Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OMIS (Optical Mid Infrared Spectrometer)
Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-04-30
The main objective was to develop a demonstrably pilot device for gas detection based on a new technology. The main requirements to this new device have been:
• low cost
• identifying more than one type of gas
• higher sensitivity of gas detection (< 10ppm)
• less response time (< 2 seconds)
Integrated in a handheld device, the new technology should classify potential dangerous gas concentrations based on new optical technology. The device should identify the four main types of explosive gas used in households and industry reliably and quickly and increase the security of working staff in this field by reducing response time dramatically.
The targeted new technology should solve future needs of the market and set up a new standard on portable devices in this sector.
As the technical principle had already been solved, the main target of the project was to match this solution with all other necessary components of a new device and to identify possible suppliers of these components.
During the project the research team was identifying two possible solutions each having a disadvantage:
• one found solution is matching all technical requirements but seems too expensive for the targeted market
• the other found solution is matching the needed price but not satisfy the technical requirements totally.
The board of technicians decided during the project to divide the research team in two groups. One group received the order to reduce the price to the high end solution by identifying alternative suppliers or reduce the price of other components to reach a reasonable price of the final device.
The other group received the order to increase the technical possibilities of the low cost solution to satisfy the needed technical requirements.
Finally two ugly prototypes have been created, as described in the technical report. Both of them are now in a second phase of certification and evaluation to see if they are fulfilling the pretended specifications.
During the project duration a lot of details could be justified and a lot of problems could be solved. To structure the progress of the project, the performance will be divided in three sectors: technical-, commercial-, and administrative performance.
Although the technical principle had been solved before, a lot of components had to be identified. During the project the optical source could be narrowed down to two components. Potential optical filters and sensors could be identified and other critical components could also narrowed down to two or three possible components.
A big issue was also to establish strong contacts to potential suppliers but also to potential customers to coordinate their future requirements.
Beside this contacts, a potential strong relationship to CNR (national research centre of Italy), INGV (national geophysics and volcanologist institute) and the centre de la recherché (gas France) could be established during the project duration.
Actual two pilot devices (ugly prototypes) are available as described in the technical report. The process of certification for the main components (e.g. ATEX) already started and also the process of price negotiation has been already initiated.
During the project duration a detailed business plan could be elaborated and also a marketing strategy could be defined.
As this niche market is not a free market by offering products but depending on tender criteria of the main player on national markets strong relations to the main players in Austria, Croatia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and USA could be established.
Potential Distributors in more than 10 countries (new and existing) could be identified and contract negotiations are in progress.
Secondary markets have been identified (like fire brigades, industrial producers, etc.) and their special needs have been evaluated.
Negotiation processes with suppliers (coming from the technical division) already started and the calculation of the final consumer price is in progress in accordance with the main potential clients.
Producing capacities internal but also in cooperation with third parties have been evaluated and a producing strategy including producing alternatives has been elaborated.
In a first step, the existing structure of the company has been analysed. The main objectives have been: the available space for expected production, the management capacity, the calculation of technicians needed to guaranty the production, trainings, maintenance and documentation but also the existing IT structure and capacity for managing the archive.
As a result the weakness of the existing IT structure, the weakness of the employee market in the region (lack of technicians) and the language competences could be identified.
To solve these problems, strategies have been elaborated as described in the business plan and the technical report.
To increase the sensibility of the devices will enable the Distributors to know problems of Gas leaks much more before these leaks reach a level of danger. A direct consequence will be a reducing of emergency interventions and make maintenance and solving gas leaks more schedulable.
To reduce the response time and also the calibration time will gain precious time in case of emergency and will enable the responsible to react more quickly in dangerous circumstances to save people live.
To indentify the type of gas will enable the technician to know more quickly if the gas leak is depending on the gas grid or not.
During the project investigation other dramatic aspects occurred. If people will be aware of gas smell they call the fire brigade or the gas distributor. After checking the gas grid by a technician of the gas distributor the responsible will intervene if the problem is depending on the gas grid. If not, the technician will delegate the responsibility to the fire brigade. As more than 90% of the fire brigades do not have any device to indentify gas – because they would need for all type of gas another device plus maintenance and training – they start to search for possible sources of a gas leak. So they lose a lot of time for searching and identifying. The rate of false alarm is around 10% with partially heavy impact on the infrastructure of a city (closing streets and digging for leaks). That means a heavy cost but also a negative social economic impact because of traffic jam, inaccessibility, etc.
If the technician of the gas distributor and/or the fire brigade is able to identify the type and also the concentration of gas, it will have a dramatic impact to the process of intervention. This will decrease dramatically the time to identify sources of gas leaks, because the responsible know exactly what they are searching for. It will be also reduce the level of stress all involved and last but not least it will reduce the number of building evacuations, with all the consequences, because the concentration of gas is not identified as dangerous. By the way it will also save up thousands of hours working time for gas distributors but also fire men.