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Innovation

When analyzing electrical energy grants you a deal with private procurer CUF

The European Innovation Council (EIC), via its Business Acceleration Services (BAS) Innovation Procurement Partnership Programme, revolutionises business creation and innovation with matchmaking events. Following the EIC Procurers Day with José de Mello Group in March 2021, Spanish electrical analysis company Sigma Industrial Precision closed a deal with CUF, one of Jose de Mello Group’s companies.

The EIC Procurers Days are tailor-made and highly effective acceleration services that facilitate collaborations between large procurers (procurement and supply management office or department of a corporate) and EIC-funded innovators. Taking place in March 2021, the EIC Procurers Day with José de Mello Group was attended by a top-notch innovative Spanish company, named Sigma Industrial Precision. Sigma’s way of doing business sparked the interest of procurer CUF, the largest private operator of healthcare in Portugal.

Founded in 2017 by Patricio Sáez Morales, Ramón Serra and Carles Paul Recarens, Sigma Industrial Precision’s business analyzes how electricity affects machines’ operation and their efficiency. It’s the most efficient way to know the behavior of processes, machines, and infrastructures through an intelligent and automatic electrical analysis.

Sigma provides information such as electricity consumption and power quality. Most importantly, it prevents overloads, hot connections, return currents, current peaks, overheating, short-circuits, leakage currents, failures, and breaks. Moreover, it identifies mechanical problems, increases the electrical quality at the industrial plant, and calculates the machines’ lifetime.

When asked about the participation in the EIC’s Procurers Day with José de Mello Group and the business deal, Patricio Sáez Morales, CEO & Co-founder at Sigma, stated: “We presented our innovation to one of the procurers present at the time (to CUF). They were interested in our solution because they wanted to analyze and have a clear notion of how their hospital machinery performs in terms of energy, given a lot is used. There’s also another business partner involved called Dinner. They’re part of the CUF group and provide multi-use medical device reprocessing services to hospitals and clinics – also regarding decontamination, inspection, sterilization, etc.

André Vieira d’Almeida, Engineering & Maintenance at CUF, also reiterated this given they were trying to discover a more efficient solution for their issue:

“The main goal behind the collaboration with Sigma revolves around installing the hardware to control the electrical system, so it can then be monitored to obtain the electrical parameters that derive from the installation. As we analyze the energy quality in our facilities, we are then able to better understand it and prevent any eventual electrical problems that might occur.”

Regarding what the collaboration entails, Patricio stated:The idea is to expand our solution to all CUFs hospital facilities and aid them in the assessment of energy behavior when it comes to key machinery inside the infrastructure.” As Patricio pointed out:In less than a year, we discussed improvement ideas and focused on providing CUF with functional & innovative ideas that would add value). After summertime, we started the operation with the installation of the electrical sensors and ensured everything was properly configured and up and running, explained some details, and could start collecting data.”

As for how the negotiations between CUF and Sigma went throughout the entire process, Catarina Mendanha Moreira, part of the Strategic Planning, Control, and Innovation department at CUF, explained that:

The whole process was quite easy. The members of Sigma were all friendly and understanding. Also, they managed to grasp the challenge we were facing, and we were both able to make things work and adjust them to the speed we needed as we made things happen – therefore, it was a smooth process for everyone.”

Throughout their journey, Sigma agreed to do the proof of concept for 12 months. In 2022, they will be collecting data to better understand how CUF’s machinery behaves and keep track of it during this period to monitor potential issues that might occur. Once the 12-month period is finished, CUF will be able to see if this process can be expanded – which is likely to happen early next year.

This fruitful business collaboration between Sigma Industrial Precision and CUF also resulted in entering new grounds for the company, as it enabled them to conduct relevant business relations with corporations outside of Spain. As Patricio made clear:Being a startup, it’s important to showcase our solution in such a way because when innovation calls, and CUF being our first client in the healthcare system, it can be tricky to enter such markets. However, this is a great starting point for us and will surely help make it more clear how relevant our innovation can be for various sectors of interest.”

About Sigma Industrial Precision

In a world where everything is run by machines, securing their optimal performance is paramount. When a machine begins to fail or stops unexpectedly: production is compromised, maintenance costs are triggered, and performance and quality go down. Sigma Industrial Precision is a Spanish ICT-SME specialized in the development of predictive maintenance based on electrical analysis focused on the development and commercialization of predictive sigma, a predictive maintenance platform for industrial assets.

About CUF

With 77 years of experience, CUF is the market leader in the healthcare sector in Portugal and is part of José de Mello SGPS, an economic group that operates in several strategic sectors in the country. The CUF network develops its activity through 19 healthcare units: nine hospitals, nine clinics, and one institute, and is present in thirteen municipalities, with a potential for coverage of almost six million Portuguese.

Interested in EIC Procurement Days?

Since 2020, the EIC Business Acceleration Services has developed the EIC Innovation Procurement Partnership Programme. It allows EIC-funded companies to boost their network and meet relevant innovation procurement makers from the most ambitious public or private companies or institutions in Europe. From March 2020 until July 2022, 15 initiatives have been organized through “EIC Procurers Days” and “EIC Multiprocurers Days” with the participation of +100 public or private procurers partners. Are you looking for opportunities to connect with some of the largest public and private procurers of innovation in Europe? Stay tuned and follow our events calendar!

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