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Proving the IBC Robotics container cleaning system as an economic, climate- and environmentally-friendly and safe contribution to the EU transport system in order to disrupt the global market

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EcoContainerCleaner (Proving the IBC Robotics container cleaning system as an economic, climate- and environmentally-friendly and safe contribution to the EU transport system in order to disrupt the global market)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2015-12-31

The title of the project is “Proving the IBC Robotics container cleaning system as an economic, climate- and environmentally-friendly and safe contribution to the EU transport system in order to disrupt the global market”. This report is a stand-alone report that excludes information already provided in the proposal for the project. The project was basically carried out in line with the proposal and the results are presented in this report. It also had a catalytic effect boosting the available development capital for the company.

The objective is to prove the IBC-Robotics container cleaning solution, the IBA system, in an operational environment and to demonstrate it in further complementary European operational situations through a subsequent SME Instrument Phase 2 project.

IBC Robotics is a company devoted to the development and marketing of an automated and environmentally friendly ship container cleaning solution. The capital injection is estimated to a temporary level of 5,6 million EUR during 2016. The catalytic effect of the small SME 1 project could be multiplied by an SME 2 project or by a LIFE project. That would boost credibility for private equity and pave the way for adequate funding for a very rapid and well IP-protected expansion. Fall-back alternatives are available if funding problems occur. Investments might be spread over 2017 to 2019.
The conclusions of the project are:
1. Basically there are no changes to the objectives, the concept and approach, and the impact of the project between a phase one and a possible phase 2 project. However an increased focus will be on finding first customers among organisations with particular needs concerning e.g. the environment or problems with work safety.
2. Support is needed to
-identify customers and to provide demonstrations of the feasibility of the revised system.
-fund the necessary demonstrations and the subsequent market expansion.
3. It is feasible that when produced and demonstrated in an operational environment, the IBA System will gradually conquer the market.
4. It has been possible to design a most likely profitable prototype of a 40 foot container that includes the ameliorations suggested by the testing of the prototype of the 20 foot container.
5. It proved possible to attract further capital for the development of the IBA – system, once the project was approved, both a bank credit and further private equity.
6. The costs for this system have proved higher than foreseen. Therefore first customers are most likely to be found among organisations that have particular reasons beyond short-term profitability, e.g. tough environmental legislation or in appropriate labelling of containers.
7. The project was honoured by selection as an SME champion for the EU/USA days in Milan late 2015. This confirms the interest in the feasibility of the IBA – System at EU level. IBC-Robotics participated without funding from the project. 
The project ran from July 1 to December 31 2015. It had a catalytic effect on the acquisition of capital and on the activities of the project. Some 130 000 € were invested in project activities. Project management worked well. Project activities are reported by task below.

TASK 2 Verifying the technical and economic viability and functionality of the IBA solution
This included:
 Adaptation of the calculated costs for IBA-System cleaning in relation to the revised system design.
 Simulations of the costs for cleaning depending on the degree of utilisation.
 Data simulations of the revised prototype in operation
 A proposal for how to develop this for practical field tests was delivered free of charge by SP – Technical research Institute of Sweden.

TASK 3 Modification of prototype
The delivery for modification and further development of the prototype was a solution for robotic ice-blasting washing of 40-foot containers with different wash programs (wash ratio and divided on the part of the Interior). This included 23 separate actions.

TAKS 4 The market study
A review of customers and competition as well as costs lead to the Market Strategy below.

To penetrate the market will basically be a stepwise procedure as soon as the resources are available to organize physical demonstration in an operational environment.
1. To organize demonstrations and scientific evaluations of the IBA - System in an operational environment. This could preferably be in the form of an EU project together with one or more prospects, that have an additional niche motive to invest in the system. This is most likely a buyer of container cleaning services, but it could also be a port service operator.
2. To disseminate the results of these demonstrations and tests to prospects, starting by those who have already shown major interest in the IBA System.
3. After that, a major part of the work to sell the system is to identify the actual costumer in each harbour and country. The reason is that some arguments can be stronger in some countries while other arguments are stronger in other countries. It means that the position of the actual customer that will decide to buy or at least strongly influence the decision to buy varies between harbours, depending of owners and organization. Thus it is essential to develop knowledge about “Who is the customer” in each harbour.
4. There is also a need to build awareness among stakeholders in the container cleaning market. Activities include cold-calling, web marketing through social media i.e. Youtube, Facebook and LinkedIn, articles in transportation/port magazines, exhibitions and meetings with potential customers and decision makers.

TASK 5 The innovation strategy
Based on a review of Intellectual Property (IP) management issues, the innovation strategy was further developed in support of an elaborated business plan

TASK 6 The elaborated Business plan
The objective
The objective of the Business plan is to implement the market strategy as explained above, as rapidly as possible. A precondition is that the capital needed is obtained. However the owners wish to maintain control of the company.

The offer
The IBC Robotics cleaning solution is delivered as a turn-key solution, including installation. Delivery will also include training, targeting the specific cleaning need and requirements of the customer.
- IBC Robotics product is offered as a total solution. The list price for one installation is 3.5 MSEK (Euro 400 000) and includes a cleaning setup with the manual loading of carbon ice. For a full production cleaning facility, where stacking and automated loading of containers will be used, pricing could start at 4.5 MSEK (Euro 515 000). Payment in advance 50% for product/installation project will be required followed by 25% with delivery and 25% with final approval.
- There is also the business possibility to provide the equipment of cleaning containers and get paid per container being cleaned.
- Another possibility is renting out the cleaning solution equipment including service.
A service contract offering to cover maintenance and service of equipment should be considered. The service could also include supply carbon ice and/or carbon dioxide for the production of carbon ice.
PROGRESS
The feasibility study has verified that a 40 foot container can be built and become competitive in relation to current container cleaning methods and that there is people interested in investing capital in the development of this innovation. Basically there are no changes to the objectives, the concept and approach, and the impact of the project between a phase one and a possible phase 2 project. However an increased focus will be on finding first customers among organisations with particular needs concerning e.g. the environment or problems with work safety.

EXPECTED POTENTIAL IMPACT
The importance of clean containers is to protect the goods from dirt and contaminant but also to prevent the spread of diseases between countries. For that reason ultimately every container needs to be washed before being used. Thus every day millions of containers should be cleaned for reuse. That cleaning process is not only labour intense, but also poses an environmental and the health threat due to significant use of water and various chemicals.

IBC Robotics has an automated, cost efficient, dry and environmentally friendly cleaning solution for ship containers that fits perfectly well with demands of today and tomorrows container logistics. This cleaning method will make it possible to avopid manual labour instide the container that is being cleaned which means a considerable improvement of the working environment, work safety as well as a diminished environmental risk from container cleaning.

Significant customer needs that will be met by this container-cleaning method:
1) Container cleaning takes very little time since drying sn't needed and the work can be integrated with the demanding container logistics. If you need to service or clean a container you will not anymore have toy take it out of the “flow” and send it for manual cleaning somewhere else.
2) Traditional cleaning of ship containers involves water and drying of this container takes time, hours up to 2 days. this can be avoided.
3) In cold countries cleaning in free air during winter time is impossible due to water freezing but with this method i can be performed since drying is not necessary..
4) Water is a limited resource and can be saved.
5) The use of chemicals for cleaning of ship containers can have adverse effects on the environment. These effects disappear with this system.
6) The job of cleaning container is associated with lots of risks, one is poisoning as toxic is frequently used to protect goods against insects. These risks disappear-
7) Handling of specific goods as paper, cartoon for the package industry and food transport requires extra time consuming handling and care for high quality cleaning.
8) With a robotic cleaning process instead of a manual cleaning one, the quality of the will be standardised and controllable in every container.

The IBC Robotics technology could very easily also be adopted to land transportation, cleaning of trucks used for food transportations is one possible market.

SWOT
Strengths
Patent, Technology, Market interest, Early adaptors available, Environmental benefits, High efficiency, High cleaning quality, Keep the container within the logistic chain, Controllable process, Eliminate drying time.
Weaknesses
Small company, no customer signed today, customer awareness, competition, unproven operating capabilities.
Opportunities
Large market and increasing market potential, Ports realize the potential to keep the container within the logistic chain , Automated service, ”Green technology”, Other industrial applications possible.
Threats
CO2 is negative as “brand”, What’s happen with CO2 in the future, Capital need, Manual CO2 cleaning as competition.