Anders Holmkvist, Production & Quality Manager at Inxide
With LIGHTer, Inxide acquired the trustworthiness they needed among the OEMs for research in the higher TRL-scale.
Inxide was the project owner in the LIGHTer-project ”X-Shell Volume Production of Shell Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites” that was ongoing from 2014 through 2016. The project became a so-called Success Story, in that it showed some important lightreductions while being cost- and time efficient in its production and application. Curious about their current activities, we reached out to Anders Holmkvist – Project Coordinator for X-Shell – who answered our questions about the project and its impacts.
What impact did the product have?
We put our efforts into two products and they are both interesting for the respective project parties. At Inxide, we have continued working with some of the results with other costumers. From now on, our technology will be applied to all NEVS’ car doorhandles.
In what ways was the project an innovation?
The technology combining a tissue based on a thermo plastic composite with injection moulding was not completely innovative in itself when we started our project. However, there was no knowledge or trust for that technology amongst the participating organisations. In the same way, the readiness level for the technology was insufficient for it to be implemented in demanding branches such as automotive and office furniture. So, for the partners in the project, the primary profit was to create enough experience to feel comfortable taking the step to choose a component with that technology.
Could the results from the project be applied to other products?
Abolutely – during the time the project was running, several products were actually presented on the market within i.a the automotive industry. So, we may say it was the right technology to invest in. The potential for implementation in many industries is very high.
We are currently working on further developing the project for an application in a sports item for a European sports brand. It is very different working with the sports industry compared to the automotive industry. Research within the automotive industry is to a great extent simulation-driven, with each component having a specific list of requirements. In the sports industry, however, development is mostly driven by how users percieve a product – whether it feels good or not. In these cases we need to have useful prototypes, which we would like to develop with the help from Vinnova-funded projects where we further develop our technology produced in X-Shell.
What are your thoughts concerning the future?
At Inxide we already obtained a series project within the high volume production for the automotive industry, and we are in different phases of development in other projects. Inxide will invest more in the technology that we built up during the X-Shell project.
Is it likely that you apply for funding again?
It is very likely. To be able to work with projects that are situated in the higher TRL-levels is very valuable. The arguments are many: We are optimizing ourselves, constructing a network of costumers, suppliers, and academic partners. Our clients and supppliers are also being developed. I think that our project has shown the benefits with the format of the call in a very good way.
Has the project opened any doors for your company?
Definitely. As I previously mentioned, we have already obtained several projects based on the results from the project. However, most of them are not offical yet.
Over all, one could say that the word ”trust” has been the key to success for this project and the contact we’ve had with new costumers. In this case, LIGHTer has really been a spring board for us. Before the project was granted, there was no trust for this kind of technology amongst the participating parties. Through our LIGHTer project, we obtained the trust we needed among the end users, and could complete our results portfolio. This provides us with a ”trust capital”, and makes it easier for us to reach out to new costumers. Through the project, we also selected a material supplyer with whom we built up a trustful relationship. When they are demonstrating the different areas of application for their material, they refer to us.
Within LIGHTer, we are happy to see that it is going well for Inxide, and are continuously curious about the development of the company, and the future applications of their new technology. X-Shell and Inxide are a good example of how we can reinforce the ties between Swedish SMEs and end users with successful lightweight innovation.