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Modular 100% Carbon Fibre Footbridge

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MODBRIDGE (Modular 100% Carbon Fibre Footbridge)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-01-31

Our MODBRIDGE project consists in the development and industrialization of the first modular 100 % Carbon Fibre Composite(CFC) footbridge entirely created within a single company, offering improved properties for the walkway sector, thanks to the technical characteristics of the raw material used, the particular design of the product and the industrial production chain organization.
According to the features of Carbon Fibres Composites, the MODBRIDGE presents: ultra light structure (weighing only 8,5 quintals every 18 linear meters); very high payload (capable of supporting more than 450 kg/m2); prominent resistance to weathering and corrosion (no maintenance for at least the first five years), functional and symmetric design of modules produced in series; simple and quick assembly or disassembly system( estimated in only one working day).
The starting point of this Feasibility Study was the current stage of the product development, which relies on the first tailor-made prototype consisting in a 6-meter long catwalk presented at the Euroluce held in Milan in 2013, and then installed as connection of two new buildings in Lomazzo (Como, Italy).
Currently, the technical specifications are appropriate to a made-to-order product but not to the industrial scale model, as the first prototype responds to the specific requirements of customers more careful to design than to the functionality of the walkway.
The industrial approach that our company aims at implementing and the commercialization strategy based on a broader diffusion of the MODBRIDGE, especially on the European market, have driven to fix the objectives of this Feasibility Study as follows, according to the work plan described in the Phase 1 application:
Technical Objectives:
- The structural pre-dimensioning and the study of assembly systems
- The determination of the engineering and the whole production chain organization
- The introduction of improvements like lighting, handrails, safety, and drainage systems
Commercial Objectives:
- Fulfill a detailed Market Analysis
- Describe the Commercialization Strategy
- Design the Marketing Plan
- Accomplish a comprehensive Freedom-To-Operate and IPR Strategy
Financial Objectives:
- Organize a detailed Financial Plan
- Draft the scheme for additional funding requirements
To realize the objectives set out, we have made all the analysis and surveys necessary to perform all the tasks and achieve all the fundamental insights.
By technical side, the definition of the structural pre-dimensioning and the study of assembly systems has re-defined the external shape and the details of the modules and frames intersection, defining materials specifications, as a result of the new form and the industrial production approach.
The study of potential improvements has suggested the introduction of improvements like lighting, handrails, safety, and drainage systems. The draft of a Risk Management Plan has set out any potential drawbacks of project implementation and suggested mitigation measures.
The Market Analysis conducted has concluded that European market is the first context in which our MODBRIDGE will be presented and it’s renewed external shape is therefore conceived to favour any users category, including people with disabilities. Our target markets can be divided into public institutions and companies working in construction, buildings, and exhibition or trade shows organization. The most attractive countries for our product are primarily those of Western and Continental Europe, whose annual value of the potential market is expected around 240 Million € for the next five years.
The Pricing analysis has used the Life-Cycle Cost approach to verify our business viability, identifying in the capacity to contain costs to € 6,300 per linear our winning strategy. The MODBRIDGE price set in € 9,000 per linear meter is very competitive facing alternative solutions (€ 8,000 for steel and € 8,500 for concrete or wood). Thanks to the reduced time for assembly, lower cost for the installation, and significant saving in maintenance costs, our MODBRIDGE is considered competitive with other solutions. The most important aspect emerging from the whole analysis of competitors is the absence of solution similar to ours in the European market: FIBERTECH will be the first manufacturer and supplier of 100% Carbon Fibre footbridges. The FTO analysis has shown that in the engineering and bridges construction sectors there is no patent or other intellectual property rights that directly exclude the production and commercialization of a modular footbridge model entirely made up of CFCs, and we have decided to apply for a Utility Model Patent to protect the distinctive configuration of our MODBRIDGE.
The expected results involve different aspects of the high impact that our project will have on European society and markets, and on our company development.
The new linear shape ensures the most complete and functional use by all users, and in particular to those with reduced mobility, and provides better handling the influx of people in high traffic environments. In this way it meets the public entities requirements for footbridge installation. Thus M0DBRIDGE aims to promote a more efficient mobility of people, overcoming accessibility barriers and reducing traffic disruptions.
The most important economic benefits that our MODBRIDGE will ensure, can be summarized as follows:
- Construction industry specific benefits: The use of CFCs in buildings and construction sector guarantees mechanical and structural properties far superior than the materials such wood, steel and concrete. Composite materials can withstand harsh environments, so their longer service life can realize saves on product maintenance and replacement cost
- Reduced installation times: the modular MODBRIDGE is quicker and far simple to install than other materials bridges, which require long setting and hardening times to be designed and installed. In addition, thanks to its fast and simple design conceived and produced like a puzzle, does not require the “modification” of the structures to connect.
- Reduced maintenance cost and time: CFC materials require less maintenance, can be easily cleaned up, require less repairs and monitoring, increasing the operation time and incurring good returns.
Then the industrialization process set out allows high-quality products, with a greater uniformity of impregnation and more standardized geometries of the finished composite. In addition, it guarantees to shorten the production times, as the polymerization process in an autoclave lasts about 2 hours.
This process consents to realize economies of scale, and we foresee that over the first five years, we plan to increase by 13 times our production capacity, going from 150 linear meters to 2,000 linear meters, and enlarging our manufacturing workforce by hiring at least four workers to be employed in the production chain.
The results in terms of revenues are expected to reach a turnover of 42.30 Million, and Total Profit of 9.5 MIllion € over the first five years of deployment, presenting a ROI of 2.80 if we consider that the total required investment will be 2.5 Million € for the same period.