Interview with Mrs. Andrea Reinhardt
CEO of MICROTEC and member of Hydromel Advisory Board
Hydromel project is composed by 24 partners, of which almost the 50% is constituted by SMEs active in the field of micro – nano manufacturing. For this reason, it appears strategic, for the whole consortium, to investigate what’s going on in the outside world in order to be informed about business opportunities for SMEs and market trends. This month we have the pleasure to interview Mrs. Andrea Reinhardt, CEO of MICROTEC (www.microtec-d.com), member of Hydromel Advisory Board and responsible for the public relation of the MINAM association (www.minamwebportal.eu). MINAM is an initiative specifically directed to promote communication and exploitation of new products and processes in the field of nano – technology and among its goals SMEs growth and development is a priority, as Mrs. Reinhardt will explain us.
Hydromel Dissemination team: You are part of MINAM Industry Board. Can you tell us which are the benefits for SMEs involved?
Mrs. Reinhardt: Networks like MINAM with today 620 members from 36 countries are very useful, if you are interested to find fastly the best possible project partners for cooperative international research projects. Also MINAM offers matchmaking online and at events and publish several tools, e.g. roadmaps, which can give a good basic indication were future new business fields can be developed.
2. Hydromel Dissemination team: As CEO of MICROTEC can you describe us which are the main threats that a company involved in nanotechnology has to face nowadays?
Mrs. Reinhardt: Bring products forward that are in production itself in every stage and also at the end of product life time not in any way risky is very important. So research and development is not driven by the wide fields of possibilities, its driven by what can be sold fast and produced in controlled way.
3. Hydromel Dissemination team: Your experience as entrepreneur: you are co-founder of NTC – Nano Tech Coatings dealing with surface engineering, a very competitive market. Can you describe which is the winning move to start a company in the nanotechnology field?
Mrs. Reinhardt: All is about answering customer needs, e.g. NTC was started around 9 years ago and based on international patented know-how with very focussed application fields (energy efficient heat exchanger, self cleaning surfaces a.s.o). So offer customers technical benefits in functionality and also take care of safe costs (because of the new coatings need less materials) is what customers are interested in. Today price is even more an issue, so I stay optimistic that multi functionality for same price then conventional coatings continue to develop their markets.
4. Hydromel Dissemination team: Due to the middle and long term duration of EC funded projects, marketing and exploitation of results on industrial scale is since many years a challenge to be faced for each consortium. In your experience, how could be modified the structure of a research project to solve this problem?
Mrs. Reinhardt: From our point it works fine, but its needed that every single partner really got the message, that its about use the results and they have to bring it actively to interested users. Also the understanding what is a product sometimes has to be developed in the partners, particular the academics (services, trainings can be products too)
5. Hydromel Dissemination team: at your knowledge which are the 2010 “hot events” in micro-nano technology that a company cannot miss?
Mrs. Reinhardt: There are so many events parallel in Europe, difficult to select. But the industry partners of your project maybe interested to represent the project by attending one event in such coming nano markets (e.g. Brasil) and also have an eye on events in Asia.
6. Hydromel Dissemination team: Hydromel had the pleasure to host you at the last meeting in Paris in April 2009 as member of the project Advisory Board. You declared that the demonstrator related to innovative production of nanowires for emerging nano – photonics and electronics (led by Tyndall, end user ST Microelectronics) is quite promising. In your opinion, is the European industry mature enough to receive these technologies? Which could be the most promising applications in nano – photonics?
Mrs. Reinhardt: First of all, its not about selling EC results to European companies only, its about getting from global players as much money as possible to build new jobs in Europe, but this does not mean sell only to European companies.
So project results contributing to a new generation of energy efficient and flexible light emitting devices are very welcome in different applications, even for construction and future large area displays. As soon as ST Microelectronics head user experiences can be published I expect from such industries great interest.
7. Hydromel Dissemination team: With regards to the demonstrator related to hybrid assembly of RFID tags (led by HUT, end user DATACON), in Paris you described it as very interesting, but you underlined the importance, for the successful application of this process, that it has to be much faster and shall be able to deal with real small parts. Can you tell us something more about it?
Mrs. Reinhardt: Speed and parallel processing are in mems areas, which can support cost reduction particular in assembling/3D-packaging, this is very relevant for self assembling processes followed in hydromel.
8. Hydromel Dissemination team: In Paris you indicated that a successful way to transfer results from RTD to industry is not only cooperative research alone, but also the exchange of people between companies and universities is very useful, because this can give a direct feedback about what’s going on. Can you tell us more about?
Mrs. Reinhardt: Beside the wide range of internal programs companies are running to integrate as early as possible the youngsters, also the by EC people program like Marie Curie actions co-funded projects can be used, offering excellent opportunities for young researcher to work in industry environment and learn how to answer technical and market needs.
9. Hydromel Dissemination team: your main hint to Hydromel consortium as representative of industry?
Mrs. Reinhardt: You have some great results (cell sorting) which can be sold directly to the market, so concentrate your forces that also all other demonstrators followed will be fast available to be used. The questions e.g. in phontonics you are following are very close to what will push Europe ahead.
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