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Safe flights ‘as a service’

Circular emergency-lighting proposition

From autumn 2018, ABB worked for 150 days on the development of a new and circular product with market potential together with ENGIE and the Technical Union and with the inspiration and guidance of the circular hotspot BlueCity in Rotterdam. At the end of May 2019, the first results of this so-called Living Lab Bouwstof were presented: a prototype for circular emergency lighting, promising to be in the market within two years. Product Marketing Director Gerben Achterberg participated in this Living Lab on behalf of ABB.

"It's not really about the product itself, but about using the circular emergency lighting," suggests Gerben Achterberg right away. Because the emergency lighting is offered as a service: safe flights ‘as a service’. The product is no longer sold to the customer, but remains the property of the supplier and/or technical service provider. They take care of the delivery, installation, maintenance and return processes. The customer pays a monthly or an annual amount for its use.

The service principle requires good cooperation between the various parties in the chain. ABB develops products, Technical Union is the wholesaler in the form of a stockholder, and logistics and ENGIE, the technical service provider. “We have to make good agreements about the roles, tasks and responsibilities of each party. A concrete case such as this is going to make that clear. "

Safe flight ‘as a service’ comes from a new and more circular way of thinking about emergency lighting. “We have included the different R's of the circular economy. Recycling, Re-manufacturing, Refurbish and Re-use were found to apply to emergency lighting", says Achterberg. “This way of offering allows us to reduce the amount of raw materials and extend the service life. Normally, emergency lighting lasts twelve years and then we replace the luminaires and systems. That is no longer the case.”

The product lends itself well to a circular revenue model, because it has a modular structure. Gerben Achterberg: “A fixture consists of a housing, printed circuit board, a light source and a battery. Elements of the product are easy to replace or renew. It becomes different when components are glued together in a complex manner. We can further develop the luminaires to further promote the circular process. ” The product also requires a very good approach. "You cannot take risks with emergency lighting."

According to Gerben Achterberg, the reuse of materials is still relatively new in the installation sector. “Materials are reused more often in the interior design sector. But this sector is mainly focused on selling new products. " That is also the complexity of this new way of thinking. “We all work in large international organizations. We cannot have the illusion of changing the world within six months. What matters is that we get people to think differently. And take the road to a circular economy. "

A Living Lab as the Blue City motivates and inspires to go down that road. "Very valuable", as experienced by Achterberg. "To deal with a concrete product to work, you need a kickstart. The environment of Blue City, an old subtropical swimming paradise full of circular entrepreneurs, helps with that. ”

ABB is positive about this business. “It still has to prove itself and it will bring many changes, but we expect it to work. There are many benefits for the customer. They only have to pay for the use, they do not have to make a pre-investment, no maintenance and no unforeseen high costs for repair.