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Ford chooses Porto startup Azitek to improve efficiency

Incubated at the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC), Azitek has developed an asset tracking system that is being implemented at Ford's plant in Valencia.

Ford chooses Porto startup Azitek to improve efficiency
ECO · 10 Aug 2023
Ford Motor Company has chosen Azitek, a startup incubated at the University of Porto's Science and Technology Park (UPTEC), to implement an asset tracking system at the American car manufacturer's largest European plant.

The Portuguese startup won the challenge launched by Ford in the BoostUp! Bridge 2022 Grand Final, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Manufacturing. Azitek received €30,000 to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that is now being implemented at Ford's Valencia plant.

Azitek's solution is currently tracking around six of the 20,000 plastic KLT containers - small load carriers - responsible for transporting materials and goods between the various sites of the Spanish-based plant.

The radio frequency technology enables the automatic detection of the boxes in real time, their location, instant inventory, warnings of shortages, performance indicators - such as the speed at which boxes with components are being rotated between the various sites - or the washing process of the containers. This data is collected through readers placed in the assembly line, warehouse and container washing area.

Azitek explains, in a statement sent to the newsrooms, that "this procedure allows to solve the problem of manual inventory execution, a process that is prone to errors, and that leads to an annual loss of 7% of the boxes used, which are reflected in financial losses for the companies that buy them and that need them to be able to function efficiently".

Azitek's CEO, José Francisco Valente, emphasises that the solution "has been a success and the implementation has gone very well". The young entrepreneur details that the "next step is to expand the system to all KLTs and to more types of returnable containers, as well as expanding coverage to other Ford logistics partners". "In the future, our ambition is to solve this problem in the various Ford plants around the world," he adds.

In addition to Ford Motor Company, Azitek applies this solution in the litter bins of the city of Porto, through Porto Ambiente, and in the factories of Lingote. They also offer solutions for industry in the area of process automation, with clients such as Bosch, BorgWarner or Gestamp.