For the past three years, the Village By CA network has been rewarding the best collaborations between startups and large groups. In 2020, one of the winning duos is a model of a successful cross-border partnership: the startup FIRIS (PICC solution) incubated in Luxembourg and the industrial giant ArcelorMittal (Maizières-lès-Metz, France), which received a special mention from the jury.
Photo: The collaboration between FIRIS and ArcelorMittal is expected to continue into 2021 on a project involving a mining exploration drone Credits © Unsplash
The awards ceremony was held in Paris at the beginning of October. The winners were divided into five categories: the most effective cooperation, the most unexpected cooperation, responsible cooperation, the jury’s special mention “Coup de coeur” and the public prize. “This project was different because it combined industry and data analysis to improve environmental performance,” explains one of the jury members, Benjamin Carlu, founder of Usineo.
ArcelorMittal and FIRIS, Goliath giving David a hand… Bringing startups and large groups together is not a new initiative, as it has been widely used for several years to integrate agile solutions within large, highly-hierarchical companies, boosting their inventiveness and performance. Here it concerns the use of PICC, a knowledge management solution and an innovation support tool co-developed by the FIRIS startup incubated at the Village by CA in Luxembourg. It works with an AI that enables bringing a large company, including offshore sites, the articles resulting from research work, patents… “We can then edit a kind of cartography of written knowledge, but also of spoken knowledge and transmitted during feedback or minutes of meetings for example,” explains Nicolas Vandamme, creator of PICC and founder of FIRIS. The startup founded in 2015 was first incubated at the Luxembourg-City Incubator before joining the Village By CA in 2018.
Constraints give rise to creativity
Gérard Griffay, project partner at ArcelorMittal is used to collaborating with startups, but also with other large groups. He sees it as a way to show that ArcelorMittal is open to the outside world and looking for improvement. “We are engaged in a project to reduce CO2 in our manufacturing processes. By using PICC we were able to solve a key issue in record time. After six working sessions over two months, the ArcelorMittal project team was initially surprised by the method. “Instead of proposing a solution immediately, we took the time to analyze everything that had already been said on the subject in the form of a knowledge map.” PICC uses the TRIZ theory, which generates a key contradiction from information collected by IA that needs to be resolved. “If we apply the solution that has emerged, we could save about 400,000T of CO2 per year, which would be equivalent to the CO2 production of a city like Lyon!” The enthusiasm of the project members, the speed of execution and the energy reduction generated undoubtedly won the jury’s vote of favor for this collaboration.
The collaboration between FIRIS and ArcelorMittal is expected to continue into 2021 on a project involving a mining exploration drone (Mines Explorations 2.0) to analyze the geology of the subsoil in 3D and identify possible scree slopes or weak zones. “It is a project initiated by the Luxembourg Labour and Mines Inspectorate. They have recovered all the country’s mining concessions, many of which come from ArcelorMittal. 90% of them no longer have plans and access to them is forbidden,” Nicolas Vandamme explains. From one solution to the other, when a bridge is created, it becomes easier to use again.