Craftsmen hate it when they make mistakes and waste materials. It’s expensive and annoys customers. In more and more construction projects the error rates are rising, as are prices and the costs of corrective measures. According to an analysis by BauInfo-Consult, based on a sample of 1,800 interviews conducted between 2014 and 2015, 541 of the architects and developers surveyed estimated that the average cost of errors amounts to 11% of industry turnover. In 2014, a dozen or so companies from the region of Eastern Westphalia- Lippe agreed to test a quality improvement and error avoidance method that is specially geared to trade businesses and SMEs. The idea was initiated by Professor Dr.-Ing. Ralf Hörstmeier, director of the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Applied Motion Technology. He is also involved in research and teaching at the faculty of engineering and mathematical sciences of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Working in alliance with other partners, he has adapted industrial tools to match the needs of craftsmen and introduced them to the market as the “VFMEA method”.
Prof. Dr. Mario Trieloff explains why geoscience is so important for exploration of the universe. In the interview, he also discusses questions surrounding the origins of the solar system, the Earth, and life itself, pondering on the future devel-opment of space exploration and the challenges this will pose for his Steinbeis Enterprise.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rüdiger Haas talks to TRANSFER magazine, providing an overview of the important developments in aerospace technology in recent years and also outlining current challenges. In the interview, he explains the peculiarities of knowledge and technology transfer in the aerospace industry, even offering some personal predictions for the future.
The aim of modern modeling and simulation calculations used in aerospace is not just to gain an understanding of existing (i.e., real) systems, but also to make actual improvements in any given situation. But making improvements isn’t the same as achieving the optimum. Enter nonlinear optimization (NLP), an approach being used in aerospace that has developed into a key technology capable of delivering competitive advantage. One particularly important solution in this area is WORHP (pronounced “warp”), the European NLP solver which was developed to provide a tool for solving real optimization problems in everyday practice. Optimization, Control and Adjustment Control, the Steinbeis Enterprise based at the University of Bremen, is coordinating adaptations to WORHP as part of a project looking at reducing pollution in aviation.
What areas does the LR BW work in? What challenges and opportunities lie in store for the aerospace industry in Baden-Württemberg? In a recent interview, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rolf-Jürgen Ahlers provides some answers.
The aerospace industry has always been a key driver of emerging technology. Companies and scientific institutions in the industry have frequently been the source of ground-breaking innovations and they still are today. Such innovations quickly spread into related areas. Systems and products used in the aerospace industry have to adhere to extremely strict quality requirements and function properly under harsh conditions. So to uphold innovation and competitiveness, organizations need highly qualified workers, ideally with broad-based training and international experience. It is against this backdrop that the German Aerospace Academy (ASA), a Steinbeis Transfer Institute at Steinbeis University Berlin, develops concepts for offering innovative, vocationally integrated training and continuing professional development (CPD).
In the aerospace industry, quality assurance is an essential part of production, particularly when it comes to processes and components. High quality standards are driven by the extremely high technical requirements placed on parts. As a result, there are also special requirements placed on components, not only in terms of comprehensive functional testing before they actually enter use, but also in relation to how components are actually produced. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Manufacturing Technology & Machine Tools has been working in this area with the Steinbeis Consulting Center for High-Pressure Waterjet Technology to identify different ways to optimize the production of components and develop new technologies.
For the last 20 years, the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Aerodynamics, Aircraft Engineering and Lightweight Construction, and the company it spawned in 2007, Steinbeis Flugzeug- und Leichtbau GmbH (SFL), have been working with a variety of clients on innovative aviation solutions. The development services offered range from aircraft used in general aviation to projects involving remotely piloted air systems (RPAS). The work being carried out by the Steinbeis experts is focusing more and more on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Technology transfer – bringing science and companies together to work in partnership on translating application-based research into marketable products. The fact that this concept works was demonstrated impressively by the Steinbeis Transfer Day in Karlsruhe in June, an occasion on which the new Steinbeis House was opened on the campus of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. The building is considered a model project for the whole of the state, pooling the combined power of partners in knowledge and technology transfer under a single roof, and thus playing an essential role on the road from research to industrial application. The building has a floor area of roughly 5,500 sq m (59,000 sq ft) – plenty of room for university scientists, Steinbeis experts, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
To develop software and ensure it’s extremely user-friendly, it often makes sense to use prototypes early in the development process. Especially at the beginning, simple paper prototypes are excellent for demonstrating the underlying interaction concept and getting signoffs from others. This was also confirmed by a recent collaboration between the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Usability and Innovative Interactive Systems for Information Logistics and the Aachen-based company Utilitas GmbH.
As part of a startup voucher project sponsored by the State of Baden-Württemberg and the European Social Fund, an enterprise in the Steinbeis Network called bwcon is helping businesses develop and implement innovation concepts. When developing a new business, there is often a conceptual gap between two central management models: the business plan and business model. The venture development model used by bwcon provides a holistic template to pull the two concepts together.
Most companies train workers in the classroom or through e-learning. Classroom instruction is a good way to get close to participants but it’s relatively costly and time-consuming. Online training is less expensive and can be used with larger groups of people with less time investment. But it does not always go down well with staff as they are often expected to complete a large number of online modules. To add variety to staff training, Cora Schaal developed a sales quiz app for her company sponsor, Telekom Shop Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (Sales Company / Deutsche Telekom). The project was part of her master’s degree at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) at Steinbeis University Berlin.
Steinbeis goes deeper into China: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Eichinger and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Schmitt, experts at the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Mechatronics at Aalen University of Applied Sciences, have been providing support and transfer advice of an international nature to Normal University in Tianshui, in the Chinese province of Gansu. The two experts received an invitation from Chinese colleagues to draw on their expertise and practical experience for recently redesigned degree programs in automation technology, automotive engineering, and mechatronics.
Data simulation has an important role to play in many areas of science, in order to learn new things. But increasingly, sufficient supercomputer capacity is needed to lay the right foundations for scientific advancements. The next step up in computational power is exascale computing. It promises to enable simulations with incredible accuracy, providing detailed insights into many important processes. These supercomputers of the future will be able to carry out at least 10 trillion operations per second. But achieving such computational performance using conventional technology is only possible with extensive electricity consumption. As a result, not only is computer performance becoming a critical factor in supercomputers, so is energy efficiency. This is the starting point for an European project called Exa2Green, which is being implemented by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) in collaboration with other scientific partners.
The Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) has initiated a new project called Photonics4All to introduce more people – especially children, adolescents, startups, and SMEs – to the field of photonics. The project brings together ten partners from nine European countries, who will share 1 million of funding from the EU to help develop innovative communication instruments.
It is often difficult to strike the right balance between the need for fast-moving companies to innovate and the requirements laid down by local politicians, who – some managers may tell you – fail to look at the long-term perspective and are clearly inflexible, thwarting companies’ efforts to exploit their full potential to innovate. It doesn’t have to be that way, as demonstrated by a successful project at Infothek, the Steinbeis Transfer Center in Villingen-Schwenningen. Wolfgang Müller and his team have been working for several months with MCAT GmbH on a relocation from Constance to Donaueschingen.
The makeup of German business is unique. In no other country are there so many small and medium-sized enterprises that are also market leaders – so-called hidden champions. Essentially, these unseen winners are actually a shining example to others and they totally deserve to be given special attention in the media. It was this idea that inspired Claudia Koch, Director of the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Change Management in Freiburg and the photographer Miguel Babo. The duo embarked on a mission to turn the spotlight – in an unexpected way – on small and medium-sized technology enterprises in the Black Forest, and in the area of the Upper Rhine valley.