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Scaling of a midsized patented low energy, light weight, highly efficient actuator to meet the demands of smaller and larger scale functions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SmartAct-2-3 (Scaling of a midsized patented low energy, light weight, highly efficient actuator to meet the demands of smaller and larger scale functions)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-02-28

The SmartAct-2-3 Project concerns the scaling of a midsized patented low energy, light weight, highly efficient actuator to meet the demands of smaller and larger scale functions. The Key objective is to enable commercial delivery of eco-designed rescaled SACO actuator systems delivering <20Nm and >400Nm actuators with 75% improvements in efficiency to new European and global markets.
The system is proven to use 25% less copper, be 80% lighter and 75% more energy efficient than our competitors. Our technology is a game changing product capable of delivering benefits worldwide by reducing:
• the energy required to automate everyday tasks in many applications,
• the volume of raw materials, including copper and magnets, used to manufacture automated systems,
• inventory and therefore administration complexity,
• weight, thereby reducing fuel use in logistics and shipping,
• the carbon footprint in manufacturing and distribution,
• the need for sourcing manufacturing capability outside Europe.

During the Phase 1 feasibility study we have:
1. conducted a market study,
2. identified and engaged key market access partners,
3. identified the expertise required to deliver the formulaic rescale of relationship between power, number of RIFTs and control system during the Phase 2 project,
4. identified suitable large scale integration partners capable of delivering 1000s of units,
5. reviewed IP space and assessed opportunities for additional patent applications,
6. performed a full assessment of future costs and revenue streams arising from selected new markets,
7. worked closely with a business coach to complete the Phase 1 project and
8. collated the required information for the preparation of the Phase 2 proposal.

The work within Phase 1 has strengthened the business proposition and confirmed the strategic vision in terms of capturing the opportunity. We are now proceeding with the application for the Phase 2 project.
Feasibility Study
The SmartAct-2-3 Project concerns the scaling of a midsized patented, low energy, light weight, highly efficient actuator to meet the demands of smaller and larger scale functions.
Key Objective To enable commercial delivery of eco-designed rescaled SACO actuator systems delivering <20Nm and >400Nm actuators with 75% improvements in efficiency to new European and Global markets.
Below is a summary of the tasks performed and key outcomes of each. Each of the below tasks contains detailed task reports that are available on request.

Task 1: Identify Parties to Participate in Market Landscape Study
From our current distributor network and those of our competitors, identify and engage sufficient numbers of relevant, interested parties to participate in consumer surveys, product requirement capture and pilot trials.
Results: Over the course of two weeks, contacts from our existing database were contacted by telephone to assess appetite for participation in this task. As the exercise was mainly data capture, NDAs were only necessary for those partners eventually selected to participate in the Phase 2 project. The use of marketing lists from our local chamber of commerce and second tier contacts gained from the first tier companies contacted allowed us to gain introductions to the international parties we require. Parties identified were categorised into groups:
• Regulatory / Professional Bodies
• Valve manufacturers • Valve and Actuator Package Distributors
• Valve / Actuator Package Installers • End Customers
Significant crossover exists between market roles and positioning with many manufacturers functioning as Distributors, VARs and OEMs. The same is true of other categories where installers may also be distributors and even manufacturers or end customers of some products. Of the 28 companies contacted, the following were invited to participate in the voice of the customer surveys conducted under Task 2.
Professional
BVAA
The British Valve and Actuator Association is a professional body supporting the UK domestic and export valve and actuator industry.
Rob Bartlett, rob@bvaa.org.uk www.bvaa.org.uk 01295 221270
Interested in supporting UK development and promoting UK manufacturing. BVAA is a key contributor to development of standards in the industry and associated sectors and will be our route to influence legislation and standards.
Manufacturers (Potential Trial)
Mars Valves
• Manufactures metal ball valves
• Distributes several makes of actuator
• Long history
• Well-established brand
• Very good reputation
Wayne Lyons, sales@marsvalves.co.uk 01432 726798
Demonstrated SmartAct-1 to its customers who provided good feedback. Interested in SmartAct-2-3. Large player in UK. US division interested in both units. Agreed to participate in trials.
ValVlave Manufacturers (Potential Trial Users)
KSB Valves
Manufacturer of a wide range of butterfly valves.
Phil Green, phil.green@ksb.com 01509 231872
Particularly interested in SmartAct-3 (high torque) to enable SACO products to actuate the majority of KSB Valves. Existing products only cover the smaller valves in their range. Want to test and trial product.

SAFI Valves
Manufactures a wide range of plastic valves both ball and butterfly. Assembles its own actuators and also uses a range of small to medium actuators on its valves.
Steven Cook, sales@safi-limited.com 01202 624618
Interested in SmartAct-2 which could actuate most of firm’s valves. Has a specific customer in mind (John Deere sprayers) which uses 30k small actuators a year but suffers a high failure rate in use. Has a test centre in France where the company has agreed to conduct tests and trials on SmartAct-2. (Conducted similar trials on SmartAct-1 for multiple applications).

Auma
Manufactures high end electric actuators for a range of applications, A high quality German manufacturer with a very good reputation.
Paul Hopkins & Steve Penney, mail@auma.co.uk
Intere
The SmartAct-2-3 project concerns the scaling of a midsized patented low energy, light weight, highly efficient actuator to meet the demands of smaller and larger scale functions. The objective is to enable commercial delivery of eco-designed rescaled actuator systems delivering <20Nm and >400Nm actuators with 75% improvements in efficiency to new European and global markets. The main features are:
• We can match to a specific valve for that purpose in that environment, thus reducing maintenance.
• Reduced CO2 due to low power consumption
• Lubrication free gear box (allows multiple orientation installation)
• Increased reliability due to in-build redundancy
We have confidence in the re-scaled products as volume of sales, enquiries and quotations for our base model SmartAct®-1, launched in 2014, are growing at an excellent rate. Our current order book is expanding and we are quoting 4 to 6 weeks delivery whereas in January 2015 we were quoting from stock. In late 2014 orders were ‘starter’ quantities of 5s and 10s for distributor stock with low value production and process control applications at approximately €200 per unit. Recent orders are for subsea, biogas and fracking applications using the full feature set of the actuator with orders for 20-30 units with a €2000 average selling price. Almost without exception our distributors have given us feedback that once we can fill their requirement for small, medium and large actuators they will switch purchasing from their existing suppliers who are dominated by Far East manufacturers. They can’t switch completely now because we can’t supply their full product range requirement.
The potential, given the global prevalence of electrical actuators in commercial and industrial applications, is huge with an estimated 5 million units in operation in the UK alone, The global market for all electric actuators was ~$20 billion in 2012 with anticipated growth of 8% y/y. The EU Directive 2012/27/EU 25 October 2012 calls for the community to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain from the transformation of energy, its distribution, the development of energy efficient technologies, through to final consumption. Our Smart Actuators can not only help achieve the targets, they are in the market and proving their place as a technology for use now, during transition to common energy policies and in the future.
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