Case studies

Case studies are summaries of some of the successful R&D projects that have been funded through one of our programmes in recent years. Read about the societal, environmental and commercial impact of these international collaborations.

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HYLASE

(Eurostars)

Cutting-edge laser tech fit for today’s industry and tomorrow’s science

British and German laser specialists teamed up to develop a new standard in ultra-compact, high-energy laser systems capable of producing complex materials essential to modern manufacturing. The key was to shrink down the laser head, amplify the beam and lose nothing in terms of speed and accuracy. The technologies delivered during the HYLASE project are ideal for printing, etching and cutting complex surfaces like glass, plastic and thin-films used in semiconductors, optics and diverse sectors as insulation protection and decoration and other coatings.

Apart from excellent processing speed, accuracy and beam quality, boosting output and minimising heat build-up, the lasers proved very reliable and easy to integrate and maintain within new and existing industrial and scientific applications. Their laser amplifiers were also installed in the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser. This cutting-edge research facility produces intense x-ray flashes (a billion times higher than commercial sources) that can see into the atomic detail of cells and chemical reactions.

Project funded by and Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Germany) and Innovate UK (UK)

  • neoLASE GmbH (Germany – SME)
  • Fianium Ltd, now part of NKT Photonics A/S (UK – SME and leading role)

SeDI

(Eurostars)

Dutch-German alliance tackles cancer

An IT company in Germany teamed with a Dutch clinic to develop a new semantic web software for doctors and researchers to use in the fight against cancer.  


Radiotherapy treatment for cancer has improved over the years. However, it is still traumatic for patients because of the way it damages good tissue while targeting malignant tumours. The SeDI software uses a semantic web approach to carry out better image searches. Semantic web techniques teach computer systems to retrieve data in a more sophisticated way than a straightforward word search. The availability of this enhanced information helps clinicians to make more accurate decisions for cancer patients because of the accurate imaging they can access. 

Project funded by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, BMBF (Germany)

  • Maastro Clinic (The Netherlands)
  • Sohard Software (Germany – SME and lead partner)

COMPONAT

(Network Projects)

New resins strengthen pipe repair industry

Hungarian and German SMEs and a university have developed high-performance pipe repair products made with sustainable oils. For 20 years, clay pipes (in sewage systems) have been repaired with composites containing synthetic ingredients from crude oil. COMPONAT consortium saw the need for an alternative using renewable environmentally benign materials.

After testing 832 compositions, they identified cashew nut and pine needle oil as inexpensive, sustainable and the best for adhesion, strength, workability and hardening time. The improved adhesion, storage life and heat resistance mean the new resins can withstand cleaning with water jets, saving time and money on milling (even with the resin costing 1 euro more per kilo).

Eureka helped bring the plant-based resins to development and to market. Sales of sewage systems with strengthened joining are increasing and the resin has also been repurposed for two new markets: industrial flooring and for corrosion protection coatings for stainless steel tanks.

Funded by BMBF and the National Research, Development and Innovation Office

  • Institute for Composite Materials of the Technical University in Kaiserslautern (Germany – university)
  • Fluvius GmbH (Hungary)
  • Polinvent (Germany – SME)

VEMS

(Network Projects)

A simple solution for cleaner cars

An international partnership developed a system that captures and reroutes energy from car exhaust gases back to the vehicle, cutting fuel use by 5-10%. Current petrol or diesel cars use electricity produced by an alternator to power systems such as air conditioning, entertainment and door locks. This inefficient process requires a three-way conversion of chemical energy (the fuel) into mechanical energy (the alternator) and then into electric energy. Czech, Slovenian and UK partners in the VEMS project channelled unused “waste” energy contained in combustion engine exhaust fumes directly back to the alternator, producing additional electricity to boost vehicle power when needed.

The VEMS system, which was tested in a Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI, is remarkably simple in its design, being partly based on existing technologies. It is intended for use in passenger cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles, and is already being used in race cars.

Project funded by Czech Republic Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Slovenian Ministry of Economic development and technology, and Innovate UK

  • MSR Engines (Czech Republic – SME and leading role)
  • Sterk (Slovenia – SME)
  • Hi Tech Racing (UK – SME)

EYEINJECT

(Network Projects)

Research with a vision

Czech and Slovak project participants developed a new medical device to help people in pain after eye surgery. Patients often experience discomfort when recovering from operations like laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy (LASEK), where surgeons use a laser to reshape the surface of the cornea. There are anaesthetic drops that can help, but they tend to slow down the healing process. Researchers in the Eureka EYEINJECT project wanted to create a device for injecting a painkilling solution straight into the cornea. The needle had to be extremely thin and delicate and the injection very precise to avoid damaging the eye.

The device they developed features a needle with a diameter of just 0.15mm, and it can also be used to administer antibiotics in the case of corneal infections and for corneal cross-linking (a procedure to treat a condition called keratoconus), where the cornea thins out and weakens. Commercial success beckons.

  • Gemini Eye Clinic (Czech Republic – medical clinic and leading role)
  • Augenlaser Praxis Dr Pavel Stodulka (Austria – medical clinic)
  • Tajmac ZPS (Czech Republic – medical clinic )
  • Precision Tubes Europe (Slovakia – technology innovator)

LDL4HELTA

(Network Projects)

Meaningful relationships shape the semantic web business

The Austrian, Israeli and Spanish participants in the Eureka LDL4HELTA project capitalised on developments in AI, text mining and lexicography to develop new tools and services to meet the growing demand for language technologies.  


A key focus for the project was on “word-sense disambiguation”. This critical language technology identifies a sentence’s meaning when different interpretations are possible. It enables more value to be attached to high-quality information available in linked data form, including knowledge graphs. The semantic web (a more intelligent and intuitive web) is one step closer. 


Eureka helped the SME partners to strengthen their services and deepen their skills and knowledge in the burgeoning language technology market.

Project funded by: FFG (Austria), OCS (Israel)

  • Semantic Web Company (Austria – SME and lead partner)
  • K Dictionaries (Israel – SME)
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain – university)

WHITE TOP TESTLINER

(Network Projects)

Infinitely better recycled containerboard

Backed by Eureka, a Spanish paper and packaging company and a large Austrian company developed a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly solution to meet growing demand for white-grade top-coated paper. 


With demand for recycled paper materials outstripping supply, the quality was suffering. Specifically, Saica had to find a cost-effective solution to produce higher-grade corrugated cases and testliners on which essential information could be printed. They also needed to avoid relying on bleaching to get that familiar white “quality” look. 


After intensive R&D, Saica introduced its pioneering “Infinite” line of corrugated containerboard. Made from 100% recycled fibre, it offers higher brightness, whiteness and colour intensity and better print quality. It is thus ideal for modern packaging that needs to be both durable and appealing, with colourful printed graphics and texts that are easy to read. 

Project funded by: CDTI (Germany), FFG (Austria)

  • Saica (Spain - large company and lead partner)
  • Voith Paper (Austria - large company)

HEAT-TO-POWER

(Eurostars)

Burning your garbage now powers your computer

A project collaboration between a Swedish large company and a Dutch SME and research organisation helped Swedish SME Climeon optimise and improve its energy recovery technology. It can now reliably generate electricity from waste or geothermal heat at temperatures as low as 60-80°C.  


Waste heat and geothermal energy are considered one of the greatest untapped energy sources. Climeon was able to profitably convert 90°C heat into electricity, but wanted to push the boundaries further and utilise 70°C heat. 


Thanks to the Eurostars Heat-To-Power project, Climeon’s patent-protected Heat Power System can now be connected to almost any low-temperature heat source to produce significant amounts of clean electricity. More and more industries (especially those with energy-intensive production plants like steel and cement) are interested in the potential cost-savings and environmental benefits of reusing low-temperature waste heat.  

Project funded by: Vinnova (Sweden), RVO (The Netherlands)

  • Climeon (Sweden – SME and lead partner )
  • IF Technology (The Netherlands – SME)
  • Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (the Netherlands – research organisation )
  • Alfa Laval Corporate (Sweden – large company)