ago is nothing in comparison with the bicycle of the soon to be winner of the Tour 2019. However, the carbon material is reaching its limits concerning its lightness and stiffness.

Lighter and stiffer bicycles also mean bicycles with lower strength and less impact resistance. “Not a problem”, some may say, “because bicycles are made for cycling, not falling.” However, several falls in cycling competitions have proven otherwise. A minor impact can inflict a destruction on traditional carbon frames, leading to breakage and the spectacular images of bicycles broken in two pieces after a fall.

Unbreakable frames by Feather technology

REIN4CED has ingeniously combined the characteristics of carbon and steel by developing a new technology called Feather where small steel fibers are added to traditional carbon as such creating a new material that is still light and stiff yet also very impact resistant. Compared to traditional fragile carbon, REIN4CED’s steel fiber composite shows compact damage signs upon impact (VIDEO: Impact properties REIN4CED's composite material). As the light frames retain high stiffness and mechanical integrity upon impact, the cyclists benefit from unbreakable frames.

Any potential damage visible on the steel fiber composite frames inform cyclists about impacts that have taken place. This way, they know about it and are able to take countermeasures if needed. The steel fiber composite of REIN4CED avoids major crashes and serious physical injuries resulting from the frame impacts. 

Even just now in the Tour 2019 we could witness the spectacular fall of Geraint Thomas who landed on his teammate’s bike snapping the bicycle in two (VIDEO: Fall of Geraint Thomas). No one was injured, but other stories exist.

2 July 2019

Leuvens bedrijf komt met onbreekbare fiets op de markt

Bron: ROB TV

Dit weekend gaat de Tour de France van start in ons land, er zullen in de eerste week ongetwijfeld heel wat renners tegen het asfalt gaan en daarbij hun fietskader breken. Als het van het Leuvense bedrijf REIN4CED afhangt is dat volgend jaar niet meer het geval, zij willen tegen dan maar liefst 20.000 onbreekbare carbonframes op de markt brengen.

2 July 2019

We hebben de heilige graal van de fietsenindustrie gevonden

Bron: De Tijd, 1 juli 2019

'We hebben de heilige graal van de fietsenindustrie gevonden'

De Belgische start-up REIN4CED bouwt nabij Leuven een gerobotiseerde fabriek die jaarlijks 20.000 fietskaders kan maken. ‘Het is de eerste in zijn soort, wereldwijd. We halen jobs terug uit Azië.’

REIN4CED ontwikkelde een composietmateriaal waarmee het de strijd aan gaat met carbon als grondstof voor fietskaders. Het combineert carbonvezels met heel fijne staalvezels. Die zijn op zo’n manier en op strategische plaatsen verweven om het fietskader extra stevig maken.

Eén commerciële deal is al getekend, en nagenoeg alle grote fietsmerken – denk aan Trek, Specialized, Giant, Ridley – zouden in de rij staan om met de Leuvenaars samen te werken, zowel voor racefietsen als mountainbikes. Die namen zal je evenwel niet uit de mond van Callens krijgen. ‘De belangen zijn te groot. Geheimhouding is belangrijk. Wat we doen, is bijzonder disruptief’, klinkt het.

Tom Boonen

Het wondermateriaal is even licht en stijf als carbon, terwijl het de grote zwakte van carbonfietsen aanpakt. ‘Carbonkaders zijn broos en zeer gevoelig. Ze tegen de muur zetten of in een putje rijden lijkt onschuldig maar kan interne scheurtjes veroorzaken. Je ziet die niet en ze kunnen groeien tot je kader plots breekt’, klinkt het. Het gebeurt niet vaak, maar wie aan 50 kilometer per uur op zijn bek gaat, zal het geweten hebben.

Dinsdag, enkele dagen voor de tourstart, ontvangt het bedrijf een 250-tal genodigden om zijn pionierswerk in de kijker te zetten. Ook Tom Boonen zal er zijn, terwijl ondernemer Urbain Vandeurzen de nieuwe fabriek in een toespraak zal bestempelen als een schoolvoorbeeld van de maakindustrie in Vlaanderen.

De productiehal is nu nog leeg, maar de komende weken en maanden worden de machines geleidelijk aan geïnstalleerd, opgestart en uitgetest. ‘Nog voor het jaareinde rollen hier de eerste frames voor verkoop van de band’, maakt Callens zich sterk. Volgend jaar zullen fietsen met REIN4CED-technologie in de winkel staan en misschien al hun intrede doen in het wielerpeloton. ‘Dat zou kunnen’, klinkt het geheimzinnig. ‘Het is alleszins onze ambitie ooit de tour te winnen.’

De finish is eindelijk in zicht, na een lang traject dat begon binnen de muren van de KULeuven. Callens ontwikkelde het composietmateriaal tijdens een doctoraat in elkaar, op het departement Materiaalkunde dat eerder al de basis legde voor de superlichte reiskoffers van Samsonite.

 

Eerste in zijn soort

Bovendien zette REIN4CED een geheel nieuw productieproces op poten. De fabriek is de eerste in zijn soort. Wereldwijd. ‘De machines die we hier zetten, zijn nog nooit gebouwd. We doen hier nog elke week dingen voor de eerste keer. Dat is best uitdagend’, zegt Dave Luyckx, die tien jaar ervaring heeft in de fietsenbranche bij onder meer Merckx.

De fabriek vergde een ‘grote investering’. ‘Meerdere miljoenen’, zegt Callens zonder veel meer van de interne keuken prijs te geven. Die centen verzamelde het bedrijf bij banken en Belgische investeringsmaatschappijen Gemma Frisius, Finindus en Innovation Fund. Daarbovenop kreeg het bijna 2 miljoen euro subsidies van Vlaanderen.

 

Jobs uit Azië

De fabriek in Winksele zal de omvang hebben van een middelgrote fabriek in Azie, hét mekka van de wereldwijde fietsenindustrie. ‘Alleen zie je daar 800 à 1.000 arbeiders die manueel lapjes koolstofvezel in de juiste vorm op elkaar leggen. Daarna gaat het de oven in en wordt het gebakken. Wij hebben dat proces geautomatiseerd. In onze fabriek zullen daardoor eens op kruissnelheid slechts 40 à 45 mensen werken. Dat zijn jobs die we terughalen uit Azië. De zoektocht naar operatoren is volop ingezet’, aldus Callens.

De fabriek gevuld krijgen zal volgens Luyckx geen probleem zijn. ‘Ik hoor van velen dat we snel aan de 20.000 stuks zullen zitten’, klinkt het. ‘Maar ik heb een gezonde terughoudendheid, want veel zal afhangen hoe snel we kunnen opschalen. Kinderziektes in het productieproces zijn nooit uitgesloten.’

Of REIN4CED de doodsteek is voor de Aziatische fietsenindustrie? In Europa alleen al worden 1,5 miljoen carbonfietsen per jaar verkocht waarvan de frames nu allemaal in Azië worden geproduceerd. ‘Maar het is een utopie dat we alles naar hier kunnen verleggen’, zegt Callens. ‘Een substantieel aandeel, 500.000 stuks, is wel mogelijk op termijn. In de hogere segmenten zit muziek voor ons. Onze productiekost ligt misschien wat hoger dan in Azië, maar vergeet de logistieke factor niet. Dat speelt bij de merken. Nu moeten ze zes tot acht maanden op voorhand hun productiebestellingen plaatsen. Ze kunnen amper inspelen op de markt, terwijl met e-commerce en directe verkoop aan de eindklant de aanlevertijden steeds belangrijker worden.’

 

Nog 25 fabrieken

Een half miljoen fietsen? Dat wil zeggen dat er nog 25 fabrieken als deze in het Leuvense op komst zijn? ‘Dat is onze bedoeling. Maar eerst deze fabriek up and running krijgen. Stap voor stap. We zouden het kunnen houden bij wat we hebben en zeggen: het is mooi geweest. Maar deze technologie is zo disruptief dat we groter moeten denken.’

Wat het moeilijkste was in al die jaren, vragen we als afsluiter. ‘Geloofwaardigheid opbouwen’, zegt Luyckx. ‘We stapten naar al die grote merken met de boodschap dat we de heilige graal gevonden hadden. Dat botste op weerstand, op ongeloof, en twijfel. Fairytale is een woord dat ik veel heb horen vallen. Wel, met een brede grijns kunnen we nu zeggen dat we er klaar voor zijn.’

 

Jan De Schamphelaere, Redacteur Ondernemen

foto:  © Dries Luyten

 

Sentea

Website Sentea

SENTEA (BE,2018) develops interrogators for fibre optic sensors (a.o. fibre bragg grating sensors). By integrating the optical parts directly on a chip and using existing fabs, the interrogator can be made more robust and more reliable, and be offered at a substantially lower cost. SENTEA enables condition monitoring to become the standard.

Related news

10 September 2018

Finindus invests in Sentea, a fiber optic sensing spin-off launched by UGent and imec

Silicon photonics based fiber optic sensing allows for highly accurate, small, robust and cost-efficient structural health monitoring and process control

Ghent (Belgium) - September 10, 2018 – Ghent University (UGent) and imec today announced the incorporation of Sentea, a spin-off from their world leading Photonics Research Group. An initial 1.6 million Euro in funding was raised from Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II and the founders. Sentea will develop and market advanced silicon photonics based fiber optic sensing solutions. These will be used to continuously monitor engineering structures for signs of damages that over time could lead to catastrophic failure, as well as to control industrial installations to maximize their efficiency.

According to the new market research report from MarketsandMarkets, the structural health monitoring market is estimated to grow from USD 1.48 billion in 2018 to USD 3.38 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 17.93% between 2018 and 2023. The major factors driving the growth of the structural health monitoring market include concerns about catastrophic failure due to aging infrastructures in the developed countries, stringent government regulations pertaining to the sustainability of structures, and the superior benefits of structural health monitoring. Furthermore, the structural Health Monitoring Market for the Energy vertical is expected to grow at a rate of more than 20% from 2018-2023, owing to various applications such as wind turbines, nuclear power plants and hydropower plants.

“Integrating all optical functions into a single silicon photonics component will allow us to make highly accurate, small and robust fiber optic sensor interrogators. Silicon photonics is also very cost-effective, which makes fiber optic sensing affordable for a wide range of new markets and applications and facilitates universal and continues monitoring of structures”, commented Karsten Verhaegen, CEO of Sentea. “Key potential customers have expressed great interest in Sentea’s solutions, stating that better infrastructure lifetime management and process control makes them more competitive in their respective markets.”

“Sentea builds on state-of-the-art silicon photonics technology IP that has been developed at the Photonics Research Group of imec and the UGent for the past 20 years, a technology in which both organizations are perceived as world-leading,” stated Luc Van den hove, president and Chief Executive Officer at imec. “This firm technology base will provide Sentea a kick-start to develop its sensor technology that is answering an existing need in a broad range of market segments.”

To develop its first products and bring them to market, the company raised 1.6 million Euro in funding from a consortium of investors including Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II.

About Structural Health Monitoring

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is a process in which engineering structures are continuously monitored throughout their lifetime for early signs of damages that over time could lead to catastrophic failure. By detecting any damage early on, and repairing or replacing the damaged part, catastrophic failure and the resulting downtime and huge repair costs can be avoided. A range of SHM solutions, such as fiber optic sensing, have found their way into engineering structures such as wind turbines, nuclear power plants, ships, trains, airplanes, buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, heavy machinery, blast furnaces and so on.

About fiber optic sensing

Fiber optic sensing is a technology where the sensor itself is a specialty fiber designed such that it can sense pressure and temperature at multiple point along the length of the fiber. An interrogator device then captures the signal of the multiple sensing points in the fiber and interprets the signal into pressure, temperature or other derived parameters (e.g. acceleration or vibration). The inherent advantages of fiber optic sensors such as light weight, small size, passive, low attenuation, immunity to electromagnetic interference, wide bandwidth and environmental ruggedness are heavily used to offset their major disadvantages of high cost of the interrogator. Cost reduction of fiber optic sensor interrogators, together with new trends like IoT, big data and industry 4.0 will boost the utility and demand of fiber optic sensing in SHM and process control even further.

About Silicon Photonics

Silicon photonics allows for major cost savings and a significant increase in capabilities in developing and fabricating optical components. The ability to use standard CMOS manufacturing processes makes silicon photonics commercially very attractive. The sub-micron precision of these standard microelectronic CMOS processes allow for silicon photonics components to integrate a variety of optical functions in a very small chip that consumes far less power than traditional optical components. Decades of experience in making (electronic) chips from silicon as well as the installed base of (silicon) semiconductor manufacturing capacity can be leveraged to build highly integrated low-cost optical components for a variety of applications.

About Sentea

Sentea aspires to be a market leader in advanced fiber optical solutions for structural health and process monitoring. The company was incorporated in 2018 as a spin-off of the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University and imec to commercialize more than a decade of research in silicon photonics and fiber optic sensing. Benefitting from the advantages of silicon photonics, Sentea will develop and market fiber optic sensing interrogators that offer high accuracy, small size and advanced functionality, positioned for deployment in a wide range of applications and markets, hence enabling continuous monitoring of structural integrity to become the standard. Sentea is privately held by a consortium of investors including Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II.

Contact: Karsten Verhaegen, CEO, e-mail: karsten.verhaegen@senteatech.com

About imec

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 546 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com.

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

Contact: Hanne Degans, Press communications manager, +32 16 28 17 69 // +32 486 06 51 75 // Hanne.Degans@imec.be

About UGent

Ghent University was founded in 1817 and is one of Europe’s leading institutions of higher education and research in the Dutch-speaking region today. It comprises eleven faculties offering education driven by its innovative research in the many scientific disciplines. Located in Flanders, Belgium, the cultural, political, and economic heart of Europe, Ghent University is an active partner in many national and international educational, scientific and industrial collaboration projects.

The Photonics Research Group in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture is one of Europe’s leading groups in the field of photonic integration and silicon photonics. It is associated with imec and hosts 80 researchers including six ERC-grantees. The Photonics Research Group is part of the Center for Nano and Biophotonics – NB-Photonics – a multidisciplinary research and technology transfer platform clustering the resources and knowhow of 23 professors across four different faculties.