Credit: FEDIL

On Thursday 24 November 2022, the FEDIL Innovation Prize ceremony took place, in the presence of the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, members of the jury, guests as well as of the winners of the prizes.

For this 25th edition of the FEDIL Innovation Prize, fourteen high-quality projects were submitted, among which the jury, made up of experts from the public and private sectors, awarded three prizes in the following categories.

2022 Innovation Prize in the “Product” category: SolarCleano Sàrl for its project "Solar panel cleaning robot - SolarCleano B1".

Solarcleano is a robotics start-up based in Luxembourg. After successfully marketing the F1 cleaning robot for medium-sized photovoltaic installations (500kW to 100MW), the company's engineers tackled the development of a new robot, the SolarCleano B1, dedicated to large solar power plants (>200MW). This is a new-generation robotic maintenance solution that should enable Solarcleano to position itself in all markets for photovoltaic power plants.

SolarCleano B1 is equipped with advanced technologies allowing it centimetric positioning in the middle of the desert for its use of the technology initially developed by NASA. In addition, the AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) will be able to carry out preventive maintenance missions for solar power plants for its image analysis via artificial intelligence. The SolarCleano B1 is therefore an innovation that should revolutionise the maintenance of solar parks, a sector that is experiencing very strong growth all over the world.

2022 Innovation Prize in the “Digital” category: Cargolux Airlines International SA for its “Dynamic Pricing and Digital Sales” project.

Cargolux has implemented a real-time pricing engine, which defines a "price corridor" for each customer request through an algorithm considering multiple parameters (available capacity, load factor, type of goods, etc.) for AI-assisted price optimisation. Beyond the "technical" aspect, this was designed and implemented as part of a project including the review and adaptation of the rating processes with customers as well as support for change and Cargolux team training necessary for the successful deployment of this tool. This was made possible by the teamwork of four internal Cargolux trades: sales, revenue management, innovation and IT.

Based on what has been put in place for the teams, an additional functionality has thus been developed allowing registered customers to obtain instant quotes with dynamic prices, either via a web platform or via a set of APIs, providing an automated “quote to book” process. These three channels (internal, portal, API) rely on the same business processes and the same technical infrastructure to enable an omnichannel approach. Cargolux customers can instantly self-price and book through a digital sales channel rather than email, saving time for all stakeholders in the value chain. In the case of Cargolux, this allows more time to be devoted to customer follow-up, in particular for the value-added products for which Cargolux is renowned in the market.

2022 Innovation Prize in the “Process” category: Goodyear Innovation Centre Luxembourg for its “Ultra-High Performance (UHP) product development optimisation process” project.

Developing a new tire with better performance is a major challenge. Balancing competing performance characteristics to find the best fit for the customer requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, backed by years of research and innovation. The main advantage of the project presented lies in the combination of different techniques and disciplines in a matrix approach, through a statistical model, which pushes the limits of current capabilities. This methodology makes it possible to develop new material concepts, to use all the design parameters of a tire in numerical models to predict the best combination and to simulate the overall performance of the product. This achievement was only possible with the help of innovative tools, new insights into tire characterisation and their impact on vehicle performance and powerful numerical simulation capabilities.

The three winning projects perfectly meet the criteria set out in the Innovation Prize regulations, namely to stand out for their innovative and original character, while presenting an interest for the Luxembourg economy.

The President of FEDIL, Michèle Detaille, welcomed the very good quality projects presented within the framework of this competition, illustrating an impressive way that the sector has lost none of its strength of innovation. On the contrary, companies want to move forward, show their skills and look to the future.

The 25th edition of the Innovation Prize, organised alternately with the Environment Prize and awarded to date to more than 60 companies and researchers, was also an opportunity to outline the history of this FEDIL initiative and look back on the strengths of 40 years of innovation in Luxembourg.

In her speech, Michèle Detaille did not fail to share a certain number of demands that FEDIL makes to political leaders in the field of innovation and digitalisation. These include supporting SMEs in their digital transformation projects, developing ICT infrastructure and the RDI ecosystem, speeding up authorisation procedures, avoiding new obligations and burdens on companies caused by new European and national regulations or to concentrate skills in cybersecurity.

The evening was also punctuated by an intervention by the Luxembourg Digital Innovation Hub (L-DIH), presenting a series of actions carried out in favour of the digital transformation of Luxembourg industry and more particularly the use cases of the artificial intelligence in industry.

In his closing speech, the Minister of Economy, Franz Fayot, highlighted the importance of innovation and research for the development and diversification of the country's economy and underlined the commitment demonstrated by FEDIL for so many years in favour of innovation. In turn, he congratulated the winners who received their diplomas, a trophy as well as films specially designed for the occasion and which illustrate the respective projects.