MKB Katalysatorfonds supports FactoryLab with €25.000,-

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The MKB Katalysatorfonds (SME catalyst fund) Drechtsteden has allocated a subsidy of € 25,000, – to the company FactoryLab from Zwijndrecht. FactoryLab will use the subsidy for research into the feasibility of a ‘Smart Fender System’ that could help port areas in the effective and safe use of mooring places. The company itself is investing € 39,500, – in the project. The advisory committee of the SME catalyst fund called the project ‘innovative and sustainable’. If the development of the system proves feasible, it would provide an economic advantage for the region, according to the Advisory Committee.

A simple remote check

Harbours use rubber fenders at their mooring places to prevent ships from causing damage to the quay. FactoryLab wants to provide these fenders with sensors that can measure damage, the state of maintenance and occupation (is the space available or not?). The obtained information is immediately visible to the operator allowing him to intervene quickly in case of damage and better determine when maintenance is required. This ensures as safe working environment and also saves costs because of a reduction in downtime. Ultimately, it will lead to cheaper and more efficient berths.

Still many questions

As with many innovative projects, there are still many questions to be answered. There are technical questions, such as: ‘What type of sensor will get us the right information?’ and “Can the system work on solar power?”. In addition, there are also legal questions (Which legal requirements does the product have to meet?) and economic questions (How much savings can be expected in practice?). Gertjan Strietman of FactoryLab: “We believe that the development of the Smart Fender will contribute to the entire SmartPortSystems program we deliver. The current demand from the market and the willingness of the Port of Rotterdam to act as a test location confirm that this can be a success. That’s why we are investing heavily in this project. The SME catalyst fund’s subsidy provides extra wind at our back.”

Advantages for the region

FactoryLab is located in Zwijndrecht and works closely with its sister company Straatman Machinefabriek in Zwijndrecht and a range of suppliers in the region. With a Smart Fender System, FactoryLab will be able to compete better on the international fender market, which will also result into more employment in the region. Alderman Robert Kreukniet: “We might not say it often enough, but we as a municipality and as a region are incredibly proud of these kinds of innovative companies that have the courage to lead in a highly competitive global market.”

SME Catalyst Fund Drechtsteden

The SME catalyst fund Drechtsteden was created by the regional government in the context of the regional ‘maritime top region investment strategy’ to invest in the innovation power of the region, thus strengthening the ambitions of ‘City by the Water Together, a Maritime Top Region Together’. The fund contributes to the early financing of innovations of regional SME businesses not only through co-financing, but also by making relevant networks available and offering facilities. For this reason, the fund has been housed at the Sustainability Factory, where business, education and government work together to innovate in the fields of sustainability, maritime technology and energy.