Machines and in particular robots are increasingly aiding – if not even substituting – people with their work. Yet, those machines often lack the strength and precision necessary to create real impact. Or at least that was the case until IMSystems came around.
Led by scientist Jack Schorsch, a team of four – including Matthew Corvers, Thibaud Verschoor and Rory Deen – are working on the Archimedes drive: an invention in mechanical power transmission that can make any electrical engine simultaneously stronger, more precise and more efficient than anything currently on the market.
FROM A SIMPLE IDEA
The idea behind the Archimedes drive had been evolving in Jack’s mind for years, during which he did research in the fields of prosthetics and exoskeleton design. In his work, he often faced the challenge of making those wearables small, lightweight and easy to use.
The Archimedes drive is a compact gearbox that uses friction instead of gear teeth, allowing it to make electrical engines – and the machines they power – lighter, stronger and faster than ever before. Yet, it wasn’t until Matthew and a team of fellow TU Delft students took part in a Master’s course, that Jack’s invention came on the radar as a business case.
“We took part in a course aimed at turning technology into a business,” Matthew recalls, where they were given a patent by a TU Delft researcher, without knowing the exact application of the invention. “We had to brainstorm it ourselves, because inventions can often be used for much more than their original application.”
A few brief months later, Jack’s Archimedes drive had proven to have a market fit, and so the team set out to launch IMSystems.
IMSystems’ product is the first drive to use friction instead of gear teeth as a means of powering electrical engines – and it seems to come with a list of advantages. “We can get to about half the size and a quarter of the weight of our competitors’ drives,” Matthew explains. “What’s more, we are not limited by the gear ratios and how strong we can make an electrical engine.”
With multiple subsidies and a loan already secured, IMSystems has been able to develop their first metal prototype with a gear ratio of 500:1, which is about three times more than what most drives on the market can currently achieve.
The team’s progress, they say, hasn’t been without the help of YES!Delft and the Incubation Program, which Matthew describes as fantastic. “You’re here with about 80 other companies; there are always people who have been at the point where you are, so you can just walk up to their office and discuss how they did things. Having this network is very useful.”
From this point on, IMSystems is looking forward to growing. They have already signed their first two clients, and are working towards adding more to their portfolio. Expanding the team is, thus, certainly among their next steps to be able to deliver timely and quality results.
One thing is for certain: We will sure be hearing more from IMSystems in the future.
January 2015 – The team came together for the Master’s course (turning technology into a business)
February 2016 – Admission to YES!Delft’s Incubation Program
June 2016 – Founded company
August 2016 – First client signed
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