Two decades ago, Professor Jürgen van der List and Professor Heinz Osterwinter founded the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Microelectronics – now known for its successes as the TZM – on the Göppingen campus of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. When it was founded in 1991, the Steinbeis center primarily aimed to make good use of the new state-of-the-art laboratories, including the clean room, at the recently established Göppingen campus. The first transfer projects were set up in person by the two founders, but the duo soon had to take on engineers to manage the volume of projects. Today, the TZM is an engineering service provider with over 80 development engineers working for clients in the automotive, medical technology and automation industries.
The type of technology transfer practiced by the TZM has changed since it was founded, but the center’s work has always involved development, either in electronic hardware or software. TZM experts either work on location with clients’ development teams or on the premises at the TZM in Göppingen. In the early days, the rooms were leased by the university, but the TZM soon ran out of space. The new Steinbeis building was officially opened in 2002.
An important chapter in the history of the TZM was the launch of a product portfolio aimed at addressing a variety of aspects relating to the new automotive “timecontrolled bus system” called FlexRay. The TZM first became involved in the development of this system on client projects. It quickly became obvious that the bus system held tremendous potential, so TZM managers decided to develop their own hardware and software tools, even though there was no client mandate to do so. The tools to be developed should be used for running and testing the FlexRay bus system. Riding on the back of student diplomas, the development team quickly grew to 40 people. Most worked on behalf of leading automotive companies (and their suppliers) on the development of a variety of FlexRay bus tools. These tools were subsequently marketed through the TZM’s own sales channels. The shift to standalone product marketing led to a spin-off of the development services arm of the business in 2008, which is now a successful company called Eberspächer Electronics.
As well as its detailed know-how, one of the strengths of the TZM is its long-term relationships with clients and the good atmosphere among workers. This is reflected in excellent customer feedback and employer awards such as “Top Job,” which the TZM has won repeatedly since 2008. Thanks to its motivated young workforce, the TZM is ideally poised for future projects and will remain a significant player in the Steinbeis network.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Osterwinter
Steinbeis Transfer Center Microelectronics (Göppingen)