Robocop on the job

German Bionic Systems GmbH, Augsburg: nominated for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the StartUp category

Augsburg-based German Bionic’s exoskeleton supports the wearer’s lower back when lifting heavy loads, thereby reducing the risk of workplace injuries. The innovative high-tech product for industry 4.0 holds interesting prospects for the future and has earned the young company a nomination for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the StartUp category.

About the company

Year established 2017
Founders Dr.-Ing. Peter Heiligensetzer, Armin G. Schmidt
Seed Capital „not specified“
Turnover 2018 „Projection for 2019 ca. 5 Mio. Euro“
Employees 50

They look like a futuristic life jacket and are packed to the seams with electronics: exoskeletons. Sensors register when the wearer leans forward to lift something and automatically activate small motors. “Our exoskeletons can absorb loads of up to 25 kg. Pressure on the back when lifting and carrying is considerably reduced”, explains German Bionic founded Dr.-Ing. Peter Heiligensetzer. This is especially interesting in work environments that involve a lot of lifting and carrying: in warehouses and parcel centres or with maintenance work on industrial facilities. Such power suits can cost up to € 40,000 and not only take the daily physical strain but prevent back injuries and reduce the risk of workplace accidents. This also makes them an investment in occupational health care – which at a time of demographic change and shortages of skilled workers is a hot topic in almost every company.

“We were itching to help shape the future of work.”

Videovorschau

The idea came about at a family get-together. Robotics expert Dr.-Ing. Peter Heiligensetzer (42) and his cousin, telematics and networks specialist Armin G. Schmidt (42), were discussing current research on medical exoskeletons, or high-tech prosthetics for people with disabilities. “We wanted to harness these ideas from medical research and put them to use in industry 4.0”, declared Schmidt. The objective: a computer-controlled smart exoskeleton that makes the daily work of millions of people easier. “We were itching to help shape the future of work.” Companies and experts from the cousins’ professional networks signalled their interest. Therefore, the two experienced entrepreneurs promptly decided to put their ideas into practice. “If you want to stay ahead in this sector you’ve got to be quick.” With financial backing from European and Asian investors and in collaboration with a small interdisciplinary team, they developed a market-ready model within a year, which in this form is currently unique. The greatest challenge: the exoskeleton software had to be compatible with the company’s existing software to enable, for example, door opening and stock location display. Meanwhile, the power suits are already in use and have proved to be extremely useful. “Once you’ve tried one out, you won’t want to give it back.” No wonder, because thanks to the exoskeleton’s ergonomic design and the fact that it has almost no impact on manoeuvrability the wearers barely notice they’re on. The founders have now opened a 1000 m² production hall in Augsburg and have around 50 employees on their books. After the DACH region and Japan, they now want to tap into the European and Korean markets.

GBS German Bionic Systems GmbH

Eric Eitel
T 0175 167 08 91

ee@germanbionic.com
www.germanbionic.com

The high-tech power suit “Made in Germany” immediately impressed the German Entrepreneur Award’s stellar panel of judges. “A really interesting market-ready product with a high degree of innovation and a wide range of applications set to conquer the future market”, concluded the panel. For these reasons, the technology leaders were nominated for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the StartUp category. “We’re very proud of coming so far”, say Heiligensetzer and Schmidt. “The German Entrepreneur Award is an institution and the nomination is a real accolade for us. We hope the media attention will increase awareness of German Bionic, because a lot of companies don’t have much idea of the multiple positive uses for exoskeletons.”