Gilching/Munich – November 30, 2018 – Some 300 technology enthusiasts from German industrial companies, the international start-up scene and universities met on November 29 at the Webasto site in Gilching to learn and exchange information on product and process innovations for the automotive industry. The initiator was the innovation platform Startup Autobahn, the German branch of the US Plug and Play Tech Center, of which Webasto is one of the anchor partners. The meeting focused on developments in the areas of mechatronics and electromobility.
Both of these issues play a key role in the strategic development of Webasto. Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board Webasto SE, emphasized: "We are strengthening our core fields of business for roof and heating systems and expanding our electromobility product range. One of the key capabilities here is mechatronics, because the vehicles of the future will not only be electrically-powered and feature autonomous driving – they will also be fully networked. We are already developing and producing many electronic components ourselves and are investing further in the expansion of our mechatronics expertise." Matthias Arleth, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board with responsibility for technological issues at Webasto, added: "In order to further expand our position as technology leader in our dynamic industry we need exchanges with others. As we cooperate with strategic partners, suppliers and start-ups, among others via the Startup Autobahn platform, we gain fresh impetus for new products, process optimizations and even new services."
Several pilot projects with start-ups at Webasto
At the event, start-ups – among others from the USA, Canada and Great Britain – introduced their innovative technologies. Furthermore, company founders who already collaborate with Webasto presented the joint pilot projects:
- Webasto project with Arkite: Using the process tool made by start-up firm Arkite, from the Belgian city of Genk, employees working in production are provided with real-time support in the form of manufacturing notes. This reduces defects, minimizes material wastage and shortens induction periods for workers.
- Webasto project with Codepan: Start-up firm Codepan from Berlin offers a method for identifying irregularities during long-term testing and in the manufacturing process with its "Anomaly Detection Platform". The self-learning diagnostic software works on the basis of artificial intelligence.
- Webasto project with Franka Emika/ Voith Robotics: Together with Munich-based robot manufacturer Franka Emika, Webasto is undertaking trials to establish the phases of product development and convertible roof manufacture in which the use of a lightweight robot that collaborates directly with people is worthwhile.
- Webasto project with ProcessGold: IT start-up ProcessGold, from Eindhoven/Netherland and Frankfurt/Germany, has developed a Process Mining software with which all kind of processes can be visualized and optimized. A program that has been adapted to the procedures and requirements of Webasto highlights potential for optimization in purchasing.
- Webasto project with Woodoo: An innovative, hybrid wood is the material made by start-up Woodoo from Paris. The project with Webasto is investigating how this recyclable raw material can be integrated into roof systems in order to give the passenger compartment a more individual design.