Producer of smart lamps chooses Flanders over China

Belgian technology company Nobi will produce in Antwerp instead of China. The company claims that manufacturing its smart lamps domestically is much cheaper than in China.

Antwerp-based start-up Nobi raised 13 million euros early this year to finance the production and sale of its eponymous smart lamp for the healthcare sector. The lamp detects when someone falls and then immediately sounds an alarm.

Nobi will produce these lamps and associated electronics from 2023, not in China but in Aartselaar near Antwerp. According to the company, new calculations have shown that manufacturing in Flanders is at least 18 per cent cheaper than in China.

Finished products from China are subject to high import duties and international transport costs. Buying parts from third parties is also more expensive than in-house production. Furthermore, new production lines for smart lamps are highly efficient.

Labour costs

Labour costs play less of a role, it sounds. "At Nobi, 90 per cent of production consists of material costs and only 10 per cent of labour costs," says CEO Roeland Pelgrim.

By producing domestically, the company says it also does not have to worry that production in China prevents the lamps from being sold in, for example, the US, which is becoming increasingly cautious about privacy-sensitive technology produced in China. A local production line also allows for more flexibility between developers and production.

Therefore, the start-up decided to invest 1 million euros in its production line in Aartselaar. This should be operational in just a few months, and 24,000 lamps should roll off the assembly line next year.

Nobi makes lamps that can detect when older people fall. With artificial intelligence, the device detects when the person falls, contacts family or emergency services and can open the door for them. The start-up raised 13 million euros of the capital early this year.


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