Deltaray is a start-up that was founded last year with the aim of introducing a disruptive technology for the mass production of critical parts. Besides finding new customers and investors, the company currently has some other challenges. What impact has the coronavirus had on this company so far? Read the interview with Walter Nackaerts, co-founder of Deltaray, and member of Agoria's Transport & Mobility Club.

Hi Walter, thank you for taking time to have this virtual coffee with me this morning. First, can you explain what is Deltaray and what is your role within the company?

Deltaray is a startup, we were founded last year.  We will bring a disruptive technology to the market of mass production of critical parts.  We bring a new solution for in-line inspection based on 3D X-ray. It’s a technology that allows manufacturers to inspect their quality at 100% and automate their in-line quality inspection process. 

And you are one of the co-founders I believe?

Yes, indeed.

Can you explain a little bit further your technology?

All manufacturers of critical parts need to do quality assurance. Therefore they need to inspect the goods.  Technologies used today don’t allow to do 100% automated inspection. We will bring 100% inspection and don’t comprise on speed and accuracy.  This will allow companies to perform 100% quality inspection and have full data available on everything they’re producing.

And what is until now the impact of the coronavirus on your company?

Where do you want me to start? The impact is of course very big.  On one hand we are a new company so we need market and customer awareness.  That of course is being completely stopped due to corona. Especially as we want to focus first of all on the European market.  Everything is delayed, so our sales funnel is not growing as we would want and this makes our investors also less happy.  So it’s all connected. 

Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, we are of course not standing still and building alternative plans.  For instance, the international fairs in which we wanted to participate, which were Control in May in Stuttgart and Automotive Testing Expo in Juni in Stuttgart are both cancelled for this year. We need to find alternatives in virtual fairs like the Industry 4.0 Fair that will happen in June.   We are doing telemarketing campaigns, we are organizing an Open House and we participate as much as possible in relevant initiatives that are taken left and right.  But it’s not the same as an international fair like Control where you have 10.000 visitors in one go.

So your go-to-market plan can get some delay because of corona. But are you still advancing in terms of technology development?

Yes, covid gives us a little bit more time to better prepare things and to be ready.  But of course in the end, covid-19 has not been helping us at all.

Besides finding new customers and raising awareness, what are your other challenges at the moment?

We have the sales side and the investment side. We’re looking for new investors.  It’s probably unnecessary to say that the mood of investors is not optimal at the moment.  But we are continuing as before, only at a slower pace. 

Going back to your technology. Is it really “first-of-a-kind”?

As far as we know, there is no comparable alternative on the market today.  Therefore we call it a disruptive technology.  It’s 3D X-Ray.  Currently available technologies all cover a part of the need of the customer but not the whole thing.  With our technology you can do inspection in real time for inspecting the outside and the inside of a part which is unique in the market. And we do that at high speed. A comparable alternative is CT, which is tomography.  It can basically do the same but at a much lower pace.

High speed probably means that automotive is an important market?

Yes you’re right. Automotive is one of the industries we are focusing on.  Besides automotive, we also focus on medical, 3D Printing and critical parts assemblies. 

To summarize, you’re still developing the technology the same as without the corona crisis and you’ll adapt your business development with digital initiatives. And hopefully at Agoria we can contribute a bit to spreading the word on what you are doing.

Everybody who can contribute is welcome. We are focusing now on our Open House in June. And then the first international fair which is relevant for us is MSV in Brno in Czech Republic but that’s only in October. And of course our digital initiatives.

Thank you Walter for this talk, it was very interesting to hear how you deal with the current situation.