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StarLink: The World's First Intelligent Vacuum Pump System

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - StarLink (StarLink: The World's First Intelligent Vacuum Pump System)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-08-31

With StarLink, DVP aims to launch a connected Predictive Maintenance 4.0 solution specifically designed for vacuum pumps. Our solution is based on a set of sensors and transmitters which feed the StarLink system with data. The system continuously analyses the data using machine learning algorithms. Benefitting from DVP’s wide experience in the vacuum sector, StarLink will minimize equipment downtime cost, maximize efficiency and reduce energy consumption using a predictive maintenance approach. StarLink will overcome traditional limitations of generic IoT solutions which do not provide the required information for optimizing vacuum systems management and will move forward from continuous monitoring solutions which do not have real predictive capabilities.
During the SME Instrument Phase 1, we covered the technical, commercial and financial feasibility of StarLink.
In the first part, we analysed the status of the technology validation and studied the key requirements that will need to be developed for the final StarLink market launch (TRL 9). We defined the roadmap for technical improvements including hardware and software, and all the pre-commercial tasks needed.
In the second part, we summarized the results from our market analysis, which combines the well-established vacuum pump sector with the opportunities for growth in the IoT sector. We evaluated our competitors and their solutions, defined the StarLink Value Chain, updated the market strategy and identified potential partners. The Freedom to Operate includes a detailed patent search and our IP management strategy is summarized.
In the third part, we include a summary of the financial viability assessment, including the necessary budget for the development and commercialization of StarLink. A forecast including future revenues and expenses for the five years post-market launch is included.
Risks have been considered across the areas covered in Phase I, including technical, commercial, financial risks and potential legal barriers.
During the last months, the StarLink Beta prototype has been tested at relevant industrial facilities. We have also obtained letters of interest from our main clients and distributors around the world, proving the market interest in the StarLink technology. DVP has designed a roadmap to minimize the technological risk. The required technological development has been grouped in two pieces of work: hardware improvements and software improvements. All this work will be integrated in a full prototype assessment and a field testing program at customer facilities. In addition, a low-cost, single-sensor device (StarLink Mini) has been designed and will be developed as a tool to test and introduce customers to industrial IoT prior to StarLink market launch.
During the feasibility study, we have estimated that the in-house StarLink team can grow from the current 3 full-time highly-qualified employees, hiring 2 new specialists in a PH2 and 7 new members in 5 years after market launch. These will include a wide range of profiles: mechatronic technicians, after-sales personnel, data scientists and web specialists. With the investment planned for Phase 2, we expect a payback time of 3 years after launch and a return of investment of 2.7 after five years. StarLink will help the company and the European vacuum sector differentiate from new low-cost competitors, helping to increase revenues and reduce energy waste, taking advantage of the current trend in PdM 4.0 and industrial digitalization.