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DN Maps and names the most exciting companies in Norway in its Innovators of the Year award.  Norxe manufactures projectors for simulators.

DN Maps and names the most exciting companies in Norway in its Innovators of the Year award. Norxe manufactures projectors for simulators.

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DN Maps and names the most exciting companies in Norway in its Innovators of the Year award. Norxe manufactures projectors for simulators.

In a brand new building along the riverbank in Fredrikstad, light in different colors is refracted on the wall.

Here, advanced monitors have been developed that are used for simulators that require extreme accuracy.

When buying new F-35 fighter jets, you should practice them before they get into a machine for a billion kroner, says co-founder Kjell Einar Olsen at Norxe.

When test pilots get into the simulator, they should feel like sitting in the cockpit.

– It should be as lifelike as through an airplane window.

Norxe business sales increased from 20 million to 110 million in six years. Now, the projector manufacturer is floating around that more and more roles can be simulated with new technology.

Here Kenneth Scoggin sits with a test kit for 1.5 million kroner.

Here Kenneth Scoggin sits with a test kit for 1.5 million kroner. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

The company is among the first to Registered for “Innovators of the Year”, DN Mapping and Selection of Norwegian Startups and Developing Companies. Here, the breadth of innovative companies will be shown, and the broad jury will give some companies extra attention.

Here you can read about the standards, jury and registration of your company This year’s creators

See overview above The first companies are here

Not a game of games

Previously, light bulbs were used in projectors, but now the technology consists of lasers and LEDs, which, according to the entrepreneur, provide very good colors.

Olsen is a physicist and with a team of approximately 40 employees, optics are designed for the light source that forms the basis of the image on the wall.

Each light source creates a color, and the end result depends on the different light sources working perfectly together.

Each light source creates a color, and the end result depends on the different light sources working perfectly together. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

The price of each projector is 200 thousand crowns. Professional customers often buy ten projectors at a glance. They are then installed in large simulation systems where there are high requirements to handle large amounts of data quickly.

– Pilots can practice things that can happen in the air without any consequences, such as the engine stalling and the seagulls in the engine.

Customers include aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus as well as Formula 1 teams such as McLaren and Mercedes. In addition, the defense industry is a major client.

The technology has obvious similarities with gaming.

Although there may be a high willingness to pay as well among players, there is a distinct difference from boys’ room technology.

– We do not work in a normal consumer business. Olsen says this isn’t something you can buy at Elkjøp.

hand made

In the Norxe building near the Fredrikstad stadium, 30 employees can have fun on an area of ​​3,000 square metres. The company is of scale to grow and has already made way for the Autostore parts pick-up robot.

Everything from research and development to production is collected in the building along the riverbank.

This is handcrafted and custom made. Production is critical to us, Olsen says.

Here, Jan Martin Olausen mounts one of the parts to be inserted into the projector.

Here, Jan Martin Olausen mounts one of the parts to be inserted into the projector. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

The actual light source in projectors is LEDs or lasers in this case.  This creates a specific color.

The actual light source in projectors is LEDs or lasers in this case. This creates a specific color. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

The supply crisis has shown that it is important to control the entire value chain.

– I lost my hair on her, chuckles, logistics manager Thomas Wise, who has long been bald.

They are very happy that the production of circuit boards has not been outsourced to Taiwan.

“We have to keep up all the time, and then we have to design other components if the supply is poor and the lead time is too long,” says production manager Morten Eliassen.

There is often only one letter in the mail that says deliveries have been cancelled.

Olsen: We have to be a little suspicious.

annoying struggle

The founders of Tek behind Norxe already have a successful sale behind them. They sold everything from their previous projector company, Projectiondesign, with few profits estimated in the tens of millions. The holder of the largest profit is industrial designer Bård Eker, who remains with 500 million.

For the entrepreneurs who went ahead and created Norxe, the sale of the former company to the Belgian company Barco had unpleasant consequences.

Barco sued Norxe for NOK 200 million. They were accused of stealing trade secrets and raided the building when the other party demanded proof of evidence.

The court dismissed the charges against the entrepreneurs, who have now responded with a counterclaim as a compensation claim of more than NOK 200 million has been filed against Barco.

Just outside, Fredrikstad's ferry shuttles back and forth while testing procedures are in progress.

Just outside, Fredrikstad’s ferry shuttles back and forth while testing procedures are in progress. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

Up to 20 of the 30 employees in Fredrikstad come from the environment surrounding Projectiondesign. Some have also been involved since the 1990s and the tech adventure Ask in Fredrikstad that ended up on the stock exchange.

Bård Eker, who is best known for designing the Koenigsegg sports car and is behind Norwegian boat maker Hydrolift, thinks it funny that Norxe has also made a breakthrough.

– This is knowledge that has persisted since the 1990s. They’ve been pretty good at keeping their sights low, Ecker says, and haven’t been tempted into other markets.

I took a year off

So far, the founders have managed to build the company step by step without bringing in outside investors.

They say they receive regular inquiries from interested investors, but have held back.

We’ve done this before, and you don’t have to make the same mistakes again, says Olsen.

So far, 17 million have been injected in the form of equity capital, but now when they have to push for a wider range of products, the need for capital will only increase.

– When we started, there was no money in the company. Then we paid continuously. The need for capital comes in waves as we hire and create new products.

Norxe headquarters have a number of testing rooms where products are checked before they enter the market.

Norxe headquarters have a number of testing rooms where products are checked before they enter the market. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

The company started making money in its third year of operation, and its operating margin was 10-25 percent until last year. Now they hope to increase production from 500 units last year to 5,000 units in a few years.

– This is not a flat hill. The only thing we know is that it doesn’t go smoothly.

Last year, the pandemic contributed to slower growth and poor results for Norxe.

2021 was a rest year. We couldn’t go out and kidnap customers when people were sitting at their desks at home and the airline was down. This year we have faith in a good push again.

Now the tense security policy situation has contributed to the fact that growth is expected towards the defense industry.

Flying costs a lot. In the simulators, pilots from Norway, Germany and the USA can train for missions together without having to be in the same place, Olsen says.

Formula 1 circus in the office

In the production room, it’s Friday when the Formula 1 races are shown on the big screen.

Production worker Christian Eriksen (25) has five years behind at Norx and has been on a growth journey.

Norxe has expanded the product from two to five models and significantly expanded its crew range.  Here, the parts are ready for assembly.

Norxe has expanded the product from two to five models and significantly expanded its crew range. Here, the parts are ready for assembly. (Photo: Elaine Holland)

– When the boys drive Beilin, they may have trained on projectors from here. There is a reason why the best drivers are the best, says Eriksen in his Fredrikstad accent.

Formula 1 drivers are not only tested in simulators, they are also used for testing for further development of the cars.

The algorithms they use are so good that they can test what happens when they change the contours of the wing.

Here you can read about the standards, jury and registration of your company This year’s creators

See overview above The first companies are here

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