Entry by:

 Ibsen Photonics, Denmark

Question 1: Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society. How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
Our technology enables the use of spectroscopic techniques for in-line process control at the manufacturer floor of e.g. dairy, feed and grain suppliers due to an immense improvement in robustness and thermal stability over previously applied techniques. Our technology enables: Reduced cost of manufacturing of various food items by improved process controls, increasing profitability and reduced down time; Better and more consistent quality of food items, benefiting customers; Reduced waste of raw materials, benefiting the environment. Example: A producer was making about 4,000 tons of butter a year and had a variation of about 0.25% in the process. To be on the safe side, he set a target of 15.65 vs. the legal spec of 16.00% moisture. But with in-line analysis he could reduce the variation by 0.08% allowing him to move his target up to 15.85. His yield grew by 15,000 kg per year – an extra profit of about EUR 40,000. It’s like he was able to turn 15,000 kg of water into butter.

Question 2: Tell us about how your technology is unique?  What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
Our spectrometers provide 2-6 times higher sensitivity than competitive technologies due to use of our innovative high diffraction efficiency transmission gratings. Our gratings are made in very pure glass, which can withstand high temperature ranges, humidity, and power of light. Furthermore, our spectrometers have no moving parts. They are extremely robust and can be used in challenging environments. This increased sensitivity and robustness was paramount to enabling in-line process control in factories. Finally, our spectrometers exhibit a very low unit to unit variation in terms of power and wavelength calibration and this is crucial for ensuring easy installation and low maintenance cost. It does not take a PhD. to install and run the instruments as were often the case with previous instruments.

Question 3: When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or incremental changes by improving a current technology?  Describe this.
Our technology completely changed the way process control is performed in dairy, feed and grain manufacturing. Traditionally, at-line process control had to be invasive (taking out a sample), was carried out at hourly intervals, and required a laboratory environment away from the manufacturing floor. With our technology, non-invasive, in-line process control has been enabled. In-line analysis enables you to detect real-time trends in processes much faster than with at-line, and react to the changes. The result is reduced process variation, allowing you to move your production targets closer to the specifications, to increase your yield and to improve your quality.

Question 4: Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer.  Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.  Example:  We produce a component that we sell to a laser systems manufacturer (name the company) who sells it to a medical OEM (name the company), who then sells it to a hospital (name the hospital).
We produce spectrometer modules that we sell to instrument manufactures like FOSS A/S, a market leader, who in turn sell their instruments to producers of dairy products (butter, cheese, and yoghurt producers), feed and forage (animal feed ingredients producers and compound feed mill companies) and grain milling (soy and flour producers like Spanish premium flour suppliers Emilio Esteban and grain supplier Senwes, South Africa).

Question 5: In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
Dairy, Feed, Grain, Milling, Meat

Question 6: Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
Our spectrometers measure the color content of light with unprecedented accuracy, robustness and stability. Our customers integrate them into instruments that use light to measure parameters like protein content real time in production, improving quality and reducing raw material waste.

Question 7: Surprise Us!  What else should we know about your product/technology?
Our gratings are produced on 6” fused silica wafers with up to hundreds of gratings per wafer, using methods from traditional semiconductor manufacturing. In this way we have been able to turn our high efficiency transmission grating production into a high yield, low cost mass production process.

We are working on getting more end-customer testimonials, and our hopes are to be able to submit them soon, perhaps before your  next deadline in the selection process.

Additional information.

  1. How to raise quality in flour milling (video)
  2. In Focus - Premium Control (PDF)