The number of patents submitted by the Endress+Hauser Group continues to rise. As reported during the annual Innovators’ Meeting held this year in France, the Group submitted 287 initial patents in 2018, a new record. Endress+Hauser owns nearly 7,800 active intellectual property rights worldwide.
“This year we once again achieved a record number of innovations, both in the number of patent filings and the number of approved patents.”
Angelika Andres, Corporate Director, Intellectual Property Rights at Endress+Hauser
While the 309 invention disclosures are a sign of the company’s ongoing innovation capability, the 537 granted patent applications also represent an all-time high.
Roughly one-third of the patent filings are related to the Industrial Internet of Things, digital communications and instrument diagnostics. Under the motto #empowerthefield, in 2018 the measurement engineering specialist began to bundle its digital activities with a focus on Heartbeat Technology, as well as the recently introduced Netilion IIoT ecosystem.
Patent department in the US
Each invention undergoes a multistage internal evaluation process before submission to the patent office, usually within four months. To handle the stream of innovations, in 2016 an internal patent department was created in the US, one of the Group’s most important markets. Four specialists at the Greenwood, Indiana location are responsible for protecting the technical innovations. This team has full responsibility for handling all patent filings from the Group companies located in the US, plus up to 80 percent of the overseas filings.
Innovation spirit in the spotlight
Under the motto ‘Innovation – what makes us human’, Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group, as well as other members of the Executive Board, welcomed more than 300 guests to the annual Innovators’ Meeting, which was held in late March in Saint-Louis, France. Employees involved in patent filings presented their innovations during the company’s traditional get-together. Exceptional innovations were recognized with special awards.
AR solution in the App Store
Augmented reality app enables 3D interior view of pumps
After the augmented reality app (AR) from LEWA, the Leonberg, Germany-based pump manufacturer , attracted lots of attention at the Achema 2018 and Hannover Messe 2019 trade shows, the range of applications is now being expanded. The app was originally intended for use during trade shows only, but it is now being offered to all interested users as a free download from the Apple App Store as of July 2019. After the AR app was launched at the leading trade fairs mentioned above, Lewa received many inquiries from customers and interested parties concerning individualized options for use. “The level of interest in the app and the frequent inquiries surprised us, since the program was originally developed to improve the visualization of the mechanics of our pumps at trade fairs,” reported Thomas Bökenbrink, Lead Product Manager Pumps at Lewa. The AR solution was further developed for Hannover Messe 2019 to display the model of an Ecoflow process diaphragm pump in the new LDZ drive size with three different pump heads on a tablet, and show how the pump can be freely positioned within virtual space. Using ground plane detection, the tablet’s camera detects the floor of the relevant room and positions the model inside the room on the screen. The pump can be viewed from all directions and viewing angles, and clearly shown thanks to the 3D depiction of the complex inner structure of the pump. The model is also freely scalable, enabling the size of the pump to be adapted to the available space. In addition, the app can animate pump operation and its behavior in exceptional situations.
“With pump visualization, we have the ideal virtual training and trade show exhibit. We can also imagine using in the service and maintenance segment to better explain the functions of the pump based on the virtual model,” said Bökenbrink as he explained the versatile app’s options. In the first version, available in the Apple App Store as a free download under the name “orange showroom,” the model of the Ecoflow process diaphragm pump in the new LDZ drive size is initially available for virtual viewing. The app runs on all Apple iPads with iOS 12.0 or later, the app is not available on the iPhone. Lewa is planning to successively add other pump types in the application. “To us, our AR app represents a big step forward with regard to the simple, clear visualization of our products. It enables us to always have our pumps on hand and produce them as a digitally savvy way to explain our pumps based on their virtual representation,” Bökenbrink summarized.
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Speed controllers with push-lock system
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Expansion of the Lyon location
Expertise for advanced analysis
Endress + Hauser has expanded its center of competence for advanced analysis in Lyon, France. The Group invested 2 million euros in a new production facility and office space to meet the growing demand in the area of advanced process analyses.
From Lyon, around 20 employees support Endress + Hauser sales centers across Europe in the application and sales of advanced analysis technology, with a focus on the project business and after-sales services. Ten sales centers across Europe already have specialists on board to handle this complex field of activity.
The new 630-square-meter production facility will be used for customer-specific manufacturing and the assembly of complete analysis systems. Rounding out the facility are offices, rooms for factory acceptance tests and space reserved for future use. The adjacent 1,500-square-meter office building, which opened in 2017, is also home to the Endress + Hauser France regional sales office. With a total of 7,000 square meters, the property offers sufficient space to grow the location even further.
“The expansion of the Lyon location allows us to do an even better job of bringing our expertise in the field of process analysis to our customers,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress + Hauser Group, during the dedication ceremony on 17 July 2019. “This is an important strategic goal for us and helps our customers acquire more information from their processes.”
Analysis portfolio expands
Advanced analysis provides immediate information related to material properties and product quality. The company continuously develops its analysis portfolio to provide online monitoring of quality parameters, for example through spectroscopic techniques. This allows customers to reduce time to market and optimize their processes. Customers in industries such as life sciences, chemical, food & beverage and oil & gas can benefit the most from Endress + Hauser’s advanced analysis portfolio.
The Lyon location combines the expertise of the firm and its subsidiaries Kaiser Optical Systems and SpectraSensors under one roof. The Raman analyzers from Kaiser Optical Systems are used to examine the composition and material properties of liquids, gases and solids and enable the real-time measurement of product characteristics. SpectraSensors is a leader in the field of TDLAS technology, which can be used to reliably measure trace-level concentrations of gases.