Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

TEKNOAX 2.0 Report Summary

Project ID: 737848

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TEKNOAX 2.0 (TEKNOAX 2.0: BRINGING INTELLIGENCE ONTO AXLES OF THIRD MILLENNIUM FARMING TRAILERS)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The TEKNOAX 2.0 project aims at answering to agriculture increasing demand for intelligent components in the market of axles for farming trailers, going beyond the state of the art and filling the existent gap with precision farming needs.
TEKNOAX 2.0 will bring intelligence onto axles, enabling unique traceability and condition based maintenance through a collaborative platform. Agriculture is indeed facing a big transformation favored by technological innovations introducing in the near future a new paradigm, precision farming, enabled by a new generation of intelligent machines and equipments.
The innovative axles developed by ADR and characterized by enhanced overall mechanical proprieties will be equipped with a communication system connected to a collaborative platform, both developed by RINA Consulting, to track axles performances and keep track of maintenance onto each unit. Furthermore, the manufacturing process will be optimized in order to favor the mass production of the new generation of axles and their launching in the market in the near future after the end of the project.
In a first testing phase, COLAERT will provide implementation on trailer and testing on-road and on-field. Then, intelligent axles will be validated by FARMTECH in relevant working conditions on their trailers, which will be equipped with intelligent axles and tested by a pool of farmers throughout Europe, in order to develop the system in direct contact with end-users. A potential Business Plan has been already established, and the first results are going to be presented to public in next international fairs for agricultural machineries.
Axles will be ready for commercialisation within 30 months from project start. New axles will also enable new business models, as trailer renting and trailer sharing.
In a nutshell, the overall objectives of the project are the following:
• Development of the new generation of axles having enhanced mechanical proprieties as well as optimization of the manufacturing process
• Bringing intelligence into axles and enabling their sensing capabilities
• Validating the new generation of axles in relevant operational conditions
• Development of user-friendly features for the ICT web based collaborative platform
• Validating innovative business models based on TEKNOAX 2.0

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

The main objectives of the first project year were the following:
- To collect the needs coming from end-users and to perform an extensive market analysis in order to define the features to be considered for further development and customization of the axles as well as to revise the final specifications of TEKNOAX 2.0
- To improve the mechanical properties of TEKNOAX 2.0 axles and to perform a complete laboratory test campaign in order to assess their performance as well as to optimize the manufacturing process.
- To fine tune the sensing and functional requirements for collaborative platform
- To select the sensors to be integrated in the axles and to define the communication system
- To design the control unit
- To analyze the market scenario and to perform a cost/benefit analysis to define the market penetration TEKNOAX 2.0
The initial phase of the project was devoted to the collection of needs coming from end-users in order to define the requirements and specification of TEKNOAX 2.0. A specific survey was carried out to filter possible trends or specific customer requirements and to identify future development potentials. By combining the outcomes of the survey and the results of the extensive market analysis, the conceptual design and the final specifications of TEKNOAX 2.0 were defined.
After the definition of the specifications, the work was focused on the improvement of the mechanical performance of TEKNOAX 2.0. In this context, an accurate test campaign was carried out aiming at the assessment of the axles performances and at the optimization of the manufacturing process.
In parallel, as far as the “intelligence” of axles is concerned, the activities was focused on finding the most suitable solution for the devices to cope with sensing and functional requirements and on the definition of the collaborative web based platform. Special attention has been paid on the design of the Control Unit.
Concerning the business definition, the TEKNOAX Consortium collected and updated latest statistics, values, size, segmentation and number of the TEKNOAX 2.0 target markets where TEKONAX pilots will be inserted, taking into account four different perspectives (PEST analysis): Political / legislative; Economical; Social; Technological. A first Ansoff’s matrix (Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development and Diversification) has been developed in order to preliminary define the future TEKNOAX 2.0 market strategies. A cost/benefit analysis was performed in order to better identify the positioning of the product into the market and evaluate possible barriers to the introduction of the new generation of axles.

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)

TEKNOAX 2.0 is a step change in farming equipment as it brings the trailer, current bottleneck toward smart farming, onto a high technological component enabling new value propositions.
TEKNOAX 2.0 most significant impact will be on agriculture sector, revolutionizing axle concept for farmers and trailer manufacturers. This approach is going to be surely extended to other trailer components, easing maintenance and operation. In general, the growing employment of technology in precision farming will ease the approach of new actors among SMEs. The new model of business constituted by trailer renting and trailer sharing will ease the possibility for cooperatives and agriculture start-ups to bypass the obstacle of the initial investments for equipments. Furthermore, these models will also nurture the creation of joint enterprises of farmers, which are a real opportunity for the future.
Actually, as far the agricultural machinery is concerned, one of the relevant trends in the sector is related to rely on outsourcing to external services’ providers for the provision of equipment in order to reduce the overall investments and the fixed costs. The renting services allow economies of scale making possible the competitiveness of the small farmers with respect to the larger ones. In this context, the trailer renting and trailer sharing business models proposed by TEKNOAX 2.0 have a relevant impact on the business of the farmers willing to opt for these approaches. Furthermore, the impact of the project is relevant on other key issues as for instance the becoming effective of the so called “Mother regulation” 167/2013 on 1st January 2016. The 167/2013 is related to the homologation and use of agricultural vehicles on the road, such as specific driver’s licence requirements, limitations of maximum speed or measures regulating the access to certain roads. In this framework, TEKNOAX 2.0 could have a remarkable impact. Moreover, the modification of the norms related to the maximum speed of the tractors introduce some issues: the farmers have usually the need to drive quickly and at full load because the transportation time is considered wasted time with respect to the time devoted to work the land. The higher performances, the monitoring of maintenance, the load conditions as well as the other features of the innovative axles enable an increase of the level of safety. Least but not last, it has to be underlined the wide impacts of the project on job creation.

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