Exploring alternative application fields for heat treatment furnaces
|Wintersemester 2013 / 2014|
The Aichelin Ges.m.b.H. Mödling, leading producer of industrial furnace systems for heat treatment of metal components, operates in a market characterized by growing saturation and tight margins. This and a significant dependency on the automobile industry led to the decision to search for new fields of application in order to diversify the portfolio.
The target of the project was finding alternative and previously unexplored application fields for Aichelin’s furnaces, know-how and heat-treatment processes. Furthermore, the project team was to look for new materials to which those processes could be applied and to subsequently determine in which industries those materials are used. Out of these areas, possible new and promising markets had to be selected.
In order to achieve the desired results, the approach “Technological Competence Leveraging” was applied. This method allows generating completely new ideas and discovering innovative application fields. The approach can be divided into four steps:
The four steps were characterized by intensive research. The results of the conducted processes can be summarized as follows:
Interviews conducted: 128 in steps 1/2 and 50+ in steps 3/4
Communities contacted: 17 user communities
Industries covered: over 40
Application fields found: 82
10 top application fields
After consulting with the project partner, the following three application fields were analyzed in further detail:
Pyrolysis for CFRP recycling: Aichelin’s heat treatment technology can be applied to the recycling of the ever-increasing amount of CFRP (Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer).
Hardening of titanium aluminide for turbine blades: Turbine blades made out of titanium aluminide are predicted to become standard in medium-haul commercial jet production. Aichelin could provide apt furnace systems for these high-quality components.
Production of tempered safety glass: The demand for tempered safety glass is increasing in various industries, particularly the construction sector. Glass finishing requires a heat-treatment process that could be provided by Aichelin.
Subsequently, a market analysis (including an environment analysis, a competitor analysis as well as a SWOT analysis) was conducted for all three selected application fields in order to recognize the potential of the ideas.
Based on these analyses, the team created respective business models and market entry strategies to illustrate the realizability of the new application fields for the project partner.
Bereuter Theophilo Antonio
Handler Florian Christian