A top 500 UK R&D intensive company sought an advanced material to solve a long term sensing need for high temperatures and pressures. Leveraging the unique IXC network, IXC Intermediaries quickly found the ideal material, allowing a new high value product to be developed.
Focus; Intention analysis and management
An IXC Intermediary collocated with an industrial engineering client in the UK R&D 2009 top 500, identified an intention (or need) common to various arms of the business. Their method for detecting failures in a caustic, high temperature and pressure environment was based on a simple manual procedure and a sensor was sought to automate this process and introduce a failure prediction capability. While refining the capability gap it became clear that although the functional expertise to build an appropriate sensor existed within the client, the missing piece of the puzzle was a sufficiently robust material for the sensor. The technology intensive industry did not want to publicise this situation even though automating the process would bring efficiency and maintenance benefits and lead to the development of a new product.
Find; Scanning and technology intelligence
The client had invested time themselves in searching for the correct material, however, no solution had been found. The IXC Intermediary team examined the issues and identified a potential technology at a top 20 UK university client of IXC, that the industrial client had been unable to find.
Filter; Demand articulation, technology foresight and forecasting, knowledge processing
Before presenting the material to the client IXC thoroughly validated the research group's claims about the performance of the material and their readiness and ability to commercialise this technology and take it to a mutually acceptable business deal.
Facilitate; Matchmaking and brokering
A meeting was facilitated between the two clients under IXC's confidentiality agreements. Both parties immediately saw the complementary nature of the need and the technology. An initial trial of the material was funded by the industrial client for £35 000. The sensor is now well progressed along the development pathway and the industrial client anticipates sales in the order of millions of units per year. The academic partner has launched a spin out company with the traction gained from the connection accessing a market worth over £3 billion per year.
 Research Assessment Exercise 2008