Automation – but not for the masses

The KIT spinoff robodev GmbH has developed an intelligent module construction kit for a profitable production of small quantities in manufacturing enterprises.

Robot-supported automation is experiencing a boom. Nowadays, the automobile branch in particular would be quite inconceivable without modern industrial robots. From punching sheet metal components to the complete car body, whole automation lines are in operation partly without any human action. It is no coincidence that the automobile industry has become the paragon in this area. As a rule, unlike in many other branches, extremely large quantities are involved that all have to be produced according to exactly the same pattern. “The cost of a simple automation solution is at least 80,000 euro. If smaller quantities, below 10,000 items per month, are involved, this investment will usually not pay its way. Slightly below 75 per cent of processes in the German manufacturing industry are therefore manual or have only been automated to a small degree,” explains Dr Andreas Bihlmaier, co-founder of robodev GmbH.

The robodev founders (left to right): Dr Julien Mintenbeck, Dr Jens Liedke and Dr Andreas Bihlmaier. Quelle: robodev

The robodev founders (left to right): Dr Julien Mintenbeck, Dr Jens Liedke and Dr Andreas Bihlmaier. Quelle: robodev

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An in-silico revolution in biotechnology

Enough experimenting! The KIT spinoff GoSilico enables the biopharmaceuticals branch to introduce the computer-supported development of manufacturing processes for new agents.

The way from the discovery of a promising agent to its authorisation is tedious. It involves countless experiments that not only cause high costs but also require a considerable amount of perseverance. “It can take up to ten years for a drug to enter the market,” says Dr Thiemo Huuk. This is a shortcoming that he tends to address together with his co-founders Prof Dr Jürgen Hubbuch, Dr Teresa Beck and Dr Tobias Hahn.

The founders of GoSilico (left to right): Dr. Thiemo Huuk, Dr. Tobias Hahn and Dr. Teresa Beck (Source: Foto Fabry)

The founders of GoSilico (left to right): Dr. Thiemo Huuk, Dr. Tobias Hahn and Dr. Teresa Beck (Source: Foto Fabry)

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High performance in 3D printing

With its high-tech 3D printers for high performance polymers, the KIT spin-off Indmatec GmbH is offering undreamt-off possibilities in prototyping and small series manufacturing.

Prof. Dr. Brando Okolo has been dealing with materials research for several years in the course of his academic career. He lectured at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the field of micro-reforming of metals and plastics, with a focus on 3D printing technologies and Rapid Prototyping. He then took up a professorship at the German University of Cairo (GUC). “In my research, I also dealt with additive manufacturing – that is, on the basis of digital 3D construction data – using polymers as a material to work with. In this period, I already discovered the potential that 3D printing holds for high performance polymers, and I had my first thoughts about going into business,” Okolo recalls. The decision to end his lecturing activities after five years and realise his dream of an enterprise of his own brought Okolo back to Germany and his Karlsruhe environment.

Die Gründer von Indmatec (v.l.n.r.): Tony Tran-May und Prof. Dr. Brando Okolo zeigen ihren 3D-Drucker Indmatec HPP 155. Schon jetzt kann man gespannt sein auf die nächste Druckergeneration – der PEEK Printer 155 kommt 2017 auf den Markt. (Quelle: Indmatec GmbH).

The Indmatec founders (left to right): Tony Tran-Mai and Prof. Dr. Brando Okolo presenting their Indmatec HPP 155 3D printer. One already wonders what the next generation of printers is going to be like – the PEEK Printer 155 will be on the market in 2017.
(Source: Indmatec GmbH).

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Founder of the month July: GoSilico GmbH

gosilico_Logo_229x71The KIT spin-off GoSilico develops software for computer-assisted process development in the biopharmaceutical industry. Its simulation technology helps companies display experiments on their computers within seconds. We have interviewed the GoSilico GmbH team on their idea, the foundation of their company and their future perspective.

The founding team of GoSilico: Prof Dr Jürgen Hubbuch, Dr Teresa Beck, Dr Tobias Hahn und Dr Thiemo Huuk (left to right)

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Gestures conquering industrial processes

The KIT spin-off Kinemic GmbH is developing a software for keying and device interaction based on steering gestures for industrial applications.

Dr Christoph Amma set off to become an entrepreneur with his doctoral thesis at the Chair of Cognitive Systems in Informatics at KIT: “While I was doing my doctorate, I explored options for recognising and interpreting human movements, especially gesture and handprint character recognition. Ultimately, this was to result in ‘airwriting’, a system enabling letters to be written and recognised in the air without a keying or input device. Texts are thus captured solely by movements of the hand.

Inventor Amma caused a sensation with this invention. His academic work earned him a number of distinctions, including the “Google Faculty Research Award” in 2013. Technical implementation was supported by Marcus Georgi, a fellow informatics scientist at KIT. The positive acclaim the two scientists have met with and the growing interest taken in airwriting have encouraged them to go on pursuing the development of the research results towards concrete applications. Thus the decision to go into business suggested itself. “Progressing from scientific proof to application at client level really is exciting,” Amma remarks. “You have to do a lot of developing to get your own vision put into practice.” Tomt Lenz, a fellow KIT graduate who joined the team, adds: “Thanks to my previous activities as a business consultant, I was able to provide valuable experience in company development.”

KINEMIC

Das Team von Kinemic möchte die Bedienung von digitalen Geräten im industriellen Einsatz revolutionieren: Dr. Christoph Amma, Marcus Georgi, Tomt Lenz.

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