Editorial note: This post is part of a series of posts in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology to promote their expertise and tools in commercialising research based innovations.
In our series with Lappeenranta University of Technology, we look at how the university has enabled researchers and entrepreneurs spinoff research based innovation into startups. Today, we take a look at a company that has focused on an extremely specific niche and been able to create a small albeit growing business out of it. Labvision Technologies has developed a novel solution to optimising the runs of a printing press, saving companies time and effort while improving the average quality of the print jobs dramatically.
Labvision's product is called Autowash 4408. It enables print houses to determine the optimal washing interval based on the actual accumulation onto the blankets. Blankets that have strong accumulation can deteriorate print quality.
The system can measure accumulation increases and decreases on a micrometer scale over the whole blanket area in all printing units (CMYK) at a resolution of 1500 dpi at paper web speeds up to 17 m/s. That's over 60km/h.
So how did this innovation get setup? We talked to Toni Kuparinen, one of the researchers behind this innovation as well as the CEO of Labvision Technologies.
Kuparinen tells us that the company was founded in 2003 to enable the commercialisation of technologies coming out from the university. Operations began properly in 2006. Between 2006 and 2007 further research and development on the Autowash product was conducted, which is currently in its commercialisation phase.
Labvision Technologies also pivoted on their initial idea in 2010 to focus on printing machines and actually measuring the accumulation at the printing houses.
Kuparinen together with a few colleagues were the people who held IPR in the case of Labvision Technologies moved to the company, meaning they were able to transfer the IPR to the new company quite easily. Later on, some IPR was bought from the Lappeenranta University of Technology to further protect the innovation.
According to Kuparinen, the technology transfer process from the university to Labvision Technologies was a straight forward one. The university valued the innovations accordingly and in doing so helped the company take them and develop their business on them.
Labvision Technologies is still located close to the university and employes 5 people in total. It is a small startup by any measure, but creating an extremely targeted solution in a high volume industry where cost management is crucial in running a successful business.