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Sellafield engaged with Digital Catapult in November 2018 for a Hack and Pitch event at the Smart Factory Expo in Liverpool.

Together with Digital Catapult, Sellafield scoped a challenge; finding ways in which IOT solutions could remote-monitor the condition of nuclear waste containers on their site in Cumbria.

Sellafield was looking for innovators to help solve real-world business challenges

Having honed their processes over decades, many large corporations struggle to bring innovation into their organisations. Some forward-thinking corporations look to work with more agile external organisations to fast track the process but finding the right partners can be difficult. There are so many startups it is difficult to tell if they have the potential, the skills and the capability to deliver what you need.

Sellafield approached Digital Catapult as it was looking for external partners to drive more innovative approaches into its business.

Digital Catapult run Hack & Pitch at Digital Manufacturing Week to tackle Sellafield’s challenge

Digital Catapult helped Sellafield scope their challenge along with expert IOT technologists who framed the challenge to reach out to a suitable audience via an open call to Digital Catapult’s extensive network of startups, scaleups and academia.

Sellafield’s challenge was: “How can we remote monitor the condition of nuclear storage containers through application of advanced digital technologies?”

Digital Catapult shortlisted six teams to pitch their solutions to the challenge owners during the Hack & Pitch event, to a panel of judges included senior stakeholders from Sellafield, Bentley, The Manufacturer magazine and The University of Huddersfield.

The winners were IOT companies Electrozest and Inductosense, with Electrozest named the overall winner.

Hack & Pitch connected Sellafield to high calibre external companies, and they intend to continue developing the ideas generated by the competition

The Hack & Pitch provided Sellafield with the opportunity of solving their challenge and demonstrating how industry at large can benefit from the help of small innovative companies.

The format of the event allowed each participating team to spend the first day understanding the challenge in more depth and speak directly to key influencers from Sellafield.

On the second day of the Hack & Pitch, each competitor was provided with a 15 minute time slot to pitch their idea. The judges picked four category winners prior to a Champion Pitch off in the afternoon crowning a company as overall “Hack & Pitch Champion”.

Electrozest was the overall Hack & Pitch Champion. Its solution focussed on the amount of time it would take to assess the contents of nuclear waste containers using four to five different energy saving methods to measure the nuclear waste containers. Sensors would detect levels of hydrogen, humidity, pressure and temperature of the storage containers. The other category winner for Selalfield’s challenge was Inductosense whose solution offered wireless battery free sensing solutions for asset integrity.

Support from Digital Catapult experts to frame the challenges and select the best teams to compete

Access to high calibre startups & scaleups