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PORTUGAL TECH


Able labels: Porto’s MTEX specialises in digital printing technology


Portugal stepsup itstechgame


R&D, UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS AND INDUSTRY 4.0 ARE REVOLUTIONISING PORTUGUESE EXPORTS. DANIELLE MYLES REPORTS


ranksEUmemberstates’ research and innovation performance. In 2020, it joined the second-highest grouping alongside Germany, France and Ireland. This progress is reflected by exporters’ tech advancements in eve- rything from engineering to artificial intelligence (AI), machinery to digital transformation. In the case ofMTEX NS—a com-


O


pany headquartered just outside of Portowhich develops andmanufac-


February/March 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


ver the past five years, Portugal has climbed the European Innovation Scoreboard, which


tures digital printing technology—it has even led to breakthroughs in fighting Covid-19. “Last year, we directed our knowledge and resources towards the creation of a disruptive and unique equipment line in the cleaning industry for the disinfection of fabrics and objects,” says chief executive Eloi Ferreira. Phys sterilisation cabinets’ ability


to inactivate Sars-Cov-2 has been cer- tified by Spain’s University of Zaragoza and is a revelation for cloth- ing outlets needing to keep garments virus-free. The technology’s effective- ness depends on an exact balance of ozone gas, temperature and time, and tookmany iterations to finalise.


Industry4.0 Phys would not have been possible without the firm’s research and


development (R&D) operations which, unlike its competitors, are not outsourced. “We’ve made a sub- stantial investment in R&D and doing it in-house is the key to suc- cess,” says Mr Ferreira. “Within days, we can take a product from idea to assembly. This speed to market is what differentiates us.” And it is also helping Portugal compete with digi- tal printing leaders, Italy and Japan. MTEX NS recently developed a digi- tal textile dyeing machine for Spanish group Nextil, which will dye fabrics to be used by Adidas. Since 2019, allMTEXmachines


have been configured for Industry 4.0 which, Mr Ferreira says, is crucial for any quality product in the sector today. “They are self-sufficient, intel- ligent and can be serviced remotely,” he adds. “I know howour


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