Antwerp, Belgium – Aloxy, a spin-off of imec and the university of Antwerp, that develops plug-and-play Internet of Things technology for the process and chemical industry, closes its Series A funding. A consortium of local Belgian investors, QBIC II, Innovation Fund, Engie Fabricom, The CoFoundry, Fidimec and the University of Antwerp have joined forces to invest € 2 Million in the early growth of Aloxy. In the coming year, the company will focus on getting its IoT solution ATEX-certified and start-up production for large-scale volumes.
“Qbic was happy to take the lead in bringing together the investment syndicate for this promising spin-off from two of our partners. The quality of the consortium highlights once again the excellence of the academic research conducted at our Belgian universities.”
Sofie Baeten, managing partner Qbic II
The chemical – and the process industry in general – are facing an exciting challenge in the transition to the “Industry 4.0”, a new industrial era in which automation, big data and collaboration throughout the whole value chain are encouraging further optimization. To build specific solutions for the industry and facilitate this transition, imec and the University of Antwerp leveraged their low-power wireless IoT competences to create Aloxy in 2017 with the support of the imec.istart program. Maarten Weyn, Aloxy CTO and Professor at the University of Antwerp explains: “By closely collaborating with our customers at an early stage, we are able to create the best fit between their needs and our technology. Using IoT forces us to make decisions on the level of hardware, software, communication, integration and applications where we focus on adding value for our customers.”.
At the time of writing, Aloxy focusses on two specific solutions: remote monitoring of manual valves and tracking the status of individual parts and assets when a production process is halted for maintenance. “When the Aloxy team first pitched these ideas to the imec executive board, we immediately recognized the market potential of the technology and engaged in a research collaboration needed to develop the early prototypes,” stated Jo De Boeck, CTO at imec. “It’s great to see that innovative research results in practical market applications for Flanders and abroad.”
In November 2017, Aloxy was selected to take part in the Plant 4.0 incubator, an initiative from several major industrial players in the process industry. This led to the opportunity to test their first proof-of-concept in real operating environments. Currently, Aloxy is testing its solution to monitor manual valves with three partners: BASF in the Port of Antwerp and two other companies in Spain and the Netherlands. These pilot projects are important for validating and further developing the solution.
The second application for the Aloxy technology is to monitor the status of individual parts and assets during shutdowns and regular maintenance. Aloxy’s solution enables to pinpoint the location of the parts, whether they are in the workshop for repair or in transit and allows local interaction with operators and inspectors. This kind of information is vital for assessing whether production can resume on time and maintenance is still on schedule. Bruno Depré, business developer and innovation & strategy manager at Engie Fabricom comments: “We invest in Aloxy because digital technologies will drive innovation in various maintenance activities in the process industry. Using the Aloxy technology, Engie Fabricom could further improve its service delivery to be even more efficient and customer-focused”.
During the Maintenance 2018 conference in March of this year, Aloxy received the Digital Innovation Award from the Belgian Maintenance Association (BEMAS). This award generated a great deal of visibility for Aloxy and boosted their credibility with investors.
“The next step for Aloxy is to develop our solution further and make it into a product that we can manufacture and roll out in volume. I’m very excited with the new investors that we have on board. They bring expertise both in hardware and software development and have a great understanding of the industry.”
Jan Coppens, CEO Aloxy