Meet Collo: In Search of a Liquid Fingerprint

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Dirty drinking water, unqualified liquid used in a manufacturing process, or a contaminated drink on a bar counter. Liquids are ingenious to hide what they really contain. However, every liquid has a fingerprint, and the Tampere-based startup Collo has found a way to identify it.

It all started at Tampere University (TUNI) where the founding team met and researched the field before spinning off the company. There, Dr. Matti Järveläinen reached out to a fellow researcher, Teemu Yli-Hallila, with a question about what kind of methods he could come up with for sending signals into material and could we learn something novel with this approach? Well, the question was answered and the end result was Collo’s patent pending solution for liquids analyzing.

So how does it work? Collo’s solution sends a MHz-range radio wave that advances through the liquid. The analyzer detects interferences that the chemicals and different component in the liquid in the liquid cause to the signal. Sensitivity of the measurement reaches a level of a millionth. It’s a continuous, real-time measurement that works regardless of the solidness or complexity of the liquid, from drinking water to ceramic mass.

Collo helps their customers to solve several problems: inaccurate quality control of manual samples, wrong process parameters, wasted energy or materials and the inability to control delayed lab results or inaccurate sensors, to name a few. Even though Collo’s work is backed by years of research led by professor Levänen and Vilkko in TUNI, the team is just getting started.

“We measure the fingerprints of liquid processes in order to learn from them and create opportunities to control the processes based on their actual conditions. By doing so, we can increase the safety of liquids and save our stakeholders’ and mankind’s resources, including energy, chemicals, raw-materials and time,” says Järveläinen, CEO of Collo, about the company’s mission.

The playground of Collo is by no means small. The market size of online liquid analysis is already at an average of €5 billion and is expected to grow to €10 billion over the next five years. Especially the increased security regulations in the food and beverage industry and need for more water processing and process development, has sped up growth in the field. Moreover, the transformation from industry 3.0 to industry 4.0 makes the development of the field even more intriguing, as products and processes are designed increasingly based on data and machine learning.

Collo is already working with tens of customers across several sectors: water, chemical and mining, food and beverage, ceramic, oil and paint, and coating. Their customers include global Fortune 500 companies as well as small and innovative process owners.

And we’re of course more than thrilled to welcome this research heavy team to Maki House and jump on board to help pave the way.

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