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SLIM Report Summary

Project ID: 744671

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SLIM (Strong, Lightweight and Indestructible Marble)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

BUDRI’s objective is to be the first company to commercialize products made of Strong, Lightweight and Indestructible Marble (SLIM). BUDRI has developed a method that allows the manufacturing of very thin layers of marble to be coated with composite materials with resins in order to produce strong, flexible and lightweight marble of 1mm for uses in areas of construction and others, such as luxury eyewear frames. The main objective for BUDRI is to meet the technical, commercial, regulatory and financial requirements for the successful industrialization and commercialization of SLIM eyewear. In order to ensure these goals, studies are conducted to increase the surface area of marble that could be milled through the use of this process to upturn production capacity, broaden the applications of the product and to reduce the production cost. For an unrestricted commercialization achieving certifications is crucial along with the development of relationships with suppliers of the materials needed. A study was undertaken to research the viability of achieving a certification for marble eyewear products via a leading market certification agency. Best segments, targeted markets and regions for initial commercialization of SLIM have been assessed as well as further expansion and internationalization. A deep market study and survey of distributors has been performed to get as much on-site relevant information as possible. For an efficient marketing of the product we need to establish relationships with distributors through the attendance at trade shows of eyewear and fashion sector. In addition, BUDRI has built up a sales plan and the projections for the 5 years following the market introduction, thus defining its commercial strategy to reach sales objectives. Furthermore, a risk assessment was conducted to guarantee that most relevant risks are identified and mitigated thus ensuring that SLIM project reaches TRL9. In terms of design and shape of the frame eyewear 6 models are planned to be launched for collection, with 2 collections per year. Due to the innovative production techniques, the end-users will receive unique products as a result of marble veining, fully customizable, as well as providing unrivalled weight, strength and durability.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Both processes, layering and assembly, have been protected with Italian patents that will be expanded during 2017. A Freedom-to-Operate analysis has been performed guaranteeing that SLIM project can be commercialised whereasBUDRI is already registered trademark in 28 European countries. In addition, BUDRI’s eyewear has obtained optical certifications for both EU and US markets and has successfully passed the stress tests for the flexibility of the structure. Further studies are being performed for enhanced resistance level to liquids and for the optimisation of the manufacturing process. An intense presence at the trade shows such as MIDO in February, PREMIERE CLASSE and THE LOFT in March will allow us to build relationships with more clients and distributors. Whilst, collaborations with architectural firm in Milan, designers and fashion companies are formalised. Working on aesthetic differentiation of existing models and the design of brand new models, studying technical and production capabilities to be able to follow this creation. From the stylistic point we are working with leading design studios for the optical industry that use particular and natural materials such as marble. The deep market research showed that among the different segments, the one that BUDRI should select is the high Fashion Luxury and the Boutique segments, which correspond to our price level. Our first target market is the luxury market in which Budri already is. In addition, it was decided that a gradual expansion of the distribution in other countries and markets is the most viable solution with the potential of licensing sales and manufacture to fashion brands in order to reduce price. Our end-users are interested in unique, aesthetically pleasing, strong, durable, and comfortable eyewear. Furthermore, New York distributors have already shown interest and BUDRI has established the suppliers list.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The business model plans on using the current capacity to enter the eyewear market with a full deployment of the production in 2019, allowing BUDRI to reduce the cost of production and improve the functionality of the product. The SLIM product has unrivalled potential as a new material with a number of important advantages. Our SLIM material is 90% lighter than conventional marble and at least 35% lighter than the one of our nearest competitors. The product addresses a gap in the market and also tackles worldwide challenges such as the efficient use of natural resources. Additionally, beneficial for the environment is the use of natural material and the elimination of the man-made plastics for certain products. The manufacture of complex products using reinforced natural stone marks a revolution in utilising natural materials for uses in a vast number of new markets and opens new business opportunities. The technology developed is intended to be extended to other fields than eyewear. The research carried out on Eyewear products allowed the fusion of different knowledge areas generally not typical to the marble's sector.Furthermore, our clients (eyewear boutiques and distributors) will have the possibility to acquire single products (no need to stock) and at a shorter delivery time compared to current acetate glasses. our SLIM solution, with its unrivalled strength, flexibility and weight is able to reduce transportation and installation costs and allow the production of curved materials. BUDRI will undertake direct sales to small boutiques within the EU countries and indirect sales through agents or distributors to tap into further markets such as America, Middle East and Southeast Asia to facilitate a quicker market uptake. From phase 1 we expect to approach these agents and distributors, as well as to develop a number of relationships with key players within the European eyewear market. The company aims at two channels, the Optical and the Fashion domain. The company also examines the possibility to sell, or even manufacture, under license to a fashion brand mainly to the Asian markets, in order to reduce the price for the end-users.

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