In the second round of challenges, PITCCH — the Pan-European Open Innovation Network — tested a business model where technology centres could directly connect with the SMEs and offer them brokerage services.
The PITCCH project has provided funding to promote collaboration between the TC and the SMEs. So, from the PITCCH project, the SME received a financial award of €5k and the TC received a financial award of €10k to provide support services to the SME.
We interviewed one of the SMEs and asked them about the impact a technology centre is having on their Open Innovation project and how they are benefiting from their support.
Interview with Bert Habets from ColorFabb
In the context of developing a “truly organic” biomaterial that could be used to 3D print luminaires for Signify (in the 2nd round of PITCCH Challenges), Bert Habets, CEO of ColorFabb, talked with us about the involvement of CHILL Technology Centre in their project.
1. What do you hope to achieve with this project?
When starting this development project, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind. In this project, we are developing a new filament grade(s) made from 100% PHA (PolyHydroxyAlkanoates) and testing its feasibility for a specific sustainable product range in a print farm setting.
Without a specific goal, a project is likely to be less successful and could even end up being a waste of time and money. It’s of the highest importance to be realistic.
The research and development of the desired PHA filament will be exploratory and iterative. Our target outcome is set and everyone is involved in the PITCCH project.
The feasibility of PHAs filament(s) will be proven by doing the following: testing the properties of PHAs filament against other filaments used by the customer and investigating the adjustments of the standard workflow/print configuration.
2. What services will CHILL provide in the project?
CHILL (Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs) will provide a wide range of services to the project, which can be broadly divided into the categories of support to researchers and facilitating high-tech laboratory testing equipment.
3. Why is this research and development center the right partner for this?
There are many reasons why this particular research and development center (CHILL) is the ideal partner for this project. First, they have a proven track record of success in developing innovative new products. Second, they have an extensive network of suppliers and manufacturers that they can work with to bring products to market quickly and cost-effectively. Third, they have a team of experienced engineers and scientists who can help the project team to take our products from concept to reality. Finally, they are a highly-respected and well-funded organization, which means they have the resources to support our project through every stage of development. Their work is of high quality, and they are located nearby.
4. What are PolyHydroxyAlkanoates exactly?
PolyHydroxyalkAnoates (PHAs) are a family of biodegradable polyesters produced by microorganisms. Such microorganisms can be found in diverse natural environments, including soil, water and plants. PHAs occur naturally in living cells as intracellular carbon storage or linear polyesters in a variety of bacteria, yeast, and algae. PHAs are produced by the fermentation of sugars or lipids. PHAs can be produced from a variety of substrates, including sugars, vegetable oils, and waste biomass. Thus, PHA is a type of biodegradable polymer
made from renewable resources.
PHAs are readily biodegradable and can be composted in versatile conditions, which means they can be broken down by the environment without causing any harm. They disintegrate and are readily biodegradable in both salt and fresh water. Thus, avoiding accumulation in nature, as we have all seen happening with fossil-based materials; the plastic soup.
PHAs are a good alternative to traditional plastics because they can be used as a substitute for petrochemicals in the manufacture of plastics, fibers, and elastomers. They can be used to make a variety of products, including food packaging, flexible films, fibers, containers (e.g. coffee capsules), and 3D Printing filaments.
The role of Technology Centres
Taking this interview into account, we can conclude that the TC plays an important role in the development of any project.
Are you a technology centre that wants to offer expertise to SMEs? The time is now! We have just recently closed the 3rd round of challenges and received new solutions from SMEs. By the end of the month, we will announce the winners for these challenges and you can start proposing your brokerage services to them.
Technology Centres have a key role in our Open Innovation Network, as they can review the proposed solutions for each challenge and offer their services to SMEs in order to support future collaboration projects.
As well as providing brokerage services and establishing new relationships with big corporations and SMEs, Technology Centers will act as intermediaries and facilitators in providing services to co-develop or deliver better solutions to corporations.
Offer your services to SMEs!
After signing up for the PITCCH Platform, Technology Centres can explore the Challenges section, read the submitted proposals and propose a meeting with the SMEs to offer their services. They can also have access to the database of more than 700 companies that work in advanced technologies, connect with them and find other great collaboration opportunities.
Join us to disrupt the future of innovation together.