Uwinloc designs battery-free geolocation tags for industry

Today, the Internet of Things is often used in industry to track certain tools, equipment, or parts. Connected sensors are rarely widely deployed in the industry, are expensive, technically restricted, and require a wall power source or battery. However, the situation must change. Headquartered in Toulouse, Uwinloc has developed a solution for tracking, identifying and locating assets within storage areas without these drawbacks. Battery-free, barcode-free, and half the size of a business card, MahVis works by pooling wireless power and broadband radio transmission (UWB). This innovation is presented as a world first by the company.

In response to the requirements of Industry 4.0, this innovation was developed jointly with world-leading manufacturers such as Michelin, Eramet and Collins. Unlike radio (RFID) tags and barcode tags that are typically used to mark pallets and other boxes in storage areas, this tag allows manufacturers, of all sectors, to gain 100% visibility over all of their stocks of finished products or parts and to improve their operations. Designed primarily for site managers and forklift operators, this connected tag is currently the only solution that allows to track millions of classified products, simultaneously in warehouses, with not only product identification, but also its exact location.

Thus, this tag, which will be placed on boxes, bins and other parts to be tracked, allows manufacturers to optimize their storage spaces as well as pick and drop forklift operators, to conduct automated inventories (without code reading tapes), and reduce time to search for products in a space. What, etc. MahVis reduces vehicle consumption by 30%-40% and can lead to a 20-25% reduction in the forklift fleet. In addition, it saves on the difference from loading errors and non-compliance that leads to additional costs. Finally, it improves the working conditions of forklift operators and removes heavy, low-value-added tasks from the process, such as barcode “bathing” stages, for example.

“The only technologies that have been able to expand into the world of tracking are those without batteries. Moreover, in recent years, nearly 4,000 players have appeared with active solutions, using either bluetooth or wifi for example, which, of course, , interesting because it offers the possibility of localization but is equipped with a battery box. If the battery malfunctions or needs to be replaced, the industrialist is obliged to stop its production or logistics flow in the region, as well as to mobilize human resources, which is an exceptional cost. Finally, the battery-powered brand is much larger (5 centimeters thick.) It does not allow boxes to be stacked in the warehouse and is an operational limitation. The tag cannot be more than 2 mm thick to be posted in logistics flows,” explains Eric Carrillo, CEO of Uwinloc, founded in 2015, inside Airbus Bizlab.

Localization and traceability at home and abroad

MahVis is based on two patented technology modules and chips, which required nearly ten million euros of investment and several years of research and development. The first has a power collection range of over 20 meters, while the second allows a low-power UWB chip to transmit the signal with very little ambient power. Connected tag can achieve traceability and localization in both internal and external storage areas. Thus, Uwinloc is able to locate the tagged product with an accuracy of less than one meter indoors and less than three meters outdoors. In addition, this innovation automatically generates data that allows professionals to subsequently improve their processes.

“We have deployed the solution in Eramet, in Pamiers, over nine hectares of outdoor storage areas. The plant produces parts for aeronautics, and ingots that can be stored for as many years as a few days have tens of thousands inside and out.. À partir de sa référence produit (présente sur le bon de commande) qu’il va la scanner avec la tablette fournie, le cariste voit s’afficher sur l’écran l’endroit exacte où se situe la caisse”, révèdateur de cofon the society.

“A price that defies all competition”

The innovation has recently been commercialized in the form of LaaS. The new customer will pay €4,500 in installation costs once, then €950 per month per MahVis unit and €0.35 per month per card. “The customer pays a fixed monthly rent that covers hardware, software and maintenance. Our brand costs every competition, unheard of. This is due to lack of battery‘ says Eric Carrillo.

At the moment, the solution is being deployed with partners, in France, who contributed to its joint development, in England within Rolls Royce or even British Aerospace and in Germany with Bombardier. In 2022, Uwinloc aims to impress about forty customers in Europe and reach ten covered locations in the United States. To achieve the second goal, Toulouse intends to rely on its New York branch, which opened in 2019.

“The solution can also be used outside the industry. We are in the process of partnering with a US healthcare company. Two years ago, We have signed a contract with Cisco (American company, world leader in digital transformation, information technology and networking) that will lead to a new product launch at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 with the aim of reducing the installation costs of our fixed products. The solution.”

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Become a global standard

Since its inception and in parallel with MahVis, Uwinloc has developed a stable solution, geotagging with an accuracy of up to 30 cm and without batteries, working only by picking up radio signals. This unique patented innovation is used by more than 30 major companies (Airbus, Alstom, Thales, Safran, etc.) in six different countries.

After achieving an initial funding round of €4.5 million in 2018 and some convertible bonds worth around €4 million, Unwinloc is about to complete a €6 million fundraising process. This amount should be used to accelerate its development internationally and product. This new funding round will also allow it to strengthen its team of 24 people (including 22 from its head office in Toulouse) on the technical and commercial sides. She, which already has sales teams in England and Germany, wants to strengthen its presence in Northern Europe and the United States.

In 2021, Uwinloc claimed revenue of nearly 1 million euros, 30% of which was international. With new product and new markets, the company aims to achieve turnover”Very clearly superior“For 2022 with a 45% stake internationally, but without disclosing its forecast.

“Our role is to help manufacturers regain competitive advantage. We have the potential to be a key component in the transformation of manufacturers in Europe and enable them to restore margin points, latitudes and agility. The goal is for our solution to become the global standard,” concludes Uwinloc Director.

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