The German business model is based, among other things, on a training system which is sure to be unique throughout the world. Ensuring people receive thorough training is achieved through a dual education system underpinned by academic education.
Generating power from renewable energy sources is a key focal point of the energy transition. It presents energy suppliers, grid operators, and turbine manufacturers with major challenges. The growing portion of wind energy flowing into the electricity supply is particularly demanding in terms of engineering, especially if the energy supply has to remain reliable. The Steinbeis Transfer Center called Energy-efficient power electronics for electrical drives and power storage systems, which is based at Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences, partnered up with Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik GmbH to develop a mathematical process that can be used to certify wind turbines.
Professor Dr. Nils Högsdal talked to TRANSFER magazine about his affinity for the “Jugend gründet” contest for young business founders, also explaining how young people deal with the opportunities offered by entrepreneurship and the support universities can give them.
For about ten years, Friedrich Wöhler High School in Singen has been home to the student engineers academy (Schüler-Ingenieur-Akademie– SIA). Working with local businesses and universities, 10th graders have the chance to get a feel for engineering through various projects. This year’s team took a closer look at various paints and finishes and their wear resistance.
Professor Dr. Heinz Trasch talked to TRANSFER magazine about curiosity in children and how adults can support them. He also told us more about his experiences with the young founders contest “Jugend gründet” and how important such competitions are for the future work of young adults.
Progress and change are important waypoints when it comes to the future of shipping services and logistics services. To remain competitive in a market suffering from increasingly tight margins, a key prerequisite for the companies in this industry, and those in the loading segment, is that they have good solutions – ones that are holistic, sustainable, and pave the way for the future. But it is not enough to just think about these solutions, as the Steinbeis Innovation Center for Logistics and Sustainability (SLN) knows all too well. SLN has focused its sights clearly on training for up-and-coming specialists.
Professor Dr. Carsten H. Hahn talks about the tasks that should be fulfilled by the older generation in order to help young people implement their ideas. He also discusses a method used in teaching called ‘action learning’ and asks what universities should be doing to prepare students for their future careers.
Why is the sky blue? Why do people have shadows? Children and young adults are being given a chance to explore the answers to these and many other questions as part of an EU Outreach project called Photonics4All. The idea is to get to know the fascinating world of light. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) and project partners from nine countries have been organizing children’s universities in Baden-Württemberg, Austria, Sweden, and the UK.
Testbeds are the industry term for experimental platforms where companies from different sectors can work together to add value and network in a way that has never been seen before. Based on this concept, Steinbeis has developed a format for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those involved in retail, the manual trades, and manufacturing business: Micro Testbeds. The 4th Steinbeis Engineering Day will ask how they can be successfully introduced in practice. The event is scheduled for April 5, 2017 and will be held at the Haus der Wirtschaft (house of commerce) in Stuttgart.
Intense discussions about founding a business and the risks and opportunities startups face were a big part of the latest Steinbeis-sponsored trip to Silicon Valley. The winning team of the “Jugend gründet” competition traveled to the US at the end of October. Caroline Vandersee, Simon Baro, Adrian Feisst, Leonard Jöst, Jonas Madlinger, and Jeremia Schmitt from Achern High School won the trip as the grand prize of the national “Jugend gründet” 2015/16 contest – a competition organized by the Steinbeis Innovation Center for Business Development at Pforzheim University. The group developed a tent called IndepenTent for their fictitious company Colorgy. The tent is equipped with embedded dyed cells, which generate power, making it an independent energy supplier.
“Without Alexander Graham Bell there’d be no microphones. Without Paul Gottlieb Nipkow there’d be no TV. Without Ferdinand von Steinbeis...” Moderator Marcel Wagner painted a memorable picture of the central topic at this year’s Steinbeis Day: Take people with ideas or people who make ideas happen and bring them together as early as possible. A number of student teams joined in the action at the Steinbeis House for Management and Technology (in the Stuttgart district of Plieningen). Their goal: to present their inventive ideas, concepts that had already attracted attention in youth startup contests like “Jugend gründet” or the Artur Fischer Inventor Award. Around 500 visitors joined them to listen and talk to the young entrepreneurs and inventors.
Whereas this year’s Steinbeis Day revolved around the early bird ideas of the young generation at the Steinbeis House for Management and Technology, as is the tradition, the evening in Stuttgart’s Liederhalle convention center formed the closing ceremony for the day, the highlight of which was the bestowal of the Löhn Award (the Steinbeis Foundation Transfer Award). The Steinbeis Foundation invited more than 500 guests to Stuttgart for the event.
Michael Köhnlein and Peter Wittmann from the Steinbeis Digital Business Consortium explain how important digital solutions and networks are for companies, and how Steinbeis can help with the planning of change processes.
It’s not just demographic or societal changes that are forcing German companies to rethink things, many companies are also actively involved in integrating jobseekers from around Europe or refugees from non-European countries. Diversity management is becoming increasingly important as a tool for specifically dealing with diversity within companies in a way that makes sense in commercial terms. It can no longer be reduced to buzzwords like equal opportunity and political correctness. As part of a project funded by the Federal Ministry for Research, the Steinbeis Transfer Institute zeb/business.school (based at Steinbeis University Berlin) partnered up with teams from the University of Oldenburg and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management to investigate how companies are dealing with diversity – and which kinds of diversity management promote business success.
Graf-Syteco GmbH & Co. KG, a traditional company from the Baden-Württemberg city of Tuningen, has been an expert in operation and control technology for more than 30 years. It places particular focus on automation, a company philosophy that has been successful in fuelling growth and innovation. To lay the right foundations for further expansion and keep up the momentum, the company methodically implemented new structures and systems during the last year with the aim of focusing more strictly on process optimization. The underlying idea was to gain certification under DIN standard ISO 9001:2015. The medium-sized enterprise was helped to prepare for certification by the experts at the Gosheim based Steinbeis Transfer Center TQI Innovation Center.
When biomass ferments, it produces biogas. Until now, determining biogas yields resulting from fermentation has involved a great deal of manual effort and time. Biogas yields were ascertained by hand using batch tests under VDI 4630 guidelines and DIN standard 38414-8. The Steinbeis Innovation Center for System Solutions in Measuring and Automation Technology has been working with the ATRES Group from the Bavarian city of Freising as part of a ZIM project to co-develop a biomass carousel for automatically measuring biogas yields.
There has been very slow progress in integrating refugees into the employment market, even for those who come to Germany with a university degree. Refugee jobseekers face a number of difficulties, including gaining recognition for their studies, red tape, and a lack of language skills. But at the same time, there is strong demand in the economy for qualified workers, especially in the field of IT and the supply markets. To make it easy for both stakeholders – refugees and companies – to reach out to one another, two initiatives have been launched through the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE), which is part of Steinbeis University Berlin. SIBE itself has introduced a program targeted at refugees sponsored by companies, while one of its alumni, Oliver Queck, has founded a company that will also help refugees by lining up contacts with business.
If you want to set up a business, you need to make changes. But at some point the company is set up and things settle down at home, too. Then for many, at some point the change processes grind to a halt. People start to settle in and get comfortable and more often than not, they only make new changes if something starts to feel wrong. A new instrument is now available that helps firms introduce continual development processes that are quick and easy to use: the Transformation Map. Dr. Lars Öhler, director of the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Entrepreneur Excellence, frequently uses it for his projects.
The experts at Know-How + Transfer, a Steinbeis Innovation Center in Villingen-Schwenningen, have set up an international website to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with practical support with managing intellectual property (IP), especially with respect to small businesses. The platform gives users access to all key information relating to commercial property rights, not just in Germany but throughout the world.
Developing production processes for modern composite components that work well with lightweight materials is becoming more and more important in business – not just for environmental reasons, but also because of political factors. To do this, new kinds of production technology have to be tested and then continuously developed not only so they are ready for serial production, but also so that modern lightweight materials can be used economically in high volume manufacturing. One particularly promising method is to use thermoplastic- based fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs). Compared to thermoset materials, these can be processed much more quickly and they make it is less of an effort working with finished materials and semi-finished parts. To accelerate processing times, the mechanical engineering specialist S&F has been working with the Steinbeis Innovation Center for Automation in Lightweight Construction Processes (ALP) and the professorial chair for structural lightweight design and polymer processes at Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz) on the development of a new kind of handling system. Their aim: to develop a system that makes up individual, semi-finished, thermoplastic cuts into a layered structure. This should take place directly with a mechanical gripper and the resulting laminate should be capable to bearing large loads and should be fixed.
Extruders are devices used to pass solid, viscous, and liquid materials through tubes based on a coil principle. The materials are pushed through different temperature zones under high pressure, causing them to change from a solid state to a viscoelastic or thermoplastic state. The device used to convey the material is like a coil running down the inside of a cylinder. Depending on the material properties and the processing parameters, the feed section comes in different forms, with the main types being a smooth-bore extruder and a grooved feed extruder. As part of a research project, the Steinbeis Innovation Center for Intelligent Functional Materials, Welding and Joining Techniques, and Implementation decided it was time to optimize the technically more simple and less expensive smooth-bore extruder option to deliver more pressure.
Since January 2014, the machine tool producer and laser specialist Trumpf has been working on a concept to promote career planning based on life phases. The idea is to promote the health and performance of its service technicians over the long term, thus ensuring the employability of its older, more experienced employees. The human resources department plans to go about this by developing a life phase-oriented concept for planning career paths. The Steinbeis Transfer Institute competence institute unisono (kiu), which is based at Steinbeis University Berlin, is supporting Trumpf with its concept by providing continuing professional development (CPD) to service technicians as an alternative to manual experience in the field.