Innovative building company LEKO Labs has developed a groundbreaking approach to timber construction. Using new patented technology to assemble special beechwood blocks manufactured at their digital factory in Foetz, this startup will soon be equipped to build no fewer than 500 homes in Luxembourg on an annual basis.
photo: PwC Luxembourg
featured: Philippe Weisen, Corporate Relationship Manager at BIL and François Cordier, CEO of LEKO Labs
LEKO Labs has grand ambitions in the innovative construction sector. Incubated in Technoport, the Foetz-based startup is incredibly promising. “We have developed, and now patented, a technology that revolutionizes how we look at timber construction. We begin with a system of wooden components that lock into one another, sort of like Lego”, explains LEKO CEO François Cordier. “These components are made of beechwood – which grows in our own forests – using a patented process that allows them to be easily assembled into walls.”
A fully digital process
These wooden components are just one example of the value added by the Luxembourg company. Beyond creating innovative building blocks, LEKO Labs has reinvented the construction process as a whole. “We wanted to digitise as much of the building process as we could”, Cordier says. “We use special software that allows us to translate an architect’s blueprints into a LEKO structure in minutes. A data pack is generated to represent each wall of the digital model produced. These are then sent to an automated production line on which robots build the components that will make up the walls.” Once the blocks have left the factory, they just need to be assembled at the construction site.
“The bank has unlocked financing solutions for us at the European level, particularly through InnovFin, a programme that helps innovative projects get funding by granting bank guarantees for 50% of the total investment.”
Better for the environment, 100% recyclable
LEKO Labs is looking to revolutionise the building construction market in Luxembourg. Homes built using their concept are more environmentally friendly, have a better carbon footprint, are completely recyclable, and can be finished in much less time. “With technology like this, the ultimate goal is to get out of concrete, just like we’re getting out of diesel for transport. Just one of our digital factories will be able to produce 500 homes a year, each offering at least the same standards of comfort as conventional buildings”, the CEO says. LEKO Labs has now built its first prototype in Sandweiler: a 287 m 2 home made of 4,000 LEKO blocks and 35,000 screws.
BIL is helping this young, innovative company fulfil its ambitions. “The bank has unlocked financing solutions for us at the European level, particularly through InnovFin, a programme that helps innovative projects get funding by granting bank guarantees for 50% of the total investment”, Cordier continues. In part, it is this assistance that has enabled LEKO, a company with 22 employees, to begin building its first fully automated production line. “The idea is to develop small production units that can respond to diverse market needs at the local level”, Cordier explains. In Luxembourg, where new home construction struggles to meet demand, LEKO’s building system will soon have its share of copycats. But the CEO is already looking to roll out to other markets, starting with Switzerland.
“As part of its mission to support innovative players in Luxembourg, BIL is delighted to be able to contribute to the growth of a company like LEKO Labs. Their concept meets real market challenges, and we were soon convinced of its potential. As a partner of the InnovFin programme in Luxembourg, we wanted the company to benefit from this European-scale financing opportunity in conjunction with the bank’s services, which will allow it to make its next moves”, concludes Philippe Weisen, BIL Corporate Relationship Manager.