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Laying future foundations: Gründler medical

Steinbeis shareholdings set to grow

Gründler GmbH, the Freudenstadt-based producer of medical breathing gas humidifiers, embarked on a major undertaking at the end of March, turning the sod on its new administrative building and with it another page in its history of growth. Steinbeis has been a stakeholder in the company since its inception. 

The site measures around 7,100 square meters, of which approximately 3,500 sq m is dedicated to business operations in stateof- the-art, energy-efficient buildings. Emphasis was placed on allowing for further expansion – in any direction. The old building proved to be unsuitable for a business enjoying such strong growth. Gründler plans to move into its new premises in the Sulzhau grounds in October. This hitherto biggest investment in the history of the company was made possible thanks to cooperation between company shareholders, the Freudenstadt local savings bank (Kreissparkasse) and additional grants from the rural funding program ELR (Entwicklungsprogramm Ländlicher Raum).

Gründler was founded as a classic start-up in 2001. After an intensive period of development, in 2005 the company launched HumiCare, its ground-breaking range of gas humidification products. After some turbulent times before its first sales, it finally achieved a breakthrough in 2007 and has enjoyed promising growth ever since with stable revenues. The latest generation of Gründler’s flagship product, HumiCare, is just about to receive approvals. The company is anticipating another sharp rise in sales, underscoring the need to almost quadruple its business premises with the new construction project. 

Ten years of keeping an eye on risk

Reasons to celebrate, Part II

The Steinbeis Advanced Risk Technologies Group (R-Tech Group) has two good reasons to celebrate. The enterprise dates back to 2001 and the founding of the Steinbeis Transfer Center Advanced Risk Technologies (R-Tech). In the years that followed, a further German limited company was set up (GmbH) plus a Transfer Institute at Steinbeis University Berlin. The most recent member is a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) focusing on research, the European Virtual Institute for Integrated Risk Management, or EU-VRi. Now five years old, it also has reason to celebrate.

The founding members of EU-VRi that joined forces with Steinbeis were the University of Stuttgart, INERIS, the Technological Group and the Bay Zoltán Foundation. The institute harmonizes and integrates (domestic) approaches toward emerging risks. It does this on a European level and is currently overseeing projects worth around 50 million euros for around 40 European members, made up of research organizations and companies.

In 2011, the R-Tech Group and EU-VRi are celebrating ten and five successful years respectively. With annual sales of around 1.5 million euros and over 120 live and completed projects, they are optimistic about the future. The current customer base ranges from SMEs to some of the world’s biggest companies, representing as many industries as the portfolio of projects. Apart from projects as part of European and domestically backed research and development, which currently make up around two thirds of EU-VRi turnover, they are also involved in industrial services, which amount to around two thirds of R-Tech Group turnover. Future work in the R-Tech Group is expected to center on emerging societal trends and the significant rise in interest in risk, especially with regard to emerging technology (e.g. nanotechnology, CCS) and innovations in general.

From pioneer to market leader in ten years

Reasons to celebrate, Part III

If a survey had been carried out in 2001 to gauge the awareness of the term “digital signage”, the results would have been somewhat sobering. Modern life is inconceivable without digital media as a means of communication, in advertising or in guidance systems. The Stuttgart-based company netvico has witnessed many developments since it was founded. It has also played a major role in fostering these developments. In 2011, the company, which Steinbeis has a shareholding in, marks its 10th anniversary.

When Christopher Colshorn founded netvico ten years ago, he needed plenty of pioneering spirit – and even more personal conviction – to steer the start-up company on the path to success. The netvico workforce has now grown to 30. The entrepreneurial vision of the company is underscored not only by its commercial success but also by a string of design and technology awards, including the red dot award, the design prize of the Federal Republic of Germany and the if communication design award. Long-term collaboration agreements with leading customers are a reflection of the sustainable policies of the company.

The company’s unquenchable thirst for innovation is reflected in the new technologies netvico has prepared for market, almost like clockwork every two years. From illuminated stelae to light screens and LED flooring – the company’s portfolio spans a variety of digital audio-visual technologies, all of which can be controlled using in-house Play-Everywhere software. Without question, one milestone was the first digital guidance system which netvico developed in 2005 and was first used by Peek & Cloppenburg. Netvico’s most recent development confirms the company is armed for future challenges: Only Glass Media Facade is the first digital media facade to seamlessly combine the full functionality of an LED display with insulated glazing.

Despite the international, visionary outlook of the company, central to netvico’s business philosophy is also an emphasis on sourcing hardware and parts from local suppliers. The company’s affinity with its local heritage is also reflected in the ongoing support it has lent to artists from the Stuttgart region. 

Making technology transfer tangible

Documentary film produced by the SEZ and the Enterprise Europe Network

Under the remit of the State of Baden-Württemberg and the EU, the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum has now been advising companies and research bodies on cross-border technology transfer and EU research for 20 years. So it’s time to capture this on film!

Six animated shorts and four documentaries have now been produced to show how Baden-Württemberg’s companies and research institutes carry out successful EU projects, move into international markets and strengthen their ability to innovate. The profiles include the company Anoxymer from Esslingen, the Institute of Plasma Technology at the University of Stuttgart, the Hamburg/ Karlsruhe-based company Harms & Wende, organ maker Mühleisen from Leonberg and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Building Physics (IBP) in Stuttgart. All German clips are on the Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum website.

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