TechConnect speaks with Leandre Adifon, Vice President Systems Engineering & Advanced Technology, at Ingersoll Rand about the importance of innovation and their participation at this year's TechConnect-National Innovation Summit in DC.
What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?The world is at an important point in history with the convergence of some very important technologies. As said by many, we have entered the fourth industrial revolution, in other words, it is Industry 4.0. Therefore, we are interested in assessing the state of the art in:
• IIOT – Sensor technologies, e.g., pressure, flow, humidity, temperature, light, occupancy, position, velocity and acceleration, etc. in terms of size, cost, power source and efficiency, etc.
• Advanced Analytics – Diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics – Data visualization – Stream analytics, etc.
• Cyber Security – Cloud-based security, end-point security, etc.
• Additive Manufacturing – Plastics, e.g., VAT photopolymerisation, material jetting, etc. – Metals, e.g., power bed fusion, direct energy deposition, etc. For each of the technologies, of particular interest are the printing speed and the maximum currently achievable 3D envelop.
• New materials – Nano materials, low friction surface treatment, next generation composites, etc.
• New battery technologies – Beyond lithium-Ion, e.g., nanowire batteries, magnesium batteries, lithium-air batteries, etc. but more importantly the charging mode e.g., over the air charging, super-fast re-charging, etc.
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?We would partner with companies with technologies at TRL4 and above. Partnerships with leading-edge technology companies require the assumption of some risks especially at early stages. However, the right technologies are worth exploring and experimenting on to deliver superior value to our customers.
Please describe your company’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.
Our innovation model is multi-dimensional and ranges from open innovation to ideation around specific market opportunities. It also goes beyond product technologies to other domains important to our business and to our customers. For technology-driven innovations, we partner with various entities such as universities, national labs, consortia etc., from fundamental research to applications. Our business units are customer-centric and are constantly working to make their customers’ operations more efficient. They work to identify their customers’ future needs and map out the relevant enabling technologies. The whole process leads to the discovery of new technology opportunities that enrich our portfolio of offerings and our network of partners.
Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector? Who are you looking to meet with?TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit offer the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs, research institutions and start-ups with technologies at varying levels of maturation, all in one location. The concentration of technologies across different industries and scientific domains is what makes the place so rich and attractive. As we look to expand our technology portfolio and partners’ network, it is an ideal place to be. We always attend with an open mind to meet the providers of the technologies of interest.
What did you like most about the 2016 conferences?Unfortunately, I was not able to attend last year. Therefore, I missed the excitement of looking at industry through the technology lens into the future. It is like fast forwarding the course of entire industries. I will not miss that opportunity this year.