Leading technology group GEA’s own culture of innovation serves as the key to securing future commercial success and fostering further growth. To this end, GEA invited customers, research partners and select start-ups to its third “GEA Innovation Forum.” Under the banner “Open Innovation,” this year’s event – which took place on June 26, 2019, in Frankfurt am Main – encouraged attendees to share their experiences with other companies on topics such as agile product development and the role of external networks and partnerships.

GEA also presented its own ongoing activities in the field of “Open Innovation“, including its cooperation with ”garage33” and ”it’s OWL” – both accelerator programs which promote and accelerate new developments and entrepreneurship. “garage33” brings established companies together with young lateral thinkers to develop disruptive business models. “it's OWL” is a technology network dedicated to digital transformation in the SME sector. Itself an opportunity for agile product development, GEA and the more than 50 event participants identified interdisciplinary development teams, for example, which work side-by-side with GEA’s internal innovation team. This enables ideas to move more quickly from conception to the market.

“With the GEA Innovation Forum, we are bringing together well-established companies and start-ups to consider market demands from various perspectives and, to ultimately develop new technologies and areas of application,” says Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft. “For years, GEA has been networking not only with customers and suppliers, but also maintaining close relationships with numerous scientific institutions, public authorities and start-ups for the purpose of promoting our own research and development activities. Looking beyond our own walls is critical to GEA’s culture of innovation and ensures that we are keeping up with the rapid changes occurring in industry and society as a whole. This approach is how GEA sustainably strengthens its technological edge.”

GEA has already introduced numerous innovative technologies to the market by cooperating with start-ups. For example, GEA is actively involved in the MassChallenge Switzerland program and is one of its founding sponsors, engaging primarily on topics related to nutrition, health and energy. A collaboration with start-up MachIQ, a participant of the MassChallenge, has resulted in the creation of an open and independent maintenance management tool for digital services. The cloud-based platform GEA Advance encompasses remote maintenance, online spare-parts purchasing as well as data analytics for technologies serviced by GEA. Another success story is the collaboration with start-up Aquantis on CALLIFREEZE®. Its touchless sensor continually measures a product’s level of frozenness, therefore achieving an exact freezing quality with minimal energy consumption.

As a result of this year’s “GEA Innovation Forum”, GEA hopes once again to obtain valuable insights for new technologies as well as identify potential synergies – hand-in-hand with participating customers, research partners and start-ups.

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