Do you think it is madness to start a company in the aerospace industry in the middle of a pandemic? Nevertheless, Amadou Ndoye and Baïdy Touré made it happen by creating BIRCIS Technologies & Consulting in October 2020, providing products and services for electromagnetic engineering and systems integration.
Quebec, a natural choice for the two co-founders
These two entrepreneurs, both PhDs in electrical engineering, have similar backgrounds in a specialised field of the aerospace industry and, more broadly, in embedded systems: electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). They both lived and worked in Toulouse, France, a historical site of the aerospace industry, then worked at Bombardier, Quebec, in the certification of the CSeries aircraft, the Global 7000 aircraft and other programs such as Learjet85, and finally joined Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation in Japan. With this experience and expertise, they launched their entrepreneurial venture in Quebec, their favorite place in their international career.
“There is mainly a sentimental dimension to our choice for Quebec, but there is also a strategic aspect, of course. Quebec offers many opportunities and is an extremely dynamic place with major aerospace players. We can therefore access the market in the province but also in Canada, and open up to the United States”.
Electromagnetic compatibility: an expertise in demand
They also chose Quebec because it is the third largest aerospace hub in the world, and the region is also experiencing a significant shortage of manpower in the engineering field. Their expertise is all the more rare.
“In Quebec, the know-how in electromagnetic compatibility is not yet very developed, yet it is very much in demand, especially in the aerospace industry, but also in other high-tech markets such as the automotive industry, which is increasingly electrified and connected, telecommunications and railways. We want to offer these skills locally and at the same time bring value to the different industries in which we operate”.
BIRCIS is fueled by technological challenges and its motivation is to become a major player in the control of electromagnetic environments for the reliability of new technologies. To achieve this, Amadou and Baïdy are focusing on two original axes: first, on innovative products that will support – mainly – the aerospace industry and the electric and intelligent transport market, and second, on services that cover the entire product life cycle, from design to marketing, including R&D support. Concretely, the two entrepreneurs offer their clients pragmatic technological building blocks with multisectorial applications and solutions for solving system design, system integration, qualification and certification problems related to electromagnetic compatibility. BIRCIS’ expertise lies at the crossroads of technological issues in aerospace, transportation electrification, artificial intelligence and digitization.
Technologies are constantly evolving and the pace of innovation continues to accelerate. In the aerospace industry, for example, there will soon be fully electric or hybrid aircraft. On the other hand, the accelerated development of urban mobility is emerging as a crucial issue for manufacturers and certification authorities. It is necessary to ensure that these new technologies have a high degree of resilience to electromagnetic threats for safety and mission critical functionality. This is exactly what BIRCIS does.
What is an electromagnetic threat? There are different types of electromagnetic threats. It can be an electromagnetic pulse, i.e. an intentional or unintentional emission – for example lightning or static electricity – of electromagnetic waves of high amplitude that can destroy electronic products. It can also be electromagnetic interference caused by waves that can interfere with communication signals, or even magnetic disturbances that result from natural events.
BIRCIS, a growing start-up
With the support of the Consortium de recherche et d’innovation en aérospatiale au Québec (CRIAQ) and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), BIRCIS Technologies is currently working on a certification and integration platform that will simplify the certification process and ensure technology monitoring. This platform could be used by regulatory authorities and facilitate the certification of more than 1,500 new and modified aerospace products built or used in Canada each year.
“We are following the original plan we built and are now in the early stages of growth. We are happy to see that our efforts are paying off and that big players in the region are starting to knock on our door. In the long term, BIRCIS intends to build an innovation ecosystem to address technological challenges in order to create a dynamic environment around the issues of electric aviation and electric and intelligent transportation”.
BIRCIS has just completed its first year and is already recruiting. The current ecosystem is favorable to the company and electromagnetic compatibility remains a fundamental issue and will be even more so in the years to come with the evolution of technologies. BIRCIS will continue to position its expertise in this context and hopes to become one of the main players in the field of electromagnetic engineering in Quebec, Canada, the United States and even Japan.