Delft-based Villari has announced a significant seed investment of €2.5 million aiming to propel Villari’s innovative sensor technology, designed to detect and monitor small fractures or “fatigue cracks” in steel structures.
Vital steel assets, such as bridges with heavy traffic and industrial cranes operating continuously, require constant monitoring to detect and address fatigue cracks that can compromise their integrity. However, the current standard of manual inspection is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and costly. Several specialists spend days inspecting structures for cracks, leading to asset downtime and inefficiencies.
Olivier Baas, founder and CEO at Villari, explains the critical need for innovation in this domain: “The industry has seen little innovation because available technologies are unable to detect cracks remotely with a comparable level of reliability.”
During his graduation project at TU Delft, Baas developed an innovative crack-sensing technology that leverages magnetic field variations. By measuring local changes in the magnetic induction field, Villari’s proprietary hardware and sensing algorithms can confidently detect crack formation and monitor crack growth over time. Customers can access the data through a user-friendly dashboard, allowing them to make informed decisions about maintenance or replacement without interrupting asset operations.
Villari’s sensor solution is already installed and operational at several customers’ sites, including bridges owned by the Dutch Government and industrial cranes at harbours and steel manufacturing facilities across Europe. With a growing number of aged bridges and industrial cranes, the demand for a scalable and affordable solution is evident.
Paul Pruijmboom, managing partner at FORWARD.one, comments on Villari’s potential: “With their installed base of sensors, Villari has proven to hold a feasible and more affordable solution, and we are very excited to join their journey to change an industry that is ready for innovation.”
Led by FORWARD.one, along with co-investors InnovationQuarter Capital and Delft Enterprises, the €2.5 million investment will fuel Villari’s international expansion efforts. CEO Olivier Baas and COO Floris Achterberg plan to expand their team with engineers and sales talents to accelerate the scaling process. Beyond bridges and cranes, Villari envisions promising applications in the offshore wind turbine industry, where crack monitoring is even more challenging due to complex accessibility and harsh environments.