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The seven best innovations of 2022
The world's first standing electric propulsion foil – scooter. Photo: Highflay Watersports

The seven gold awards for Slovenia's best innovations include a new anemia drug, an electric airplane, electric water foil, a sustainable glass manufacturing technique, automatic slide doors for clean rooms, a new electric motor for vacuum cleaners, and a trailing arm for BMW cars.

The twentieth national Innovation Award ceremony was – once again – an excellent showcase of the of Slovenian industry. Out of 45 presented products and services, seven won the highest, golden innovation award. These seven winners are excellent representatives of the Slovenian company landscape, as they included start-ups, iconic entrepreneurs, SMEs and local branches of large multinationals.

Cleangrad is one of the global leaders in development and production of clean rooms for labs, hospitals, and the pharma industry. The 20-year-old SME from eastern Slovenia received the golden award for their hermetic slide doors – the first to meet the second highest clean room requirements (grade B).

Domel won the gold with its electronically commutated (EC) wet and dry vacuum motor achieving the highest energy efficiency on the market. Founded 75 years ago, Domel is one of the global leaders in highly specialized electromotor development.

HighFly Watersports, a start-up dedicated to sustainable water sports equipment, won the prize for their Flyaway electric standing e-foil, the first of its kind.

Steklarna Hrastnik and RC eNeM were recognized for their new glass manufacturing technique, which uses exclusively recycled glass and “green” hydrogen, a result of multidisciplinary research. Hrastnik Glassworks, founded in 1860, specializes in high-end glass packaging for spirits, perfumes and similar, while RC eNem is a small R&D company with a focus on new materials.

The Novartis Group company Lek won the award for their generic version of the anemia drug ferumoxytol. This was described as “an important step in anemia treatment enabling better accessibility of state-of-the-art nanotech-based medicines”. No other company has been as successful in the history of the national innovation awards as Lek: the pharma developer and manufacturer from Ljubljana has won the gold 13 times so far.

A Slovenian ultrasmall plane maker, Pipistrel won the golden award for its Velis electric plane. Velis is not a new product and has already won numerous awards all over the globe. The national golden title can be seen as a kind of lifetime achievement award for Pipistrel’s founder Ivo Boscarol. The Boscarol family sold the company to the US group Textron last year.

TPV Automotive was awarded for its light trail arm developed for BMW cars. It is lightweight, yet strong, stiff, and durable - something that may seem trivial but is in fact an engineering breakthrough.

Last fall’s national Innovation Day was already the 20th edition of the innovation awards ceremony. The project has highlighted 3,420 products and services – 162 of them won the highest award. The event is organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia with partners, including the public agency SPIRIT Slovenia Business Development Agency.

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