Peter Huber Kältemaschinenbau has been announced as a member of the elite Top 100 group for the fifth time.
The Offenburg-based company took part in a rigorous scientific selection process, which analysed innovation management and successful innovation. Competition mentor Ranga Yogeshwar presented the awards at the German SME Summit in Essen on 24th June.
Although it is based in Offenburg, Peter Huber Kältemaschinenbau’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.
However, 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, such as 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.
Huber’s managing director Daniel Huber comments: "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."
Peter Huber’s senior management devotes 60% of its working time to innovation. One of the company’s most recent innovations is plug-and-play technology, which will make series products easier to service.
Technical director Joachim Huber said: "Our series devices have an exchangeable electronics. Our worldwide customers can quickly and easily replace the electronics module by themselves with requirement for a service technician to visit. It is thus possible to update older devices quickly and easily to the cutting edge of technology. Should a service case occur, then the problem can be quickly and effectively resolved."
Daniel Huber added: "We’ve been working along the principles of Industry 4.0 for several years already, for example at the level of automatic documentation."
This year, more than 4,000 companies registered an interest in taking part in the Top 100 competition, with 366 applying for the first qualification round and 284 getting through to the finals. Ultimately, 238 made it into the Top 100 (maximum of 100 in each of the three size categories).
Once more, the companies were evaluated by professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration Nikolaus Franke 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% of their recent revenue from innovations and product improvements, which they brought to the market before their competitors. Their revenue growth rate was 28% 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 3 years.
The Top 100’s mentor, science journalist, and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar is impressed by the quality of the companies and hopes they will become role models. She says: ‘The way in which the Top 100 companies generate new ideas and develop groundbreaking products and services based on them is remarkable in the truest sense of the word. I am delighted that the award highlights these qualities. I hope their success will encourage others to follow in their footsteps, because this culture of innovation is going to become increasingly important for all companies."