A spin-out from Cranfield University is expecting to make the first commercial sales of its novel corrosion sensing technology early next year after successful field trials.
CorrosionRADAR, based in Bedford, is heading out to South Korea in September on a visit organised by Enterprise Europe Network as part of the Innovate UK-funded Global Business Accelerator programme.
The Global Business Accelerator country visits organised by EEN are designed to help high-growth businesses to explore and exploit opportunities in specific countries and in market or technology areas.
EEN, fulfilling its role within the Innovate UK family of services, is providing support before, during and after this visit, which focuses on Internet of Things technologies.
Advisers from EEN in the East of England have been helping the company to refine its value proposition while assessing market opportunities and addressing supply chain issues.
Pitch to potential investors
CorrosionRADAR was referred to EEN for support with raising finance. The company took part in the EEN Pitchfest programme which involved pitch training delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network, another partner organisation funded by Innovate UK. EEN also organised an investor showcase.
Chiraz Ennaceur, the company’s CEO, said: “EEN and the KTN have been helping us to identify suitable funding calls from Innovate UK. As part of a pilot programme, there was a Pitchfest event with potential investors so we needed some training.
“We had a lot of meetings with the people from EEN who posed some challenging questions. It all helped us to focus on the core business and better understand how to communicate our business offering. That was very useful.”
Chiraz is one of four co-founders at CorrosionRADAR, including the two inventors of its innovative ‘detect, connect and predict’ technology.
Using a long, thin, flexible sensor it can detect and locate corrosion and moisture in the most difficult, inhospitable and inaccessible locations, particularly where corrosion is prone to occur under insulation.
Targets in oil and gas and chemical sectors
The remote monitoring system renders manual inspections unnecessary because coded signals transmit data wirelessly through battery-powered devices. Crucially, in-built analytics allow owners of assets to employ a data-driven inspection programme to predict and manage any corrosion.
“This is a game-changing, integrated system for corrosion management that we are bringing to the global market,” Chiraz said. “We are moving the industry from a reactive approach, with costly, labour intensive, visual inspections, to remote, autonomous monitoring and a predictive process using machine learning.
“It will tell you where and when corrosion is happening, which is a huge problem in industries with assets in remote, inhospitable locations. Our first targets are oil and gas and the chemical sector but it could be extended to nuclear, renewables and construction, wherever corrosion can be an issue.”
In the meantime, the company is raising a second round of financing, a combination of equity and equity-free investment. It is also involved in two Innovate UK projects which are adding to the research need for development.
Chiraz added: “We are launching the first version of the product at the end of this year and are hoping to start sales at the beginning of 2019. As well as raising the funding to give our product the impetus it needs, we are growing our team of nine. We aim to double our numbers by next year.”
From my point of view, working with EEN and KTN, it’s like having a big family trying to help us.
Chiraz Ennaceur, CEO, CorrosionRADAR