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Non-contact Near Infra-Red insPEction and monitoRing For Evaluation of ComposiTes

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NIR-PERFECT (Non-contact Near Infra-Red insPEction and monitoRing For Evaluation of ComposiTes)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

The NIR-PERFECT business innovation project concerns the use of an already developed Near Infra-Red (NIR) Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Inspection & Monitoring system for composite materials used in combination with an embedded dye. The NIR-PERFECT system is targeted towards manufacturers and end users of composite materials as well as NDT service providers for in-line and in-field inspection and detection of defects.

The NIR-PERFECT innovation action project objectives are to: 1. Prepare a patent application for a daughter patent 2. Prepare a robust business case for the NIR-PERFECT NDT inspection & monitoring system for composite assessment 3. To validate against end-user requirements 4. Determine supply partner for dye and 5. Determine target end use applications & supply chain partners.

The NIR-PERFECT project consisted of three main tasks: (i). Business Plan Generation (ii) Technical Validation and (iii) Project management. The main task (business plan generation) explored and evaluated products and services, market analysis, strategy & implementation, management and financial planning. Technical validation work was performed to assess system capabilities with respect to the end user requirements.

The outcomes of the NIR-PERFECT innovation action project are: 1. Filing & granting of a daughter patent (US8933405) and an additional patent (GB1506676) 2. Robust business case prepared 3. NIR-PERFECT system validated by a sector specialist and an assessment made on system capabilities 4. Supply chain partner for dye and electronic components established and 5. Target markets of marine and wind established.
The Stage I Action allowed us to push the technical and commercial aspects of NIR-PERFECT forwards. Specifically we have:

• Developed a fully integrated NIR-PERFECT NDT system comprising signal generator, Near Infra-red laser transmitter, camera receiver, lock-in amplifier and embedded processing for data acquisition and platform for firmware-based instrument control.
• Designed embedded firmware for the NIR-PERFECT system.
• Validated the NIR-PERFECT system for detection of defects within a composite test specimen using a series of proprietary embedded dyes which fluoresce in the NIR part of the spectrum.
• Validated the NIR-PERFECT system for detection of water within composite test specimen. 
• Undertaken a review of intellectual property and submission of additional granted patent.
• Created a business plan that includes a plan for the acquisition of further funding to commercialize and scale up the NIR-PERFECT platform NDT system to full industrial readiness.
• Identified target end-user applications and key supply chain partners for optimal commercial exploitation.
The expected final results of NIR-PERFECT that will result from the Action are:
• A detailed requirements definition for the NIR-PERFECT system that will be represented as is a series of functional requirements.
• A NIR-PERFECT solution design and final agreement of the solution for implementation and service delivery.
• NIR-PERFECT product implementation to achieve a fully demonstrable system.
• Product Testing and product launch.
• To create and implement a robust Business Plan to cover both in- project activities and post-project activities. The business plan will build upon the initial commercialization plan already developed and will consider market access (opportunities and dynamics), IP landscape (future IP opportunities), supply chain and competitor analysis and routes to market and cost analysis to ensure economic viability.
• To strengthen patent portfolio through the identification and preparation of further protection needed to completely protect the NIR-PERFECT platform.

If we are able to achieve these end-results then it is anticipated that the NIR-PERFECT system will achieve 5 year cumulative sales from 2022 of €17.155 million at a selling price of €18k/unit and a manufacturing cost of €9k/unit. This will be achieved through: Direct sales to manufacturers; Direct sales to service providers; Software and Hardware upgrades; Training and Equipment Maintenance and servicing.