When designing aircraft components, weight and size matter. On your last flight, you might have noticed flaps moving up and down on the wings. And hopefully at some point prior to hitting the runway, the landing gear was extended. What makes these critical parts move are actuators, which take information from control systems and provide the required force that acts on the part. Everything matters in an aircraft; a reduction in weight directly impacts fuel efficiency and a reduction in size can allow for more design flexibility. The need for a lightweight actuator in this field inspired Komp-Act, a local Swiss startup firm, to design a new solution.
By the time Komp-Act CEO Salvatore DeBenedictis teamed up with my IMD MBA Startup Project team, he had a prototype and a strategy to take his new proprietary technology to the market, starting with owners of industrial machines, for which their use is ubiquitous.
I am on a team with five other IMD MBA students. We are privileged to work with Komp-Act. We are diverse, representing six countries on four continents. Our professional backgrounds include law, finance, engineering, and consulting.
The task is to perform both data-driven and hands-on market research and analysis, among other things, based on which Komp-Act will directly take action and benefit. The process has been fun, challenging, and a great learning experience. We have been adding value to Komp-Act by bringing insights from experienced executives of the largest companies in the market. Yet the job involves much more, and the end-goal is to translate the insights into an actionable and pragmatic go-to-market plan, create tools to support the companies in further ventures and, perhaps, help the team in commercial prospects.
Dedication to this project has its perks, most notably, a visit to the electric motors laboratory at EPFL, the astute research institute whose high-tech Lausanne campus includes a concentration of varied knowledge, employs a “latest thinking” approach, and is an incubator for successful companies. There, we met the esteemed Prof. Marcel Jufer, inventor of a Swiss hyperloop technology development. He is a co-founder and an active member of Komp-Act’s development and management teams.
Komp-Act has recently filed for their patent on the technology. We look forward to continuing our work with the firm through May to help them take off full-throttle!
Fred Farella on behalf of Group 9
More about the Swiss hyperloop project can be found here: https://hyperloop.epfl.ch/team.html