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These companies and projects have won the i4Challenge 2020

14.12.2020

The i4Challenge expert jury has selected six winners from 18 finalists. The Industry 4.0 solutions range from 3D printing, IoT, Big Data Analysis, AI, Robotics, Smart Production to new economic and social models.

The winners of the i4Challenge 2020 have been announced.

The i4Challenge jury of experts elected the final winners of the year 2020. The Industry 4.0 solutions proposed range from 3D printing to new business and societal models through IoT, Big Data analysis, AI, robotics, workplace 4.0 and intelligent production. The i4Challenge was open to companies from Switzerland, Germany in the Upper Rhine region of Baden Württemberg, and Alsace.

The 2020 edition of the competition included a New Ideas category for the first time. 40 students, intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and technology teams applied. This category saw six projects come out on top:

Diego Gladig and Benno Staub won the jury over with their Gossik project. The PDA uses AI to harmonize the diary and to-do list with individual routine tasks. The founders found out about of the i4Challenge by jury member Markus Mühlemann. “We applied in order to benefit from the advice of experts and experienced entrepreneurs. Winning a prize in this competition also gives us a certain legitimacy. This is extremely important for us, as we are in the first phase of financing our project.”

MicroLean Lab pursues the goal of an autonomous, connected and configurable micro-fabric. A project developed by Florian Serex at the Haute École Arc Ingénierie for which the structure of the Swiss industrial landscape plays a considerable role. According to Serex, many SMEs lack a common understanding of the challenges ahead. Moreover, companies often lack the skills and capacity to grasp this type of problem in depth. MicroLean Lab would like to remedy this. Energy consumption and reduction of the delivery chain are, for example, among the topics discussed.

Making fashion sustainable through 3D body scanning

BeWear offers the first AI technology solution applied to sewing patterns. Founders Verena Ziegler and Frauke Link have developed a white label solution for online commerce to individually adapt fashion clothing collections using 3D body scan technology. This process is expected to reduce production costs. In 2021, BeWear plans to publish a proof of concept in collaboration with a sustainable fashion online store. “By participating in the i4Challenge we are taking part in the industrial transformation movement in Switzerland. It reflects our values. We want to offer sustainable on-demand production solutions based on AI and a micro-fabric concept for fashion,” says Verena Ziegler. “I appreciate the fact that the i4Challenge believes in us and supports us in this phase between the status of researchers and entrepreneurs.”

SwissCapCharger is an energy management system that aims to replace chemical batteries and combustion engines in order to preserve natural resources and ecosystems. It offers an alternative for charging supercapacitors in one minute. Charles Rippert benefited from the feedback of the i4Challenge jury members on his project. Today, he wants to develop a convincing pitch to investors, form a team and find partners for his prototype.

Mylagro is a digital platform that directly connects farmers with customers. Hernan Gomez received valuable feedback from the jury: “Setting up a business requires a lot of work, not to mention the many uncertainties and difficult decisions that have to be made. The prize is a great reward for my work. It will also open doors for me and give me the necessary support from people in the Basel Area and potential investors.”

Technical writer, terminologist and technical translator Yvette Allimann would like to transform tedious instruction manuals into entertaining, easy-to-read and always up-to-date Serious Games with reading and comprehension control. For Allimann, the i4Challenge competition was an opportunity to get serious about her long-standing ambition to develop and build partnerships. The prize gives it more weight and enables it to come into closer and easier contact with equipment manufacturers, programmers and business organizations.

The winners of the i4Challenge New Ideas category will participate in the i4Challenge Accelerator in the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area, site Jura. The program is supported by the Canton of Jura and the Interreg Titan-e project.

Here are the winners in the category SME and Start-ups :

BLP Digital AG, a spin-off of ETH Zurich, uses AI to automate ERP and accounting processes based on documents (goods receipt, invoices). The automatic learning system extracts relevant information from documents using a new combination of computer-based image processing and natural language processing. By integrating the solution into customers’ existing systems and workflows, business processes are accelerated and costs are reduced.

ketag 4.0 is a project of drive technology specialist Küffer Elektronik AG. ketag 4.0 digitizes machine maintenance and promotes predictive maintenance. This begins with consulting, includes the installation of sensor technology, data analysis and monitoring of the systems, and ends with support and maintenance.

No-Touch Robotics GmbH has developed a robot that can move small objects without contact. Small objects, such as those used in the watch industry or in the medtech sector, are detected by grippers with acoustic levitation control.

Objectis Machine is a framework to bridge the gap between IT and OT and is compatible with most technologies on the market. The solution is a standardized software framework for flexible machine control. For Christopher Bouzas from Objectis, this win is a welcome acknowledgment: “More than 20 experts have confirmed that our software automation framework, which fills the gap between digital and automation technologies, is an answer to the challenges of Industry 4.0”.

Tinamu Labs AG, a spin-off of ETH Zurich, has developed a solution that enables the safe use of computer-controlled drones in any environment. Indoor flight paths for repetitive inspection tasks, inventory management and monitoring can be easily defined and automated.

SEW Eurodrive has introduced a robotic pick-and-place solution with changing pick-and-place positions. The TouchProbe for robots uses digital sensors to achieve highly accurate positioning. This innovative solution was created by an employee of SEW Eurodrive as part of a master’s thesis and entered for the i4Challenge.

The winners of the SME and Startup Categories will receive access to the Industry 4.0 network in the Basel Area, coaching, mentoring and access to coworking spaces at one of the four locations of the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. In addition, they become annual members of the Société Industrielle de Mulhouse and get access to the network and activities of the project partners of Interreg Oberrhein 4.0.

David Lanter of Tinamu Labs AG says: “The structured application and selection process was important to reflect our current business strategy and to fill gaps in our path to the market. Thanks to the contributions of the experts, we are now well prepared for the next steps.”

Solutions for digital transformation

The participants were also able to benefit in other areas. “The i4Challenge gave me the opportunity to practice the presentation of our product to people from outside the company. I also dealt intensively with areas that normally do not fall within my area of activity, thus gaining valuable insights,” says Simone Arnold from SEW Eurodrive.

Companies from Switzerland, the Upper Rhine region in Baden-Württemberg and Alsace were eligible to apply. Thirty-two applicants had submitted a solution from the field of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation. The expert jury then made a pre-selection from 6 SMEs and 12 startups, from which the six winning projects emerged.

Basel Area Business & Innovation supports companies in identifying and tackling the challenges of industrial transformation. The i4Challenge helps to present suitable solutions and at the same time gives participants the opportunity to make contact with partners and mentors, initiate cooperation and win customers.

Marcel Schuck from No Touch Robotics GmbH appreciated the intensive exchange already during the application process. He particularly benefited from the open and constructive feedback and the opportunity to exchange ideas with i4Challenge partners. “Now we are very much looking forward to further developing our company through the mentoring.”

Due to COVID-19 it was impossible to showcase products and companies at the trade show BE 4.0 in Mulhouse. We have listed a couple of alternatives to trade shows that might be useful if you want to present your product.

Review the winners from the previous years here.

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