Pitch Perfect – These are the winners of Körber’s first start-up challenge 

Time to let their tech shine! 

16 start-ups took part in Körber Digital's first hackathon where they solved our industry partners’ challenges that had its finale on July 22nd, 2020. They started as competitors and finished as a developing community of manufacturing innovators. 

Manufacturing Efficiency Challenge – Start-up tech versus shop floor data 

Validating and developing proof of concepts and solutions for concrete challenges in mechanical engineering companies was the goal of this hackathon. 

72 hours to glory 

Even though the three-day-long event was fully remote, teams, experts, mentors, and challenge-partners came together, which translated to a great atmosphere during the pitch session. The enthusiasm and drive of all participating teams were astonishing, and they developed impressive solutions – showcasing the opportunities Europe has for becoming a strong player in the field of IIoT (industrial internet of things), particularly with a focus on AI in manufacturing. 

8 challenges 

The great variety of challenges included efficient workflow management, line monitoring for batch changes, and tracking of energy consumption. Additional tasks consisted in monitoring equipment conditions, which helps predict maintenance needs in real-time, as well as data management. 

16 pitches 

Over 100 participants attended the final of the start-up challenge during the pitch session. Every start-up had three minutes for a presentation and three minutes to answer questions. 

Christian Schlögel, Chief Digital Officer (CDO), closed the hackathon giving us some inspiring words: 

"Seeing such dedication and creativity to solve real industry challenges within 72 hours has been a great experience for everybody. All participants were winners in this competition. We enabled many new connections between start-ups and established companies. This has been a true ecosystem-building event." 

3 winners 

After an exciting pitch session, the jury, composed of external and internal industry experts, nominated three winners. All three have presented a robust technological solution and exceeded the jury's expectations. The jury praised the seamless application of AI and stated that the hackathon results are very promising for Europe. 

1. Oculavis presented a solution for Schenck RoTec's challenge: Remote machine acceptance test and commissioning    


2. Dagopt developed a solution for Freudenberg's Challenge: Real-time line equipment analytics 

Dagopt's solution monitors production in real-time. This results in a decrease in maintenance-related downtimes and improved processes related to sustainability. 

3. Gestalt Robotics came up with a solution for Dividella's (Körber BA Pharma) challenge: Hardware-enabled line monitoring for batch changes 

Gestalt Robotics presented a solution that reliably detects anomalies on conveyor belts, which could prevent the start of the next batch. The sensors would be in the machine, as well as in a mobile robot on the floor. AI would be capable of identifying objects, but also know what 'clear' looks like. 

A starting point for a community of manufacturing tech innovators 

Daniel Szabo, CEO of Körber Digital, was happy about the successful outcome of the first hackathon: "I sincerely hope that this is the start of something bigger and greater. Our doors are always open. We are looking forward to building this community of innovators and a rich ecosystem for the manufacturing industry. We are delighted to have hosted such a special event where entrepreneurial spirit and thinking were all over the place. It was a joy to watch innovative power come alive in solutions for real-life manufacturing challenges." 

In short, the hackathon was a great illustration of what Körber, in general, aims to be as a brand: We are the home for entrepreneurs. We turn entrepreneurial thinking into customer success. 

lA very special thank you goes to Laura Weil, Digital Strategy & External Innovation Manager at our BA, as our event organizer and host! Laura did a brilliant job of bringing everybody together.r

-Daniel Szabo, CEO Körber Digital

lIn retrospect, the three-day hackathon was more than I expected. I initiated this event intending to connect good technology solutions from start-ups with industry partners to jumpstart projects together. After three days, I realize that it was even more than that. The focus of the hackathon on manufacturing efficiency enabled us to create a productive group of experts. The event opened new networking and learning opportunities not just for the start-ups, but also for us. I am more than happy that we did not only connect solution providers with industry partners but also found inspiration for ourselves to think about new ideas for Körber-invented solutions and additional challenges we can tackle. Thus, I think this format is beneficial for creating an ecosystem that connects new insights, learnings, ideas, and partnership opportunities to drive the digital transformation of the industry.r

-Laura Lilli Weil, Digital Strategy & External Innovation Manager

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