Huber Kältemaschinenbau is one of the TOP 100
The 23rd Top 100 awards for Germany's most innovative SMEs are about to be presented, and this year, Peter Huber Kältemaschinenbau GmbH is a member of this elite group for the fifth time. The Offenburg-based firm took part in a rigorous, scientific selection process that analysed innovation management and successful innovation. Ranga Yogeshwar, the competition mentor, will present the top innovators with their awards at the German SME Summit in Essen on 24 June.
Although it is based in Offenburg, Peter Huber Kältemaschinenbau GmbH's technology can be found all over the world – even at 5,000 metres above sea level in the Himalayas, after the Top 100 award winner fitted out an Indian space observatory with a Huber chiller. The chiller provides constant operating temperatures for the telescope's measuring instruments. Typical applications for the heating and cooling systems manufactured by this family-owned business founded in 1968 and its 239 employees tend to be less glamorous however – for example: thermoregulation processes within the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, material and stress tests in the automotive industry, and the testing of food, building materials and cosmetic products. "There are applications for our systems in all industrial sectors. As a result, we naturally deal with the issue of innovation on a daily basis," commented commercial director Daniel Huber. Peter Huber's senior management devotes 60 per cent of its working time to innovations.
One of this Top 100 five-time award winner's most recent innovations is an innovative plug-and-play technology, which will make series products easier to service. "We have established that most problems with devices are down to the electronics. Our series devices are therefore fitted with replaceable electronic elements that enable our customers around the world to quickly and easily change the electronic component themselves. As a result, 80 to 90 per cent of all service cases can be taken care of in no time at all," explained technical director Joachim Huber. Companies that need Industry 4.0-compliant devices are more than catered for at Peter Huber: "We've been working along the principles of Industry 4.0 for several years already, for example at the level of automatic documentation," stated Daniel Huber.
This year, more than 4,000 companies registered an interest in taking part in the Top 100 competition, with 366 of them applying for the qualification round and 284 getting through to the finals. Ultimately, 238 made it into the Top 100 (maximum of one hundred in each of the three size categories). Once more, the companies were evaluated by Nikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and his team. They examined more than 100 parameters in the following five assessment categories: 'Innovation-friendly Senior Management', 'Climate of Innovation', 'Innovative Processes and Organisation', 'Innovations Marketing' and 'Successful Innovations'.
The Top 100 are among the pacesetters in their sectors. Statistics reveal that the evaluation process included 97 German market leaders and 32 global market leaders. On average, they generated 40 per cent of their recent revenue from innovations and product improvements, which they brought to the market before their competitors. Their revenue growth rate was 28 percentage points higher than the average for their industries. In the last three years, these SMEs have together applied for a total of 2,292 German and international patents. This ability to innovate also pays dividends in terms of jobs, with the Top 100 planning to take on around 9,500 new employees in the next three years.