Altendorf wins OWL Innovation Award MARKTVISIONEN 2019/20

Article in German (PDF)
Altendorf GmbH from Minden is the winner of the OWL Innovation Award MARKTVISIONEN 2019/20 from OstWestfalenLippe GmbH in the category “Industry and Crafts” with the Hand Guard, an unique 3-stage safety system for circular saws based on a novel optical detection technology. The OWL Innovation Award is an prestigious business prize awarding outstanding products and services which offer the potential for sustained economic success. The prize is awarded in three categories: “Industry and craft”, “shaping the future” and “start-up”. The evaluation criteria include, among others, the degree of innovation, customer benefit and added value, market potential, successful cooperation and meaningful contribution to society, as well as the importance for sustained economic viability of the company.

A total of 86 companies applied with 92 innovative products and services for the renowned business award. Thomas Niehoff, general manager of the IHK Ostwestfalen and spokesman for the jury explains: “The quality of the products and services put forth by applicants was excellent and greatly increased the difficulty of making a decision. However, it shows how well all participating companies are positioned. ”

Altendorf was able to demonstrate how expertise and innovative strength can be used to develop a unique selling proposition. Karl-Friedrich Schröder, Head of Development at the Altendorf Group, explains: “Our primary goal was to avoid accidents and life-threatening injuries. In order to do this, we needed to identify the hazard early on. That is why we developed a three-stage system: If the system detects a hazard situation, it responds by warning the user in two stages and then, in the third stage, removing the hazard altogether: the main saw blade stops very quickly and the whole saw unit rapidly drops away. Moreover, the saw can resume work immediately after the incident because the whole process –in marked contrast to conventional solutions – involves no damage to either machine or saw blade: the prompt detection of potentially hazardous situations enables the saw blade to be stopped and dropped in a controlled manner so that no additional stress is placed on the precision bearings of the saw unit.”

At the core of the Hand Guard is a highly sensitive mini camera system and an innovative optical recognition software which identify safety hazards even when the user is wearing gloves. Their innovation, which is now considered a benchmark for industry-wide safety standards, was presented at the Ligna trade fair in 2019 and has already received an excellent response from industry professionals who are looking to purchase the new equipment. How soon the system will be ready to go into full production depends on the many extensive national and international certification processes mandated by governmental authorities. Nevertheless, the patent applications have been already filed and the process is under way, which means that realistically the system will be available to buy in 2020.