A safe and sustainable world
Annual report 2021
Satisfactory result and good liquidity launch growth plan
FORCE Technology was focused on transition and growth in 2021. After several years of fluctuating results and divestments, 2021 was the year where the first steps towards a more growth and development-oriented company were taken.
New market areas in FORCE Technology
In 2021, FORCE Technology launched a new strategy, which formulates and sets specific goals for a new direction towards 2024. Six new market areas are in focus: Power-to-X, life science, circular economy and resources, wind energy, digital innovation and hybrid tests.
FORCE Technology issues the world’s first OIML certificate for hydrogen refuelling station
Many cars will be fuelled by hydrogen in the future. This requires a brand new infrastructure of hydrogen fuelling stations, which are produced by the Danish-Norwegian Nel Hydrogen.
With the growing demand for hydrogen, there is an increased need for hydrogen refuelling stations that also meet the international standards, and Nel Hydrogen therefore applied for a so-called OIML R138 certificate in 2021. This is a certificate developed by the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML). It gives future users of Nel Hydrogen’s hydrogen refuelling stations a guarantee that they will receive exactly the hydrogen quantity that they pay for.
Specialists at FORCE Technology carried out the necessary investigations and conducted thorough testing of the hydrogen refuelling stations by means of, for example, EMC, flow and calibration tests before it could be approved. Based on the documentation and the test reports, Nel Hydrogen obtained its OIML R139 certificate – the first of its kind in the world.
The world’s first automatic swab robot is Danish
No more false positive COVID-19 test results. That is the goal for the Odense based start-up, Lifeline Robotics, which has developed a swab robot capable of performing automatic throat swabs with greater precision than a human swabber.
In just four weeks, a team of researchers from Lifeline Robotics managed to complete a prototype which was able to both prepare a test and perform the actual swab so that it just had to be delivered to the laboratory.
However, while the world’s first swab robot was developed in a hurry it was a far slower process to get a handle on all the regulations and thus to have the robot approved as a medical device. Lifeline Robotics therefore sought help from a MADE demonstration project where FORCE Technology introduced them to the most important standards and helped lay the foundation for the company’s future quality control system.
The project prepared Lifeline Robotics for entering a world of medical devices, and it became the launching pad for developing, marketing and selling the swab robot.
Resources and circular economy
IoT and big data prolong the life of fans by up to 20 years
Large industrial fans which, for example, cool data centres or provide ventilation in multi-storey car parks have a large energy consumption. In come cases, consumption may cost up to 50 times more than the fan itself, and the fan manufacturer, NOVENCO, therefore decided in 2021 to examine how they could make their fans more intelligent and resource efficient.
The thesis was that many of the fans were overdimensioned and consumed too much energy, but in order to document this NOVENCO had to obtain more data on the fans. In co-operation with FORCE Technology, the company therefore started a project where known sensor technology for monitoring wind turbines was modified, downscaled and used for the fans.
The result was billions of new pieces of information about NOVENCO’s products. This information is now used for intelligent control of the fans to ensure optimal operation, a longer service life and consumption of the least possible amount of energy. For example, lifetime models were developed for the ventilators showing that, with a few modifications, their service life could be increased by up to 20 years.
Digital innovation of industrial products and productions
Project speeds up digitalization in SMEs
Many small and medium-sized production enterprises have a large digitization potential which is often not realized due to a lack of resources, competences or the good business case. In the project ’The Digital Factory’, which is run by FORCE Technology with support from the Danish Industry Foundation, the enterprises therefore receive help in accelerating the digital development of their production facilities.
In the coming years, a total of 18 small and medium-sized enterprises from all industries and regions will receive help in transforming their production and enabling them to launch more digitization projects themselves. The first project has just been completed, the second project has been launched and the recruitment of the other 16 enterprises is well under way.
The ability to digitize productions and production processes may be the deciding factor for a small Danish production company’s ability to survive on the international market where there is competition on delivery time, price and quality. It is therefore necessary to accelerate digitization in SMEs by helping them to exploit the opportunities for optimization of production offered by new technology.
Simulations help booming offshore wind industry
The American offshore wind industry is currently booming – especially on the East Coast. However, due to local legislation (Jones Act), the logistics solutions from Europe are not directly applicable, and there is therefore a great demand for alternatives to the transportation of the large and heave wind turbine components from the ports to the offshore wind farms.
One solution could be to use conventional transport barges for the transport, and ENABL A/S has therefore, in co-operation with FORCE Technology, developed a special movement compensating system for lifting the wind turbine components from these barges and onto the installation vessels at sea.
The system is designed by means of new simulation software developed by specialists at FORCE Technology. The software gives a clear impression of how the barge, the mooring system, the installation vessel, the crane and lifting equipment behave when impacted by wind, waves and sea currents, and it can therefore be used to optimize design and operation processes with respect to safety and efficiency.
Furthermore, the concept may contribute to reducing the energy price (LCOE) as the installation vessels may save the transit to shore for new components, which may instead be carried out by low-cost feeder barges.
Hybrid tests and digital services
Virtual listening panel is a supplement to real ears
Headphones are not just headphones. Loudspeakers are not just loudspeakers. Their audio design varies greatly depending on whether they are going to be used by bass-loving hip-hop fans with slight hearing loss, podcast enthusiasts on the go or a third group.
Many manufacturers therefore use FORCE Technology’s SenseLab services. Using listening panels composed of either experts or ordinary consumers, structured listening tests contribute important knowledge about the perceived sound quality.
Over the years, SenseLab has carried out hundreds of this type of physical listening tests, and the massive amount of data collected in this connection are now being used in the development of a brand new tool: a virtual listening panel.
The virtual panel has been developed with modern machine learning techniques and may provide enterprises with a tool for predicting the sound quality of a given product from the early development phase and of prototypes to be assessed internally, for example to maintain confidentiality.
The panel enables the manufacturer to make the right design decisions early in the process, ensures lower costs and provides greater certainty that the sound quality of the product matches the end user’s preferences. At the same time, it is easier to focus the development process on the specific target groups and use situations.
Corporate social responsibility
As a GTS institute, FORCE Technology plays a special role in society and therefore has special obligations and responsibilities. We must be of use to others, and through our contribution to technological development, we contribute to creating growth and prosperity and to making a real, positive difference for people, companies and society at large.
FORCE Technology is striving to make the world more sustainable and safe, and in 2021 we therefore prepared climate accounts in order to set ambitious goals for reduction of our emission on the basis of specific data.
Distribution of CO2 emissions in 2021:
Being a sustainable company also involves gender equality. In 2021, we therefore signed the Confederation of Danish Industries’ Gender Diversity Pledge, and on this basis we have set specfific goals for gender diversity at our company.
Female employees in 2021:
Goal in 2024: 25 %
Female managers in 2021:
Goal in 2024: 22 %
Female board members* (excluding employee-elected) in 2021:
Goal in 2024: 33 %
* the proportion of female board members incl. employee-elected is 43 percent. An additional female member will take office in May 2022, bringing the proportion of female board members (including the employee-elected) up to 50 percent.
Research and development
As one of Denmark’s largest GTS institutes, FORCE Technology is one of the cornerstones in a strong Danish innovation system, and through participation in research and development projects we contribute to maturing new technologies and making them accessible to Danish companies.
R&D projects in 2021
R&D revenue in 2021, MDKK
Knowledge partner in 12 of 14 clusters
Member of the board in 7 of 14 clusters
Member of 167+ standardization committees
10 professional clubs
2,000 individual members
400 member companies