Semiotic Labs collaborates with Port XL 2019

Semiotic Labs collaborates with Port XL 2019

Semiotic Labs develops smart technology to prevent machine downtime. The company participates in PortXL in the scale-ups category. Simon Jagers, CCO of Semiotic Labs: “We are ready to roll out our concept on a larger scale.”

SAM4 is Semiotic Labs’s smart condition-monitoring solution. Jagers explains: “We use a sensor to monitor the condition of pumps, compressors and conveyor belts, etc., that are commonly used in bridges and locks and for other applications. The data enables us to detect problems at an early stage. This allows our clients to schedule inspections and maintenance, which in turn allows them to prevent unplanned downtime. We are currently in the middle of the PortXL programme. We are ready for growth, and we are exploring possible locations to install SAM4 with our partners, including the Municipality of Rotterdam. We are also working on financial and other business cases.”

Collaborating under the flag of PortXL

“It’s very interesting for us to be able to collaborate with PortXL parties such as the Municipality of Rotterdam, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Vopak, IHC and so on. These are all parties from the surrounding area, which are seriously inconvenienced if their machines stop working. Machine downtime is extremely costly. In the case of the municipal authorities, we also collaborate to ensure that the people of Rotterdam receive effective service. If a bridge no longer functions, traffic comes to a standstill. And let’s not forget the Port of Rotterdam, which is known for being a reliable port. We are able to make a contribution there.”

Solving problems before they occur

Jagers and his business partner Gerben Gooijers, CEO of Semiotic Labs, set up their company in 2015. “Our idea revolved around the fact that an increasing amount of data is available about machines. So how could we use this information to predict and prevent machine downtime?” Jagers explains. “The company data already available is rarely suited to condition monitoring, and firms are reluctant to share this data. Therefore, we devised a sensor we can use to collect the data ourselves. The sensor is installed in the switch box, from where it monitors the motor by measuring and analysing electric signals. The measurements provide us with information about the machine’s condition. The sensor uses 4G to send the data to our platform, where we process the information in real time. The dashboard displays the machine’s performance. If we detect any issues, we contact the client. We solve problems before they occur.”

Technology at the service of mankind

Jagers: “Our system supplies accurate information, is reliable and easy to install and use. We can provide information about whether maintenance is needed, and if so, what kind of maintenance, up to approximately four months in advance, thus preventing unscheduled downtime. Downtime is no longer accepted. We believe that technology should be at the service of mankind, not vice versa. Since SAM4 detects different types of damage, specialist mechanics no longer need to conduct inspection rounds. Instead they can take targeted action to tackle the damage that has been detected. Which is a good thing, because the number of technicians due to retire over the next few years is rising rapidly, while the inflow of new talent has been stagnating for years. In short: let technology do the work that does not need to be performed by humans, and deploy people in areas where technology falls short. In other words, let them devise solutions and perform repairs. It helps companies save costs, machines last longer and mechanics get to perform more interesting work.”

Erasmus and Mathenesser Bridges

“SAM4 is also proving itself at scale,” Jagers goes on to say. “In 2018, we were able to prevent downtime for 84 percent of our clients, and this year, so far, we are up to 93 percent. I think we can create more added value for the surrounding area, too. The fact that Rotterdam is such an innovative city is in line with our objectives. At present our technology is already being applied in the Erasmus and Mathenesser Bridges. In association with the municipal authorities, we are looking at expanding our collaboration to other bridges, locks and pumping stations.”


PortXL is a three-month accelerator programme that helps accelerate the growth of innovative start-ups and scale-ups in fields related to the port, maritime transport, energy and offshore fuel and energy. The municipality has been a PortXL partner since 2017. Other partners include the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Vopak, Van Oord, Boskalis, IHC, Mammoet, Shell and Rabobank. The partners share their knowledge and expertise, and support and assist the participants in setting up projects. Participants come to Rotterdam from all over the world to do business as soon as possible and launch innovative pilot projects with the PortXL partners. For more information, go to