September 19th 2019C
ollaborating with start-ups to develop breakthrough innovations with agility is now essential. Through these partnerships, Crouzet’s mechatronics expert centre gives newly-born companies a unique chance to access markets and benefit from support as their project develops. Driven by its Innovation Department, Crouzet has become a reference in the creation of synergies with start-ups.
Focus on one of its recent partnership with the Asystom company.
Olivier Clozeau, Advanced R&D Manager at Crouzet, and Pierre Naccache, President and founder of Asystom from the Aude Department in France, help us to better understand how a collaboration between a start-up and a medium-sized company works.
What can you tell us about your company, Asystom?
P. Naccache : « Our company was created three years ago and develops a universal solution for machine monitoring. Easy to set-up, our smart bax is simply mounted on the machine and the solution evolves autonomously in a “machine learning” mode, without any interference with its surroundings. It is designed to collect and analyse a large volume of data on any kind of industrial machines (smart buildings equipments, motors, compressors, cooling systems…), in very different places and applications.
The Edge computing technology makes the solution energy-efficient for data transmission and its roll-out easier and more cost-effective. For Crouzet, it allows them to easily integrate intelligence into the motor and to transmit data for an in-depth analysis. »
Why this partnership?
O. Clozeau : « Conditional maintenance is one of the main development axis for our components. Asystom’s solution offers us a genuine opportunity to get quick access to this technology.
The advantage also resides in the fact that it is non-intrusive since no product modification is required from our side.»
P. Naccache : « Effectively, it’s one of the strengths of our solution. We have designed it as a turnkey smart and autonomous solution to address a wide panel of use cases. Our aim is to be able to ensure conditional maintenance on any industrial machine. We have been working closely with Crouzet mechatronic expertise centre at Alès. Our product is used on motors to measure vibrations, temperature variation or noise for instance. Crouzet manufactures micromotors (power>1kW). It’s precisely what convinced us as our sensor is usually designed for more powerful motors. To test it on motors with low levels of vibrations or noise emissions gave us the possibility to develop a product that compatible in cases where collecting data is difficult. This was challenging but allowed us to win a lot of time and helped us to quickly validate our solution.»
Six month later, what is your initial assessment?
O. Clozeau : « Tests are still ongoing but the first results are encouraging. First of all, it only required half a day to set both the sensors and the Cloud. On our micromotors, we were wondering wether we could gather significant data. In fact, the high level of sensitivity of the system enabled us to study very low levels of vibration. Further, we can also detect the load variation or declining performance -either progressive (due to wear) or intentional (for tests)- of a motoreductor used on a machine. This enables us to act before failure occurs, hence the name of conditional maintenance.»
And humans in all that?
O. Clozeau :« Neither the technical performance of the sensors nor that of the platform can replace human expertise. This remains necessary to adapt decision criteria and enforce corrective actions. »
P. Naccache : « In some environments (large industrial areas or transportation for instance), there are so many objects to control and monitor that humans need help. Technologies like ours enables users to override constraints which are time-consuming or generating fatigue. »
Crouzet, incubator for start-ups then?
O. Clozeau : « Current innovations aiming at evolving towards Industry 4.0 are driving companies like ours to transform and develop new products that fit IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) perfectly. Crouzet’s core business is the manufacturing of components (sensors, switches, PLC, motors, …) dedicated to aerospace, transportation and industry.
Working with innovative businesses, start-ups like Asystom, brings two advantages. First, it is a rewarding technological adventure fed with discussions and co-design to move forward. Then, start-ups have an agility that larger structures do not necessarily have. They can give us access to a technology more effectively and faster. In our case, collecting and analysing data will help transform our components into electromechanical solutions.
This is not our first experience, Crouzet has already supported and accompanied start-ups. Our components are selected for the industrialisation of new and disruptive technologies. We are really pleased to support them and contribute to their evolution through a win-win partnership.»
P. Naccache : « Crouzet accompanied us throughout the development phase, on the detecting aspects. We, as a start-up, need to get an accurate feedback to truly understand the company’s issues and create the most adapted solution to various situations. Progressively, this support has turned into the construction of a common interest.»
A warm thank you to both of you, Pierre Naccache et Olivier Clozeau, for your time and insights into this passionate subject.