We decided to diversify our market by transferring technology into other business areas.
This was the saying, when The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) visited us in Valley Voice - a column where our cluster members are in focus. Tis week we had a talk with CEO of Fosstech, Steven Foss.
Foss states that the most challengign part of the future will be the ability to adapt fast when the market changes.
1. What are you doing right now?
Fosstech is setting up a new business area, “ Service and Aftersales “, world wide for electro-mechanical products, mainly the Maritime market. We are hiring some really skilled colleagues, making the Fosstech Team even stronger!
2. How is Fosstech contributing to the energy transition?
Fosstech have had a strong position within the Oil & Gas market, especially seismic. After the Oil crisis in 2014, we decided to diversify our market by transferring technology into other business areas and with a fous on a “green footprint”.
Today, our customers are within the maritime, defence, aquaculture/fishery and infrastructure. We have also developed 5-6 products of our own.
3. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the future?
The ability to change fast when the market changes!
4. What keeps you awake at night with regards to the energy transition?
Not much really, I think Fosstech already have made necessary changes to meet the future!
5. What is most valuable about being a member of Energy Valley?
The networking and meeting people from different markets, learning new ways of doing things, and be able to understand where the market is heading.
6. Is there any book that has inspired you in the way you lead?
The Book of “ Zlatan “, Never give up, Work Smart and Harder !
7. Which Energy Valley member do you want to pass the baton on to?
Kristiansand Skruefabrikk ( KSMV ) AS, CEO Frode Bjørntvedt.
Thank you, Steven! By: Anna Øglænd
Underwater cabins at ''Verdens ende''
On January 20th, Færder municipal council will make a descision related to an exceptionally spectacular project: rental cabins under water! The cabins will be the first in Europe, and with an architecture inspired by the surroundings; sea, air, light and rocks.
The plans are already known to the municipal management in connection with the ongoing work on a new area plan. There will be up to three - possibly four - cabins located in the northeastern part of the harbor basin at the ''Verdens ende'', in english ''Verdens ende'' means where the world ends into the sea. The depth conditions make this the only possible location. Thus, the cabins will be located immediately outside the border of Færder National Park. This is in line with one of the main arguments for creating the national park; to stimulate business activities in the park's edge zone. The cabins will provide a basis for three to four full-time jobs.
The cabins will also help to open up, to discover new parts of nature for the public. For the developers, it has been crucial to find a concept that does not require any kind of encroachment on nature. The cabins are anchored with moorings. Access is via existing piers, as well as a planned cable ferry, powered by the guests own muscles by hand.
Above water, the cabins have separate modules for accommodation, with simple cooking, a sauna and a larger outdoor space that can be separated off with sliding walls. But it is underwater where the really big surprise awaits in the form of a large panoramic window, wieving the surrounding sea and seabed.
"Until around 1970, there was an aquarium at Verdens ende / the End of the World. In all the years since, there have been voices for reconstruction ", says Einar Chr. Erlingsen, spokesman for the developers. "This is a believe that we think is no longer valid, as it would require a larger development inland. What we are doing instead is opening some peepholes towards the largest aquarium of them all, the sea itself, ”he says.
Behind the spectacular plans are Trond Barth Andersen, Einar Chr. Erlingsen, Knut Børge Knutsen and Kjell Alpers. They have previously amongst others also built the success Tretopphytter Oslofjord in Horten. "We like to work with unusual things and concepts. As retirees, we have time to work on some rather spectacular projects that will hopefully amuse most people, ”says Erlingsen.
The project also catches researchers interest. Kongsberg Maritime has contributed to the preliminary mapping of the area, and are of the opinion that this project sems very interesting. "We applaud the attention and commitment this can create around the conservation of the sea. We will investigate whether this location may be suitable for carrying out marine research in the Frisk Oslofjord 2.0 project, which we are working to establish together with local authorities, University of Oslo and the Institute of Marine Research, ”says project manager Arne J. Hestnes in Kongsberg Maritime.
The architecture is provided by SPIR Arkitekter AS, Tønsberg, while Fosstech AS, Sandefjord is responsible for the engineering.
Congratulations to Eivind - Top grade on the exam!
Our skilled apprentice, passed the exam in the subject Polymer Composite Technology with top grade. Congratulations so much Eivind Sæbø Guthus!
Polymer composite is a subject that covers more and more areas through the production of composites for boats, car parts, structures for aircraft and aerospace, the power industry and primary industries. The subject will contribute to the development of competent skilled workers who develop and manufacture products with high quality, great strength, low weight and minimal environmental impact. The materials and processes place high demands on health, environment and safety.
These are the kinds of businesses and entrepreneurs Norway need.
This was the saying, when The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) visited us in November 2020.
When oil prices fell in 2014, Steven Foss almost went bankrupt with his Fosstech company. When the oil industry over night would no longer buy advanced inspection systems for seismic cables, he had only one option: Restructuring. First downscaling.
It was invested even more strongly in knowledge and a person with a PhD in molecular surface physics was hired to bring out the best material solutions. So rebuild, and now the success stories are in line. Robust sensors are now being created for harsh environments. Products are now delivered for extreme environments, such as, but not limited to: oil, gas, defence, transport, hydropower, aquaculture and mining.
Today the company has 56 employees and has a turnover of NOK 100 million. Then came the global Covid-19 pandemic. Today, 13 are temporarily laid off. Steven's greatest fear is, losing competence. If employees disappear, it is the company's values that are destroyed. It has taken many years to build up this knowledge and competence. Fosstech has not received a penny in governmental funding and support related to Covid-19. The company will be managing through the global crisis, however 2021 will be tougher than 2020. He has a request for the norwegian administration: Allocate additional funding for innovation, development and research so that development does not stop. Make sure that established programs maintain sufficient funds.
Fosstech's aim is to limit the environmental footprint.
In everything Fosstech do, we think and perform environmental sustainability. We always go the extra mile to meet stakeholder requirements, related to environmental aspects.
In addition to being ISO 9001 : 2015 certified, we are proud to announce that Fosstech is now also ISO 14001 : 2015 certified.
Saw the light in new industry
Fosstech in Vestfoldwas struggeling when the oil marked plunged. Now LED lights along the E6 ensure that the arrows point upvards again.Fosstech at Borgeskogen was struggling when the oil market plunged. Now LED lights along the E6 ensure that the arrows point upwards againFosstech at Borgeskogen was struggling when the oil market plunged. Now LED lights along the E6 ensure that the arrows point upwards again
The technology and electronics company Fosstech has a long track record, and it is nothing new that designations such as innovative and world class are pasted beside the company name. In recent years, however, entrepreneur and general manager Steven Foss has had to turn around quickly. - In the peak years, we had 70 employees and a turnover of 100 million NOK, but we were hit hard when the oil market plunged in 2014. We had to cut costs and scale down sharply, says the entrepreneur, and continues: - We were down to 40 men and had a turnover of 60 million NOK. But then something special happened.
Almost by chance, the company - which has built itself around development of subsea components - received an inquiry from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. - What we can really do is make robust sensors for harsh environments. We had never worked with transport before, but this gave us the opportunity to think new, says Foss. It turned out that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration had problems with the lighting along the motorways. The advanced electronic elements are hidden down in concrete junction-boxes below ground in a harsh environment, exposed to sand, clay, salt water and temperature fluctuations. - Everything a lamp does not like, you will find down there, so we started to produce embedded electronics. The next weak point was the lamp itself, so we designed a hermetically sealed lamp. We have now tested it with a pressure similar to what you find 6,000 meters below sea level - to be safe, Foss and chuckles.
These depths are unlikely to be found along the E6 between Oslo and Minnesund, and Fosstech is now fully occupied with delivery of the pilot series to this road section. 660 LED lamps have been ordered, and the company produces approximately 30 units a day. - We have made the entire development process ourselves from start to full series production, and are first in the world to mold LED lights. No other have such solutions today, says Foss. For the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, this means 6 million NOK in annual savings on the electricity cost. For Fosstech, new energy has been injected into the organization. - We have received requests from various locations of Norway, and are on a path to look at new application methods. For example, we have talked to Torp Sandefjord Airport. So far, we have our legs well planted on the ground, but if we succeed here, this is probably subject for a dedicated factory, says Foss.
The innovation has given a significant boost to the Vestfold company. - By doing this in a smart way, we have brought jobs back to Norway. There is a lot that looks promising now - for example, we have never had such a high order portfolio before. Budgeted turnover for 2019 is NOK 90 million, and we have hired 10 new people in the last year, says Foss. The key has thus been to apply existing knowledge in new markets. - Moving the knowledge from subsea to transport was tough, however, competence is never easy. It's in the door one day and out again the next - things go that fast! You may have the best product in the world, but if you miss the timing, then the race is over. Foss also reminds that it is difficult to succeed alone. - I have a team of very good people here, and that is incredibly important. In addition, we have a professional and skilled board, he says, and continues: - In the beginning, I were on both sides of the table and discussed with myself. I am a technologist and would rather just test out new tools and machines, but you have to watch the numbers and keep the direction. So therefore, it is probably wise that an entrepreneur is kept a little in the ears.
Fosstech AS is now a participant and partner for Gründerhuset Hi5 in Tønsberg.
The company contributes with competence and experience.
Steven Foss has joined Hi5 as the new chairman of the board, in collaboration with the new and inspiring general manager Marie Kobro Hanche-Olsen. Together, we want to lift Hi5 further to become a very positive arena and a gathering place for innovative innovation and entrepreneurship, for our local area. We want to create new jobs, and to draw attention to bussiness comunities, which is especially important these days.
Read more about Hi5's exciting history and how they can help you see your possibilities and realize dreams…
Automatic trawl sack expander for more sustainable fisheries
FossTech’s pressure operated actuator expands the volume of trawling sacks during hauling, thus reducing fish mortality.
FossTech’s pressure operated actuator constricts sack volume when the trawl is deployed, and releases the constriction as the sack is brought closer to the surface. The mechanism is triggered by changes in pressure, which can be pre-programmed to specific depths.
Fosstech with breakthrough technology at The Explorer and
In 2014, I had to lay off 30 employees and mortgage all the family assets, says Steven Foss in an interview with Tønsbergs Blad on March 20th. However, he believes that Fosstech AS will recover well from this crisis, thanks to the efforts of its staff.
The most important thing now is to keep production going to ensure delivery to our customers. That way, we can invoice and in turn pay our suppliers.
Fosstech has a more diversified product and customer portfolio than in the previous financial crisis. We are now better equiped to withstand the present market fluctuations. After the previous financial crisis, we worked our way slowly but surely back up. It's been five tough years, but the past year has been really positive. And then this happens!
Sales work on hold
We are striving to adhere to the advice of the health authorities. The canteen is closed and some of the administration staff are working from home. We have large spacious offices and Steven Foss himself is in the office working. Our premises are washed every day. As of now, none of the employees have been infected.
So far we have not experienced problems in purchasing parts or in shipment of goods. Sales work must be put on hold as trade fairs at home and abroad have been cancelled.
The employees are making a huge effort at this time. Foss's job is to motivate and keep spirits up, by keeping staff informed of good news regarding new assignments and contracts. He hopes to avoid layoffs, but has had a meeting with the staff representative to pave the way for this if necessary. We were made more resilient by the previous crisis and are now stronger than ever. Our partnership with the Otterlei Group as, who own 40% of Fosstech, has strengthened equity.
We choose not to think too far ahead, but focus on what we can influence at present. We hope and believe that this situation will soon be over!
Source: Tønsbergs Blad
Looking into new cross-over markets
Fosstech has taken their competance and technology within encapsulation of Electronics, down to 6.000 mtrs., from Subsea to Infrastructure. We have developed our own unique solution, for Molding of LED, both Singel Point LED and LED-Bars.